A Flash Mob Sparked A Lightbulb Moment
NBS’s Sharing Dance initiative started with a flash mob. In 2010, to celebrate NBS’s 50th anniversary, 300 dancers took over the Eaton Centre in Toronto on International Dance Day, their efforts coordinated by NBS instructors. Their performance—meant as a one-time celebration of dance—gained over 100,000 views on YouTube. That unexpected success sparked the idea.
“To prepare for the flash mob, we had created mini-tutorial videos and shared them on YouTube so everyone participating could practice at home,” says John Dalrymple, chief of external affairs at NBS. “What we didn’t know at the time was that one of our participants showed her mom the videos on YouTube. The mom turned out to be a junior high school teacher, and she adapted the videos to meet the curriculum and taught her entire school how to dance. That gave us a lightbulb moment. We realized dance—and NBS—could be in every classroom across Canada, with the effort coordinated from our Toronto location.”
Sharing Dance Is Born
NBS realized that it needed to create an easy-to-use curriculum and resources to teach non-dancers to dance. So it created Sharing Dance, with a mission to engage Canadians of all ages in dance by offering in-and out-of-classroom activities to children and youth, seniors, people with Parkinson’s, and people with dementia, to improve mobility, help childhood development, and provide health interventions.
“High-quality dance activities are shown to improve seniors’ balance and help manage symptoms associated with age-related illness,” explains Powell.
Enabling Dance-related Learning At Scale
NBS has been using D2L’s Brightspace CaptureTM technology since 2013, initially deploying the platform as part of an international ballet festival to connect 18 ballet schools around the world.
When NBS began to bring a curriculum approach to the Sharing Dance initiative, it turned to D2L’s next-gen learning experience platform, Brightspace, to enable its instructors to provide dance-related learning at scale.
“For our first generation of Sharing Dance, we were exploring delivery, so we set criteria for the learner experience we wanted to create,” says Kevin MacLeod, manager of digital media and learning technologies for NBS. “We knew it had to be flexible—it had to effectively support multimedia; it needed to integrate really well; it had to support community engagement; and most importantly, it had to have scalable, personalized communications.”
NBS also began using D2L’s platform analytics, which gave NBS insight into how people were engaging with D2L’s platform.
“We could see when they logged in, and we could see drop-off rates,” says MacLeod. “This allowed us to monitor the uptake of the Sharing Dance program, and use D2L’s survey tools to see what we were doing right and how we could improve our approach.”