IQed (Inquiries/Questions in education) utilizes cutting-edge Democratic Technology in classrooms for the purpose of empowering students and educators in Digital Literacy, Civic Literacy, Dynamic Engagement, Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving Skills and Global Competency Education. IQed enables every student to use their personal devices to explore, investigate and become informed on issues of governance and global matters, so that their voice can positively impact local and global communities.
The dawn of a new era of education is now upon us, and the global need is evident to adequately prepare all students for the emergence of a fundamentally different world. Major stakeholders in education such as the CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada), the UN General Assembly, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), UNESCO IBE (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – International Bureau of Education), among others, all clearly identify a need in the education field for a robust level of student empowerment, as it relates to five diverse but key mandates: Digital Literacy, Democratic/Civic Literacy, Dynamic Engagement, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills and Global Citizenship Education.
As educators prepare students for deeper learning in a post-pandemic world, they will need to embrace a paradigm shift in learning and in the curriculum that requires them to leverage the demands of today’s changing world, with those of the needs of every student in their classroom.
One of the fundamental challenges confronting educators today, however, is how do they endeavor to deliver a brand of curriculum that not only empowers students but, also has a transformative impact on the learner. Additionally, how does this approach to education ultimately allow for substantive application of the aforementioned mandates. iMatr Canada Inc., through its educational initiative entitled IQed (Inquiries/Questions in education) directly and comprehensively addresses all five of the aforementioned educational Mandates, in a manner that today’s young minds prefer to learn - using their tech devices. With the innovation and development of its Democratic Technology, students using IQed, can conveniently utilize their devices for democratic engagement.
iMatr is Democracy for the Digital Age: convenient, relevant, and immediate. The platform not only unifies civility and politics, but it also additionally engages real world issues in real time. When the world engages in habits of “destructive social media'', iMatr counters, and introduces “constructive social media and technology” for the purposes of advancing humanity.
With IQed’s "Let’s Discover" icon, students are first able to acquire the fundamentals of politics, prior to delving into more comprehensive issues and concepts of government. Once more, by accessing the "Let’s Discover" icon, students are quickly and conveniently informed on the essentials of governance, types of governments, governmental structures, democracy fundamentals, the power of “the vote”, civic duties, how laws are created and implemented, as well as the definitions of a multitude of political terms available to them at the touch of a button.
Via the utilization of cutting-edge Democratic Technology, educators can now encourage students to embrace technology within the classroom for the purpose of dynamic engagement and meaningful learning. This innovation additionally promotes a greater degree of flexibility by allowing students to supplement submissions of written work with personal video testimonials as they relate to curriculum objectives. Educators are also elated when they become aware of how they too can benefit from this innovative technology. Elementary classroom teachers right up to Professors are all able to conveniently access a variety of rubrics for assessment and evaluation purposes. These rubrics can also be customized according to the specifications of the instructor.
Students from the elementary level to the post-secondary levels can now incorporate their smartphones and personal devices to explore relevant issues in the world, in real time. Materials currently provided in textbooks can now be supplemented by up-to-date data. iMatr and IQed maintain student interest by providing the opportunity to engage with current events as they occur.
In providing the opportunity for limitless networking for the purposes of deeper learning, IQed now brings global issues into the learning structure of every global classroom from the perspective of relevancy and dynamic engagement. This ground-breaking technology now provides stakeholders with a networking potential unlike anything ever experienced before in the field of education.
When accessing IQed, students as well as educators, will utilize interactive pedagogies that facilitate several desired outcomes: collaboration with other students, other schools, community leaders, and politicians in their own or global communities as well. IQed facilitates global networking as it relates to educational practices embracing Global Citizenship Education.
IQed empowers students and educators to value creativity, encourages risk-taking, nurtures social change through active engagement, fosters networking and collaborative opportunities, develops media/literacy skills, amplifies the voice of the informed learner, and provides the fundamentals for civic engagement.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Over the last 30 years, my experience as an educator can provide testament to a pervasive void that exists in education. A disconnect between students and the issues and elements of the real world. For the very first time in history, a robust, cutting-edge educational technology now brings the issues of the world into the realm of the classroom, in real time, in a practical manner. Students at every level can actively connect and collaborate with other students, community leaders and politicians on issues that matter to them. Utilizing Geolocation in its approach to Democratic Technology, students can now also conveniently discover who their governing officials are in their respective communities. IQed is Education for the future, with authentic, relevant application that facilitates student engagement and empowerment. IQed is a timely and transformative educational conduit that develops critical thinking skills, which in-turn, facilitate bona fide and impactful learning.
What is the current status of your innovation?
IQed has been piloted and tested in schools over the last 12-18 months. It is currently being utilized and implemented in classrooms at the Elementary level, the Secondary level, and the Post-Secondary level (College level). As the innovation gains progressive traction, the platform would be an extremely powerful teaching tool, not only in the province of Ontario, but would also have potential significant uptake nationally and internationally as well.
We have recently incorporated a number of additional options that provide a greater degree of inclusivity for students. For example, being mindful of current and popular social media trends, students can create a short video on a topic relating to the objectives of the class lesson and then submit it on their devices for assessment.
