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Skills and technology

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Traditional education systems relied heavily on textbooks, but the youth of today rely more on text messaging. Libraries were the home of countless obscure facts, now it takes seconds to Google any piece of trivia. And a voice can have as much power in a chat room than it ever did at a podium.

The world is changing, and the way kids learn and access information is changing with it. In the past, a school was a place to accumulate knowledge. Today, in a society where the world's information is at students' fingertips, they need to understand how to navigate a technology-based society, how to access quality sources and how to determine what all this information means in the big picture.

Only seven years old, Aspengrove School in Nanaimo, British Columbia, has been able to adapt to this new philosophy from the start. Their curriculum includes classes on digital citizenship, online diaries to reflect on the day's class and blog forums for international discussion about social issues. Elisabeth Reay, the admissions and marketing director at Aspengrove, says it all works together to encourage students to think about subjects from a global perspective, reflect on what they're learning, and foster their natural sense of inquiry. As their mission statement announced, it's Aspengrove's goal to inspire lifelong learning that goes deeper than the textbook and past school hours.

"The world is a new place, and people need to be creative to solve some of the very complex problems we have now. We need to have children who aren't afraid to ask the questions about what it all means, and who are confident enough to take action," she says.

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