Student Agency, Autonomy, and Leadership

Join a group of educators who seek to promote and inspire innovation.

Do you wonder how to foster student agency in distanced, remote, alternating, and hybrid settings? What are the best ways to empower students in the new reality of schooling, with fewer opportunities to meet with peers, to organize or work in teams? What are the students’ new roles in school and society? How can students help their societies to face the pressing issues the pandemic has brought?

Inspired by experts, we will address the key challenges this new reality has brought, using a design thinking methodology that will help us create strategies for lasting change.

New Realities, New Schooling is a free event; we want it to be as open and inclusive as possible, allowing the participation of anyone in the world who is interested in education and innovation. No matter what our role is in education, we can all contribute to this issue.

What should you expect from your participation in this cycle?

For detailed information on the structure of each week, go to our Methodolody page.

Meet the experts who will inspire our thinking this cycle.

Keynote Speaker
Knowledge Building: Saving Our Planet Saving Lives

Date: Thursday, March 9
Time: 4:30 pm ET (GMT-5)

Marlene Scardamalia

Inaugural Presidents’ Chair and University Distinguished Professor of Knowledge Innovation & Technology at the University of Toronto’s OISE and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Canada.

Marlene Scardamalia directs the Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and she is President of Knowledge Building International. She leads a worldwide innovation network transforming schools for education for knowledge creation.

Her research is providing evidence that children from diverse backgrounds can actually be knowledge creators, advancing the state of knowledge in their community—whether that community is an urban class studying mathematics, a school in the far north documenting oral history from elders, or schools widely separated geographically and culturally working together to understand Newtonian physics. Her research has uncovered capabilities well in advance of what previous research in developmental psychology indicated possible, in diverse areas such as children’s logical capabilities, written composition, intentional learning, and knowledge creation.

Among other projects, she is currently leading “Saving the Planet, Saving Lives”, a design experiment where knowledge builders across the globe are addressing the many and significant problems of our modern world using advanced collaboration and learning analytic technologies to support and advance their work.

Expert Panel

Date: Thursday, March 11
Time: To be announced

Pieter Toth

Pieter Toth

Teacher, Dundas Valley Secondary School, Canada. 2018 Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence

Beloved by his students, Mr. Toth always saw himself as the unconventional educator, always on the lookout for new tools to engage his students. As a Business teacher he has unpacked the toolbox and incorporated the tools into the daily ongoings of his classroom. As a mentor, he has inspired his students and empowered them with the belief that they can change the world. (From The Learning Exchange)

Pieter connects student thinking to curriculum expectations. He also finds ways to link what happens in the classroom to the school’s vision of building an empathetic culture of respect and learning through the lens of human rights and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Pieter is a natural at building strong, authentic relationships based on trust and honesty. He takes the time to connect with his students every day, to make them feel valued, encourage them to take risks and go deeper with their thinking and learning in order to make the world a better place for everyone. (From

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