Last week, MFNERC wrapped up the Virtual Clinical Services Regional. The leadership, participants, and organizers celebrated it as a monumental success for the organization’s newest department: Digital Learning Environment.
The Digital Learning Environment department has been a long time in the making, as MFNERC leadership has prioritized access to professional development due to First Nations’ feedback. First Nations schools requested accessible professional development when lacking the travel budgets to send staff in person or when unable to release staff for PD due to staffing constraints.
MFNERC infrastructure for delivering virtual events was already being developed, planned, and tested. Due to the ongoing travel restrictions of COVID-19, MFNERC moved quickly to offer this ground-breaking virtual event space for the benefit of First Nations school staff and students.
The virtual event space allowed participants to attend the regional from the comfort of their office or home without the need to travel. Those attending could participate and ask questions anonymously. For the first time, participants accessed recordings of all available sessions, even ones conflicting timewise with the live sessions they attended. The sessions were specifically developed to accommodate First Nations by using bandwidth-friendly techniques. Presentations ran smoothly and included meaningful dialogue and downloadable resources and links as take-aways.
The Virtual Regional even continued the beloved Elder lunch hour tradition, where Elders spend time visiting and sharing with participants during lunch breaks. Together, the Digital Learning Environment and Clinical Services delivered everything that participants loved about attending conferences in person, while making it safe and more accessible.
Congratulations to the newest department, along with the Clinical Services staff, for an exceptional event. Miigwech to all who planned, implemented, and attended the Virtual Regional; the first of many! Keep an eye out for future online PD at MFNERC!