Project DistARCTIC held workshop in Leeds to advance rural education practices


Project Distance Teaching and Learning in the Arctic Communities (DistARCTIC), an initiative focused on opening new horizons on rural education, held a productive workshop on 19-23 June 2023 in Leeds. The project aims to explore innovative pedagogical practices for online and distance teaching, with the goal of ensuring equal educational opportunities and high-quality instruction for individuals residing in remote areas. The primary objective of Project DistARCTIC is to equip educators in schools and teacher education programs with the necessary means to provide enhanced educational experiences for students, irrespective of their geographical location. By embracing digital tools and leveraging the advantages of online and distance teaching, the project seeks to bridge the educational divide that often plagues rural areas.

Throughout the workshop, the project team engaged in a series of activities geared towards achieving their overarching objectives. These included funding planning to continue the work started in the project, as well as working with the research articles and drafting a comprehensive book proposal that would serve as a valuable resource on pedagogical practices in online and distance teaching and learning.

On Monday, the team convened at the hotel conferencing suite to strategize funding planning. Later in the day, they explored Leeds City Centre, immersing themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the city and taking advantage of its cultural offerings such as museums, shops, and sights. An evening meal at the renowned Banyan restaurant further facilitated productive discussions in a relaxed setting. Tuesday was dedicated to planning a meeting with potential publisher of the book.

On Wednesday morning, the team embarked on a school visit to Carr Manor Community School, located in Leeds, West Yorkshire. The visit included tour of the school, introduction to the school values and inspiring conservations with the leaders of the school. The project group also had a chance to talk with the pupils of the school, who shared their experiences and thoughts of the school. In the afternoon, the team visited the spectacular Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which served as a source of inspiration and reflection.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Thursday's agenda commenced with further funding planning at the hotel, ensuring the project's sustainability and long-term success. In the afternoon, the team visited the esteemed Brontë Parsonage Museum, drawing inspiration from the literary legacy of the Brontë sisters.

As the workshop drew to a close on Friday, participants bid farewell to Leeds and embarked on their respective journeys back home, carrying with them a wealth of knowledge and experiences gained during their time together.

Project DistARCTIC's workshop in Leeds served as a pivotal moment in advancing rural education practices. By bringing together a diverse group of experts and educators, the project is spearheading a transformation in how online and distance teaching can provide inclusive and high-quality education for all, regardless of their geographic location. The forthcoming book proposal will undoubtedly serve as a valuable resource.

The project team
The project team

The project is funded by UArctic project funding for Network Activities on Arctic Research and Education, allocated by Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education (DAFSHE) and administrated by UArctic International Secretariat. The project period is 9/2020-12/2023. The project is part of the UArctic Thematic Network Teacher Education for Social Justice and Diversity activities.