Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

August 25, 2014 10:09 ET

Mean Girls. DIstracted Boys: Canadian Researchers Explain the Challenge of Teaching Gen Z

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 25, 2014) - The young people heading back to school next week - from kindergartners to university frosh - represent a new generation that will be more educated, connected and sophisticated than any that has come before. Here is a brief list of CFI-funded researchers across Canada who are developing the curricula and classrooms to prepare students for the world they will inherit.

- Marnina Gonick, Canada Research Chair in Gender at Mount Saint Vincent University is interested in the "mean girls" phenomenon. This less physical kind of aggression includes backstabbing and social exclusion and is commonly thought of as something only girls do. Gonick can explain how education systems tend to erroneously - and harmfully - perpetuate the idea that "mean" is a girl thing, and what her research aims to do about it.

- Many students are bringing electronic devices like tablets and smartphones into the classroom, but there's a fine balance between using them to enhance learning and just getting distracted. Thierry Karsenti, Canada Research Chair in Technologies in Education at Université de Montréal, says it boils down to three things: how classrooms are managed, how the teachers are using the technology and how they are getting their students to use the technology. Karsenti offers tips on what teachers can do to capture and hold the attention of plugged-in students.

- Like many students, Kieran Egan was bored throughout much of his schooling. As a university professor, he turned his research attention to developing new models of education that capture the imagination of students. In 2001, he established the Centre for Imaginative Education at Simon Fraser University. Egan can explain several inventive approaches developed at the centre including his "Learning in Depth" model which has students study a single topic for 12 years, making them experts by the time they graduate high school.

These are just a few stories the CFI-funded researchers listed above are prepared to discuss. For additional education research stories please contact our media relations specialists listed below.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada's universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world's top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit

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