Instead of the usual ceremony behind closed doors Premier Notely invited Albertans to join her on the grounds of the Legislature and they came out in droves. As Paris and I walked towards the grounds it felt like the Canada Day parade due to the number of people and excitement. Here is how the crowd covered the event on Twitter as curated by the Edmonton Journal.
The Festivities at the Legislature
Here is the new Premier and her Caucus, which has an equal number of men and women. It was interesting to watch the formalities involved in the process of swearing in a new government. As I think of the many bloody transitions of power that have taken place in other countries in the last 44 years and I am happy and proud, once again, that I am Canadian.
The new Premier and caucus
She introduced her new cabinet.
The new cabinet
There was a lot of cheering and celebrating and many people played in the water or stood in the fountains to watch.
Cooling off in the fountains and celebrating
The even turned on the new fountains in front of the Federal Building to celebrate. It was a great afternoon.
For the next two weeks I have the pleasure of helping coordinate Open Education and OERs with David Porter, Clint Lalonde and Sandy Hirtz. It’s an EdTechOpen course, the second iteration of a course that originally ran in December, 2014. It’s a real privilege for me to have the opportunity to work with Clint and David again, I have so much respect for their knowledge and experience with open education.
Unfortunately Verena Roberts isn’t at the party this time around. She was a co-facilitator for the first course in December, in fact she is the one who brought me into the project. Once the initial course ended she ported an open version to the Palliser Beyond Borders Moodle server.
When Verena and I did our Beyond the Binder session about OERs at the Palliser District Teachers Convention in February, we initially planned to have participants make their way through the open version, but the limited wifi made us change to a more stand and deliver format. We’er both pretty happy with what we came up with. A few weeks ago I remixed the slide deck for an Introduction to OER in K-12 for the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.
Changes for this Iteration
I am excited about this version of the course, it’s longer, running from April 13- 24. Participants can earn a badge if they like and there are e-facilitators from India, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana supporting the fifty participants who are have joined from around the globe.
We’ve also added two webinars this time around. I missed the first one, which was today at noon. with Paul Stacy from Creative Commons. Fortunately the archive is available for those who missed the live session.
The next webinar is Monday April 20 at 10am MST with Megan Beckett who will be talking about Making education accessible in the developing world and Siyavula. I’m looking forward to it, I hope I will see you there.
I am looking forward to playing in the #rhizo15 sandbox for the next several weeks, even though I haven’t been very active yet. I’m co-facilitating a course in Open Education and OERs for EdTechOpen and that is where most of my attention will be for another week. I’ve taken a more lurkish role than usual, mostly watching the #rhizo15 Twitter feed, following a few conversations and smiling at the familiar avatars that scroll by. I’ve read a few blogs, but not commented yet.
I’m not beating myself up about it, just thought it important to include in an introduction. I guess I should also mention that I’m a media and computer teacher, community builder, ed tech nerd, and a cMooc social butterfly, I guess you could call it – my basketball coach had me pegged way back in grade 11. I see #rhizo15 as a great way to stay connected to people I have been playing and learning with since #etmooc and to meet new ones, have great conversations, think, blog and collaborate.
Pay renewed attention to my blogging, and especially my commenting practice
explore the cool connectivist space Dave Cormier creates as #rhizo15 unfolds. This time around there isn’t (yet) a Google Community or course hub, even on P2PU. I say yet because this is one course where once a need is identified for a new community, I have no doubt the community space it will be created. Since I don’t use Facebook it will be interesting to watch things unfold with only Twitter and participant blogs forming the initial greenhouse structure for the rhizomes, although Laura Gibbs has already set up a blog roll.
I’m sure I’ll also spend time imagining the role that learning subjectives could play for CTF students. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about assessment and assessing competencies lately, I am sure that will colour how I play in the #rhizo15 playpen.
On March 23rd, 2015 at 7pm MST I had the pleasure of participating in Rockylou Radio’s #ds106 radio production: the Fascinating Femme Fatale. You can listen to the whole show, or selected parts and flip through the print ads created for it in Rochelle’s fantastic multimedia flipbook. If I were you, I wouldn’t pay much attention to the negative press that Talky Tina or Karen Young are getting for their youthful experiences, I know the true secret to their youthful appearence is #ds106 #4life.
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.