Media Release | Oct. 26, 2009

UBC worldwide contest challenges classrooms to engage with 2010 Olympic Games

The University of British Columbia is challenging teachers and students around the world to demonstrate how they use learning technologies to promote a broader understanding of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in their classrooms.

The Global Minds challenge, which begins Oct. 26, asks K-12 classrooms to show how they are using Twitter, mobile phones and other digital technology to help promote student engagement with the Games – with prizes of $2,010 for the five best submissions.

“As a host venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, UBC is committed to promoting broad participation in the Olympics and igniting the potential in global youth,” says David Vogt, director of Digital Learning Projects in the UBC Faculty of Education. “The youth of today are ‘digital natives,’ and the 2010 Winter Games will simultaneously be the world’s greatest digital media event as well as its most inspiring teaching moment.

“The UBC Global Minds challenge was conceived to capture that moment in the form of an ongoing investment in the youth of tomorrow.”

The UBC Thunderbird Arena will host men’s and women’s hockey during the Olympic Games, and the sledge hockey tournament for the Paralympic Winter Games.

Examples of projects for the Global Minds challenge:

  • A classroom uses Twitter to discuss the experiences of Paralympic athletes;
  • Aboriginal students produce a YouTube video about Olympic Truce;
  • A classroom creates an online scavenger hunt as a way to help students study performance-enhancing drugs;
  • A group of special needs students create a virtual meeting place in Second Life to discuss issues related to the Olympics.

“New media technologies are wonderful tools that are only valuable if driven by the creative energies of the minds and hearts of students,” says Murray Bulger, a UBC Faculty of Education alumnus and teacher at Argyle Secondary School in Vancouver.

“UBC’s Global Minds challenge is a great way to tap in to the creative ideas and passions of teachers and students around the world in sharing how we use technology in a meaningful way to learn and communicate.”

The Global Minds challenge is open to public and independent K-12 schools worldwide. An international panel of judges, experts in the field of digital learning, will consider a set of education-based criteria that considers creativity, an ability to inspire and promote meaningful learning, and the project’s effectiveness at allowing remote participation in the 2010 Winter Games.

Judges will award up to five prizes of $2,010 each to the best submissions. The competition closes on Dec. 18, 2009, and awards will be announced in February 2010.

For more information, visit:

The Global Minds challenge is one of many UBC 2010 learning opportunities, including public speaker series, conferences, ongoing course curricula and cultural events. UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre is a 2010 Winter Games competition venue and its downtown campus UBC Robson Square will house unaccredited international media. UBC researchers are conducting a number of independent Games-related research projects, including the world’s first Olympic Games Impact research project.

For more information on UBC and the 2010 Games, visit:

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David Vogt
UBC Faculty of Education
Tel: 604-230-4154

Sean Sullivan
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.3213

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