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Ingrid Dabringer

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Digital learning experience designer, founder of AdaptED, and former arts educator, Ingrid’s latest learning tools focus on building climate awareness, knowledge, and skills for students in high school.

Ingrid’s work as an educator has taken her to many educational spaces from arts and media education to tech and learning design. Based in Ottawa, ON, her personal experience of the May 2022 Derecho - a significant wind and thunderstorm that swept through Ontario and Quebec - led to a process of personal reflection about her work and her role as an educator. This led to her returning to the field of youth education to focus on developing teaching and learning tools and curriculum design for climate education. Ingrid brings her previous experience from higher education, technology, and policy fields to translating climate education in ways that are accessible, relevant, and aim to foster student engagement and wellbeing. She is now working to develop workshops and curriculum focused on major climate events including atmospheric rivers, droughts, wildfires, and heat domes.

Ingrid believes that “climate awareness is going to grow through [climate] events and climate hazards” and that teaching students through what is happening around them – from climate to social justice movements – can help them build skills, knowledge, and relationships and help support them in a rapidly changing, and potentially anxiety-provoking, environment. Ingrid believes that eco-anxiety can be addressed through education and awareness-building. Her teaching and learning tool – Climate Adaptation Journey: What’s a Derecho – is in development and aims to offer teachers and students opportunities for interdisciplinary learning through a series of activities that range from building background knowledge on climate events to community-building and advocacy strategies to support resiliency and relationship-building. The structure of this climate adaptation journey offers educators flexibility and the ability to focus on different topics and lengths. Her goal is that students, regardless of their location, can come away with more awareness, adaptability, and the language to describe what is happening around them.

Recently, Ingrid presented to students at the Ottawa Catholic School Board and turned the climate adaptation planning workshop into a civics game. In Ingrid’s words:

“Students had great fun debating. This role-playing civics game, much like the ArcGIS Journey, relies on students' recent experience of weather events (the ice storm and the derecho) to begin their reflective journey on local policy and budget. Some discussion focused on agrivoltaics and others focused on rural and vulnerable populations. All groups ended with discussions of well-being.

In this game, the students form teams to represent five general service sectors, (Health and Safety, Public Administration, Local Economy and Growth, Community and Lifestyle, and Environment and Sustainability). Each group petitions the mayor for additional funds based on understanding the spikes in derecho vulnerability ratings in their sector. Students strategize towards short term and long term solutions as they see how their sectors overlap. The discussions yield insights into existing climate innovations and nature-based solutions. This game helps the students understand how they can map a vulnerability report onto a building or business. In the longer version of this game, students would build a vulnerability rating for the school through mapping areas of concern on school property. Recommendations can be submitted to the school administration and city councillor in the form of a video or ArcGIS StoryMap. Importantly, the AdaptED workshop can be applied to multiple Ontario SHSM sectors (environment, business, energy, health and well-being, information and computer technologies, agriculture, and justice) as well as Ontario Civics and Contemporary Studies courses because of the interdisciplinary and civics nature of climate adaptation…This will be piloted as a certified Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneur (ICE) SHSM workshop in the fall.”

In describing herself and her role as a learning tool designer, Ingrid sees herself as a curator. As she describes, “our tools are already here”, which includes local Indigenous practices and ways of knowing the land. She highlights that there is a “blanket of climate care out there” including an abundance of resources, tools, and content for teachers. When asked what she would like to share with new educators or those starting their work in environmental education, she highlights the following resources: EcoSchools, Project Drawdown, The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM), Learning for a Sustainable Future, and Climate Risk Institute. Ingrid also stresses that focusing on the youth and seeing them as future leaders is essential to climate education. To Ingrid, this is possible through supporting students’ wellbeing, creativity, and agency when learning about climate change and actions.

Check out Ingrid‘s website to learn more and stay tuned for the release of her learning tool!

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