What is the Nova Scotia Learning Interchange?

As part of their response to the Information Economy Initiative tendering process, corporations were asked to provide, not just the tendered equipment, software and services, but "Value Added Products". Apple Computer Inc. offered Nova Scotia an internet-based resource for teachers that would provide a collection of educational resources, lessons, timely information and a collaborative space. The Nova Scotia Learning Interchange, a clone of the successful Apple Learning Interchange (NSLI), was donated to Mount Saint Vincent Universityís Department of Education in January 2001 with the mandate to get the service "up and running" to support educators across Nova Scotia. Although no longer an affiliate of the ALI, the work Nova Scotia teachers created continues to be available for ongoing use through the NSLI.

Early in the process of establishing the Nova Scotia Learning Interchange, the Mount invited the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the Learning Resources and Technology division of the NS Department of Education to collaborate on the design, management, resource development and usage of the site. This collaboration has resulted in the "birth of the NSLI" on January 8, 2001. An NSLI Design Studio was developed and hosted in three areas of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia teachers designed and developed curriculum units or extended learning opportunities for their students which integrate information and communications technology for learning.  The challenge for NSLI is to provide materials which reflect our communities, our history and geography, our philosophies and culture. Completed units reflect a Nova Scotian or Canadian perspective and are now available for your use.

It has become very obvious through the IEI project that Nova Scotia educators have talents and perspectives on the use of information technology that they can and should share with each other. The Departmentís "Illustrative Examples" provide a good example of "nuggets of classroom practices" that will inform other educators. The NSLI is a well designed structure to allow teachers from across Nova Scotia to share internet-based resources with each other. The NSLI is completely under the control, direction and ownership of Nova Scotia. We look forward for additional opportunities to work with teachers, schools and boards to support teachers as they continue the work of developing instruction and learning opportunities to meet the learning needs of our students.

We now have technology infrastructure in the junior and senior high schools of Nova Scotia. All schools, including elementary schools, have access to the internet for student and teacher use. Quality software has been placed in the hands of teachers and students. Professional development support has been provided to support teachers as they implement the learning opportunities which collaboration, interaction, problem solving, research and data gathering, writing and communication provide. The Learning Interchange is a next step in the development of infrastructure for curriculum implementation, professional collaboration and problem solving required at the school and classroom level to implement the Public School Program of Nova Scotia and to meet the diverse instructional needs of Nova Scotia students.