I recently has the honour of being invited to a launch party showcase for the SMAK-G Chocolate Company. The invitation read:
The grade 8 students at Michael Strembitsky School have spent the last 5 weeks engaged in a unique learning opportunity that combines multiple curricular outcomes and competencies into a real-world scenario. The students were tasked with the job of creating a new chocolate bar, designing the packaging and coordinating an advertising and marketing campaign for the new bar.
The SMAK-G Chocolate Company
Teachers Brent Sheehan, Julie Arsenault, Laina Kelly, Jeannette Burtt, Brandi Devitt had done a fantastic job linking the project to their curricula: “The SMAK-G Chocolate Project combines the science of making chocolate (particle theory, mixtures, viscosity and density), the math behind package design (surface area, volume and designing 3-D nets), persuasive writing techniques from Language Arts and finally, knowledge and understanding of French food vocabulary for a bilingual package. Students have spent time immersed in various scaffolding and learning activities, speaking to chefs and local chocolatiers as mentors, and working with our in-house graphic designer to develop cross-curricular competencies such as innovation, the ability to solve complex problems and apply multiple literacies, all the while demonstrating good communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively with others.” Even though it wasn’t designed specifically to address Career and Technology Foundations (CTF), it does. It is a real CTF challenge.
Student groups had set up all around the learning commons. When I arrived they were ready to deliver their pitches, provide samples and answer questions from the judges.
The Experience chocolate display
In addition to creating the chocolate recipes, students created boxes with ingredients listed in both English and French – how Canadian!
Box before assembly
I was impressed by the attention to detail some of the marketing campaigns displayed.
Limon Chocolate Display
I loved how different all of the chocolates and the marketing campaigns were.
White Chocolate and triangle box
All of the marketing campaigns were different
I can’t wait to see what the students do next at Michael Strembitsky school!
On March 30, 2015 I presented a session on Open Educational Resources (OER) to teachers at the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). It was a great session, there were people from across the province, plus one participant from New Brunswick.
I shared a story with them about copyright, Nokia & Alec Couros. Nokia approached Alec because they respected Creative Commons licenses and they wanted to use a video that he had tagged non-commercial.
The day after my session, Laurel sent me this Tweet:
Her Tweet lead me to this Tweet from Dave Cormier:
Alec posted the first comment of many informed comments: “The image that you are using is CC-ATT/NC. You shouldn’t be using it as a commercial organization. It’s mine, but I’ll give it to you – for free. I believe that free matters. So, in contradiction to your article, use away. Heck, here’s another one: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/“
I’m surprised that Wired didn’t respect Alec’s Creative Commons license. It turns out that they have used his image several times in the past.
Great response Alec. Wired I have lost some respect for your brand.
Tom’s birthday was at the end of February. It was one of those big birthdays, the kind that make you think back about all of the things you have done with your life, and the things you would still like to do. Instead of having a giant party, he cooked for 75 people who were on a camping trip at Long Lake Outdoor Recreation Centre.
There were newcomers to Edmonton from Somalia, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico and Myanmar who camped, cross country skied and tried ice fishing for the first time.
First you have to figure out how to carry them
Trying out snowshoeing
Jay cross country skiing
There were presentations about wildlife, and explanations of how to sleep in a tent and use a wood stove to keep it warm.
Frank and a Park Ranger talk about Alberta Wildlife
We had a lot of help serving the food and washing the dishes.
Getting ready for lunch
Happy Birthday was sung in English, Spanish and Somalian.
Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone.
Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. StartupWeekend.org has hosted 1500 events in 726 locations around the world. Last weekend we held Edmonton’s first ever Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) and the first Startup Weekend in four years. I had never participated in a Startup Weekend before but I knew it could be a powerful learning experience and I was excited to help bring it to Edmonton.
Startup Weekend Education Edmonton
I believe that we are in a time when we can transform education. I don’t think that entrepreneurial thinking should be reserved for those who plan to start a business. Knowing how work with a team to take an idea, refine it, validate it, and pitch it are useful skills for everyone to have. SWEDU provided educators, students and others with coaching from experienced designers, business mentors, and industry professionals as they learned to design and build prototypes. At the end of the weekend teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes to help take their idea to the next level.