How many other potential Greta Thunberg's and Malala Yousafzai's are sitting in classes around the world, just waiting for an opportunity like IQed to allow their voices to be heard?
Collaborations & Partnerships
IQed created, developed and continues to collaborate with multiple partners including: Elementary school Educators/Administrators, Secondary School Educators/Administrators, Post-Secondary Institutions - Colleges, the Provincial Minister of Colleges and Universities, Politicians, Elections Canada, Government Officials, other Governmental Organizations like ECampus, business leaders, technology experts, and advisors in order to collectively address the growing concern for student disengagement.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
IQed benefits a multitude of Stakeholders including:
- Students and Youth utilizing the platform
- Educators now enabled to deliver quality material that has practical applications
- School Administration fulfilling their objectives
- A Democracy that enables youth participation and engagement
- Parents of students also have an opportunity to collaborate with their children on issues
- Elected Officials now have a better understanding of what the needs of their constituents are.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
IQed is Education for the Digital Age: convenient, relevant, and immediate. The platform not only unifies civility and politics, but it also additionally engages real world issues in real time. When the world engages in habits of “destructive social media'', IQed counters, and introduces “constructive social media and technology” for the purposes of advancing humanity. With a familiar and preferred mechanism of interaction, students are more willing to independently investigate and problem-solve. Gr. 12 student Francis B. (C.H.S.) was asked to investigate 2-5 issues on IQed. When he was asked why he investigated 64 issues on the platform, he said "It was fun and I was able to consider all sides of an issue." Teachers like Senior Civics Educator Tony T. (C.H.S.) are "pleased with the capability of what IQed offers". With a greater level of understanding, trust and acceptance, and by embracing technology we can build a better Canada and a better world, one voice at a time.
Challenges and Failures
As with any innovation, we have experienced setbacks both of a minor and significant nature. Some of the significant setbacks that we have experienced have been of the technical application variety. Due to the fact that this technology is the first of its kind, advanced and innovative; troubleshooting is a difficult task when there is no reference point to draw from. With that being said however, our technicians are continually anticipating potential hitches and are proactively preparing for them accordingly. The mindset of our team is "Together, we can overcome any manner of adversity". Along with a unified team bond, the binding emulsifier to trouble-shooting issues, comes down to one essential element, which is, each team member believes in what they are doing - IQed and iMatr will enable a global shift of governance that will encourage and nurture a greater sense of compassion and humanity in our sometimes chaotic and misdirected world.
Conditions for Success
Success of IQed is contingent on one critical factor. How motivated are people to have their say with the day-to-day operations of existence? How do students/educators distance themselves from elements of entitlement and leverage fundamental needs of the world against what society often demands? With the alliance of technology, awareness, connectivity, convenience, all in real time, IQed will be a "bottom-up", driving force that enables every member of society to become empowered and able to adequately affect positive change. The financial and political infrastructures of our platform are elements that will eventually see their way to fruition. Changing the way people think, however, is a more daunting task. The world calls out for a tech-platform where students, educators, politicians, and citizens can all easily pivot and affectively address policy changes, while developing their interpersonal skills and embracing Global Citizenship. IQed, educates and empowers humanity.
The ability to inherently replicate the concept of IQed and iMatr are "built-in" features of the platform. Intentionally conceptualized, by design, IQed and iMatr can be replicated and modified to meet the needs of: student learners at all levels, educators at all levels, different schools, various school boards, various educational denominations, various regions, provinces and territories. This unique capability for flexibility provides opportunities for the platform to be transposed into other languages, in other countries as well. The platform is "universal" in its design and conception, as well as in its application properties. With its capacity for international traction, the platform may additionally be modified to suit the needs and prescriptive elements of any variety of governmental styles. Significant Canadian Agencies (Elections Canada, E-Campus, Ministry of Colleges/Universities among others) have already connected with us to further discuss IQed capabilities.
For our team, and its founder, Mr. Joe Kutlesa, the overwhelming feedback that we have received from students, parents, educators, administrators, politicians, community leaders and clergy members, has been extremely positive and encouraging. The responses have been a tangible affirmation of the primary purpose of our platform, that of, enabling "Empowerment". People have said to us, "Wow, this is an amazing concept, I can't believe that nobody had ever thought about it before, it changes the way I look at politics." Our goal to develop a mechanism for all people to improve society is now becoming a reality. Our team's vision of "a better world, one voice at a time," is becoming the mantra of many students and educators. The realization of the reachable goal to create a better system and a better world, is now possible through smartphones and personal devices. With additional supports and resources, our goal of global application can be attained and verified by our data.
With over 30 years of experience in education, I've witnessed a number of curricular developments, implementation strategies, professional development strategies, implemented protocols and procedures for the purposes of advancing a more productive educational environment that is conducive to meaningful learning. However, the single most devastating and yet, the most beneficial element introduced into the realm of education in the last twenty years, without a doubt, has been the introduction of technology and social media. Educators are often left in the wake of technological advancements, while students embrace and quickly absorb new trends in technology. They are often the ones in-servicing staff on navigating the technology. Rather than focusing on the destructive elements of technology and youth, the time has now come for a paradigm shift in political engagement and the utilization of IQed and Democratic Technology in educational settings in order to promote Global Citizenship.