Chances are that if you have school age children in British Columbia you are likely familiar with the WITS anti-bullying program. The Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, Seek help program started out in the early 1990s at Lampson Elementary School in Esquimalt BC.
Today, the evidence-based WITS program can now be found in over 500 schools and communities across Canada. And, the program is making inroads across the globe with community practitioners in New York, South Africa, Thailand and Egypt.
Through its Collaborative Services approach, BCcampus provides the in-kind technical expertise, set-up and support for the WITS programs that runs on Moodle. Using this open source and customized learning platform ensures that WITS programs remain free, and easily accessible for community groups, leaders, students and parents.
In December 2013, the Governor General of Canada, on behalf of the WITS program, presented Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater the CIHR Partnership Award. This award acknowledged the collaboration among teachers, students, parents, law enforcement, and other strategic partners to make a difference in school cultures and communities across Canada.
This collaborative model is why BCcampus remains committed and involved with the WITS programs. BCcampus provides a worry-free, open source technology platform that allows for universal access – anyone can sign-in and receive training materials, data and information – so that the non-profit can continue to put its community partnerships first, using its limited budget and resources where it can have the most impact.
Most recently, Dr. Leadbeater received the 2014 BC Community Achievement Award for WITS, which acknowledged her long-standing and ongoing community contritbution.
What I’ve learned through this experience is that open education is more than just free distribution and universal access. – Kathreen Riel, Curriculum Specialist WITS Program
It’s about exploring and cultivating collaborative ways to bring educators, community leaders, programmers, project managers, and researchers together to exchange expertise, develop trust, and take risks in the development process so that the experience benefits a greater range and population of people than was ever intended. – Kathreen Riel, Curriculum Specialist WITS Program
The WITS program is a prime example of the perfect blend of technology, education and community activism at work. – Frank Fucile, Manager, Collaborative Services, BCcampus