North Island Distance Education School


Navigate Wins Global Award

November 17, 2014


Navigate (Powered by NIDES),  has been recognized as a global leader for its blended learning programs. The school’s innovative practices were recently awarded at the 2014 International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) Symposium held at Palm Springs, CA.

The Vancouver Island school takes a unique approach to blended learning, with programs that integrate provincial curriculum with student-centered interests. These programs include the Fine Arts eCademy (FAE), the eCademy of Robotics, Engineering and Technology (ENTER), and the iClass program, which provides group learning experiences to distributed learning students in their own communities. The school has also implemented Independent Learning Centres (ILCs) to give distributed learning students a classroom setting in local high schools where they can work independently and have access to qualified instructors. This broad approach to blended learning at Navigate (NIDES) was found to be exemplary among the many nominations submitted by educators around the world, and they were awarded the iNACOL “Innovative Blended and Online Learning Practice Award”.

iNACOL is a non-profit organization specializing in global research and education reforms that mobilize learning and empower students to achieve their goals through online and blended learning. Navigate (NIDES) has been recognized through this award as an international leader in the shift towards blended learning in education globally.

“This is a very significant success,” states Navigate Principal Jeff Stewart,” that recognizes the educational expertise provided by the Ministry of Education through the BC Education Plan, as well as the valuable support and encouragement of innovation shown by trustees and senior administration in School District 71. I couldn't be prouder of the Navigate learning community and SD71 for allowing ENTER and all our blended learning programs to start, grow, and thrive.
We're working together to provide the leadership and implementation that will transform learning in this province.”

In determining the award recipient, merit was given to programs that broke the mold of conventional teaching methods. A program or practice was required to show that it had improved the effectiveness and success of online learning, provided a model that could be replicated by other educators, and led to new learning opportunities and achievements for
students. “That Navigate robotic students finished 23rd at the World VEX Robotics Championships this year, and set a world record for the most LEGO Robot guitars simultaneously playing “Smoke on the Water”, speaks to both the success and enthusiasm of the students,” says ENTER instructor Roger Vernon, who played a key role in the development
of the school’s robotics program.

“It’s clear that we’re doing world class work at Navigate (NIDES). Fostering an environment of innovation takes a special commitment,” says Navigate Vice Principal Marieke Holtkamp. “All of the staff, students, parents, and the school district deserve recognition with us as they are an important part of our success.”

Since Navigate (previously named North Island Distance Education School or NIDES) opened its doors in 1989, it has continuously evolved, exploring new ways to integrate provincial curriculum with changing technologies and providing students with a supportive learning community. Today Navigate (NIDES) provides distributed learning to over 1500 students throughout the province and is the largest international language school in BC. The experience gained through this process and the desire to improve and find new ways to engage students is the motivation behind this significant achievement.

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