We didn’t attract as many educators and students to SWEDU as we had hoped, partially because it was a new event, and partially because of the length. Educators spend a lot of time working outside of the classroom. I would probably not have been able to spend a whole weekend doing something like Startup Weekend when I was teaching in Innisfail, I always had correcting and planning to do. I think SWEDU will lead to other Startup Weekend events here in Edmonton which will help spread the world about the Startup Model. I’m sure it will be easier to sell tickets to the next event.
Stephanie and Angie getting ready for the start of Startup Weekend Education Edmonton
I was recruited to the SWEDU team by Angie Terasoff. Angie, Stephanie Chan and Sherry Langland had hosted the first ever Startup Weekend Education in Western Canada in Calgary in October and they were eager to bring the event to Edmonton. Yvonne Guertin and I were the only ones on the organizing team who had never been to a Startup Weekend before. Based on feedback from teachers and students who told us that a whole weekend was too long for them, we shortened the event by one day, making the timeframe to prepare a pitch even shorter.
Day 1, Friday March 6th
As things kicked off at NAIT, I was probably as nervous as the participants. Angie kicked things off with a warm welcome to all and an explanation of what to expect. I provided what could have been my worst ever introduction to our first speaker, Chris Gusen of Make Something Edmonton. Sorry Chris, I promise I’ll do a better job next time to get a chance to introduce you. After Chris talked about Edmonton’s great maker attitude, 14 year old entrepreneur Tom Stoesz gave participants advice about making the most of the weekend based on his experience at SWEDU in Calgary, where his team won for their pitch.
Speakers Chris and Tom have dinner with Carrie and Anne-Marie
Then, the real work began with the group randomly divided into teams and given a few minutes to prepare half baked pitches. It was a great icebreaker and gave people an opportunity to start to work together as the prepared a pitch for the random idea they had been assigned. One person from each team had one minute to make their pitch.
Angie welcomed everyone back and laid out the agenda for the day. Pitches needed to be ready by 6pm.
Angie kicks off Day 2
David Lloyd introduced us to the Lean Canvas model which is a better tool for startups to use because it is easier create and update than a traditional multi-page business plan that take weeks to create.
David Lloyd introducing the Lean Canvas model
Teams worked all day to refine and validate their ideas.
Compu-Thinking validating with Stephanie and Sherry
Priya validitating her idea
Preparing for the pitch
As the afternoon wore on the focused shifted to preparing for the pitch.
Practicing the pitch with Reg Cheramy
Team Super Great Wonder Club getting ready to pitch
The Winners of Startup Weekend Education Edmonton – Crystal Politics
Winners Crystal Politics
I had a great time, I learned a lot and I shot more than 6 gigs of photos and video! I’m looking forward to the next Startup Weekend event in Edmonton. Bryanna Kumpula and I have already talked about a food related event.
I’m excited about a brand new event happening in Edmonton this coming weekend, Mar 6-7. It’s a fun, mini Dragon’s Den style entrepreneurial experience called Startup Weekend EDU. I am on the volunteer organizing team. SWEDU is a chance for youth in grades 9-12 and educators to learn from and work with experienced entrepreneurs, designers, and developers and bring an idea to life in just one weekend. It’s a great way to dive into entrepreneurial thinking and network with educators, youth, designers, entrepreneurs, and business development professionals. No experience is necessary–just be ready for fun and learning!
Yesterday at the Palliser District Teacher’s Convention I had the pleasure of co-presenting a session about Open Educational Resources (OER) with my friend Verena Roberts. It is always great when I get to see Verena face to face, as we usually communicate through email, direct message on Twitter and hangouts, but this was special because we were presenting a topic that we are both passionate about. It’s too bad that Stephanie Krammer wasn’t able to present with us.
Presentation about OER with @Verenanz
Preparing the presentation was a challenge because we knew that there would be no WiFi so we couldn’t count on participants being able to access the Moodle OER course that the session was based on. We had to prepare a much more Stand and Deliver presentation than the blended style that we prefer. However, despite the limited internet access, it was a good session.
We talked about “the binder”, sharing, creative commons and OER. There were great conversations in the room and a backchannel on Twitter, despite the lack of WiFi.
The 5Rs of OER
If you missed the session and would like to learn about OER you can take our open OER course. It explores open educational resources, open policy, open research, open practice and everything related to working towards and advocating for open education.