2024-2025 Series 1 - Education in our Rapidly Changing World

Sept 12 to Oct 17, 2024

In this exciting series, we will look at how public schools should and could change. Another lecture will explore how schools can prepare our children today for tomorrow’s challenges. There will be insights into the “fun of mathematics” and a celebration of outdoor learning. We will also welcome back Brian Carwana to explore the history of education and its links to religion. So much to learn!

Series Coordinators:
Joan Irvine, Leslie Garnett, Diane Palm


6 lectures, live at the Bayshore Centre and Online on Vimeo
Replays until November 24 on Vimeo

Is Public Education the hidden solution to social, economic, and environmental ills?

  • Date: Thursday Sept. 12, 2024, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Canada is at an inflection point and our economic, social, and environmental futures depend on the next steps we take. But, instead of looking to the long game and designing integrated strategies that might provide real and lasting hope for the future, we remain stuck in short-term, compartmentalized, and one-off responses to the headline crises.

    Long-term, sustainable solutions require upstream actions. It may sound too simple to believe, but there are potential solutions to our social, economic, and sustainability issues in our boring old public education system.  In this interactive lecture, Annie Kidder will describe how public education could and should change to meet the challenges of the 21st century and ensure a better future for our next generations.

    Lecturer - Annie Kidder 

    Annie Kidder is the Executive Director and a founder of People for Education. She regularly provides advice to policy-makers and government, and her writing on education has been published in a range of media. In 2018, she received an honorary doctorate from York University. She has spoken at conferences in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa and South America.  She is regularly quoted in the media as an expert on education issues. She lives in Toronto.





    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Education

    • Date: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2024  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Education, specifically public schools, is a crucial but flawed force for a more inclusive and less unequal future.  There is important system-level work to be done to improve opportunities and outcomes for different marginalized groups.  In particular, the talk will highlight recent Ontario research on equity issues facing Indigenous students, students with disabilities and students from some racial groups.


    Lecturer - Kelly Gallagher-Mackay 

     Kelly Gallagher-Mackay is an Associate Professor in the Law and Society Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.  The main focus of her research is educational inequality.  Since 2020, she has had a major focus on the impact of COVID-19 on schooling, in addition to a continuing focus on systemic discrimination.  Previous roles include Director of Research and Evaluation for the Future Skills Centre, Director of Research for People for Education

    Bio at Wilfred Laurier



    Knowledge is Divine

    • Date: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2024  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    We will explore how the history of education has been related to piety and to religious concerns. While many of us today insist that the education system must be free of all religion, this is a relatively new idea. We will look at how the search for truth, which is common to religion and to education more broadly, has brought religion and education into close cooperation and, sometimes, conflict.

    Lecturer - Brian Carwana 

    Brian is the executive director of Encounter World Religions. He speaks on religious inclusion in the work place and runs a Discovery Week every July exploring 11 religions in one week of classes and over 20 site visits. He has a PhD from the University of Toronto and blogs at ReligionsGeek.com

    In the Fall of 2023 Brian delivered one of our most popular lecture series ever, "Religion: The Big Questions". 


    Deep Roots: Outdoor Education in Grey-Bruce

    • Date: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2024  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    The Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre has been the provider of outdoor education in Bruce-Grey for over 50 years. Deep roots and ever evolving programming keep the experience fresh for students who have this common thread tying them together, wherever their education takes them! -Curious. Confident. Competent. Connected.-

    Lecturer -  Deborah Diebel

    Deborah Diebel is the Site Manager of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre where she has had the pleasure of working in various roles for the past 23 years. An avid canoeist, hiker, and environmental steward, Deborah lives with her dog, Izzy, on the Bruce Peninsula and enjoys having her extended family close-by.



    Forest Schools are on the rise in North America. However this type of learning is not a "new concept". This lecture will cover the history and philosophy of Forest Schools and why so many Canadian parents are choosing to enroll their child(ren) in this type of education.

    Lecturer -   Deb Val

    Deb Val is the owner of At Last Forest Schools. She has studied education, specifically outdoor education for over 20 years.
    Deb started her career in the public school system as an elementary and high school teacher and then branched off to create At Last Forest Schools in 2016.

    The Magic of Mathematics

    • Date: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2024  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    For mathematicians, mathematics is a joyful creative subject, but many people are turned away from it when exposed to arithmetic in elementary school. In this talk, mathematical sculptor George Hart will demonstrate how if you simply bypass arithmetic and go directly to the fun parts of mathematics you can encounter connections to art, music, magic, juggling, and more. A rich set of fun mathematical activities can inspire new approaches to education.

     Lecturer - George Hart 

    George Hart is a sculptor who uses mathematical ideas and computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork. He holds a PhD from MIT and is retired from positions on the faculty at Columbia University and Stony Brook University. He co-founded the Museum of Mathematics in NY City. His work can be seen at georgehart.com



    Fostering International-Mindedness and Global Competencies 

    • Date: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2024  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Location: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound

    Our world seems to have become increasingly more connected while people become increasingly lonely and isolated. Within this tension, International-mindedness and global competencies can help students address some of the world’s – and our community’s – most pressing problems. Schools can activate what it means to be a citizen of the world by nurturing a re-orientation of who we are in relationship with others and the environment.

    Lecturer - Steve Sider 


    Dr. Steve Sider (@drstevesider) is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo where he teaches courses in international education, school leadership, and special education. He is the past-president of the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada.