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 SMAC-G Chocolate Company

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.

Curricula Connections

Curricula Connections

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.

Amour chocolate display

The Experience chocolate display

Carnival Chocolates

Carnival Chocolates

In addition to creating the chocolate recipes, students created boxes with ingredients listed in both English and French – how Canadian!

Box before assembly

Box before assembly

I was impressed by the attention to detail some of the marketing campaigns displayed.

Movie Treats

Movie Treats

Limon Chocolate Display

Limon Chocolate Display

Amour Chocolates

Amour Chocolate

I loved how different all of the chocolates and the marketing campaigns were.

White Chocolate

White Chocolate and triangle box

All of the marketing campaigns were different

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.

Laurel's post about OER session

Laurel’s post about OER session

 

Creative Commons link

Creative Commons link

 

Copyright Criminals & Not

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:
Laurel's Tweet

Laurel’s Tweet

Her Tweet lead me to this Tweet from Dave Cormier:

Dave Cormier's Post

Dave Cormier’s Post

Wired had posted an opinion piece called “Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education” which argued for more textbooks and included a photo taken by Alec Couros that was licensed non-commercial.
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.
Long Lake

Long Lake

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

First you have to figure out how to carry them

Trying out snowshoeing

Trying out snowshoeing

Jay cross country skiing

Jay cross country skiing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

 

New skier

New skier 

 

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

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

Getting ready for lunch

Getting lunch

Getting lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday was sung in English, Spanish and Somalian.

Happy Birthday to Tom

Happy Birthday to Tom

 

 After dinner there was music and dancing.

Frank playing the fiddle

Frank playing the fiddle

Dancing

Dancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fantastic weekend.

Long Lake Campers

Long Lake Campers

Tom and Frank

Tom and Frank on Long Lake

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.

As part of Open Education Week, the New York City Writing Project hosted a special edition of Teachers Teaching Teachers on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 pm MST. I was honoured to be invited to participate in a discussion about open practice with people I consider my mentors in open practice: Karen Fasimpaur, Verena Roberts. Lee Graham, Ian O’Bryne, Christina Cantrill and Joe Dillon. The discussion included learner choice and flexibility, collaboration, sharing, transparency, open access, and more.

SWEDU Edmonton Banner

Startup Weekend Education Edmonton

 

What is Startup Weekend?

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

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

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

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.

Preparing for Half Baked Pitches

Preparing for Half Baked Pitches

 

Ryan delivering the fist half baked pitch

Ryan delivering the fist Half Baked Pitch

After the half baked pitches people had a few minutes to prepare pitches for their own ideas. You can view the half baked pitches and the initial pitches here.

Preparing to pitch

Preparing to pitch

After the pitches dotmocracy was used to vote for best ideas.

The best ideas were selected using dotmocracy

The best ideas were selected using dotmocracy

Those who had the best ideas picked their dream teams and got to work refining their ideas. Coaches were on hand to help.

Ryan's team gets to work

Ryan’s team gets to work

Here is the archive of what Day 1 looked like on Twitter:

 

Day 2 Saturday March 7th, 2015

On Saturday morning we had a great breakfast provided by the students at WP Wagner High School and served by NAIT hospitality students.

NAIT Hospitality Students

NAIT Hospitality Students

Angie welcomed everyone back and laid out the agenda for the day. Pitches needed to be ready by 6pm.

Angie kicks off Day 2

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

David Lloyd introducing the Lean Canvas model

Teams worked all day to refine and validate their ideas.

Planning

Planning

Compu-Thinking Validating with Stephanie and Sherry

Compu-Thinking validating with Stephanie and Sherry

Compu-Thinking Planning

Compu-Thinking planning

 

Priya validitating her idea

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

Practicing the pitch with Reg Cheramy

Team Super Great Wonder Club getting ready to pitch

Team Super Great Wonder Club getting ready to pitch

I am History

I am History

Team I am History

Team I am History

 

 

 

 

Crystal Politics kept it in the family

Crystal Politics kept it in the family

Breakaway Group Voice 2 Action

Breakaway Group Voice 2 Action

You can view reflections about their Startup Weekend experiences from each of the team leads here.  

The Pitches

At 6:30 it was time to present the pitches to the judges and audience.

About the pitch

About the pitch

The Prize: A Startup Toolkit

The Prize: A Startup Toolkit

If you’d like to watch the pitches, follow this link.  

The judges deliberating

The judges deliberating

The fantastic judges

The fantastic judges

 

Compu-Thinking was the Runner Up

Compu-Thinking

Compu-Thinking

The Winners of Startup Weekend Education Edmonton – Crystal Politics

Winners 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.

Here is the archive of the Twitter feed on day 2:     

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!

Startup Weekend EDU is for:

  • Youth in grades 9-12 (register for FREE)
  • Post-secondary students in business, design, coding, and education (register using the student discount)
  • Educators, teachers, professors, trainers, professional learning facilitators, and those in the learning and education industry
  • Designers, creatives, and makers
  • Developers, coders, and hackers
  • Business professionals and marketers
  • Entrepreneurs and anyone with big ideas

No experience necessary. Just come with energy and enthusiasm!

What’s in it for you:

  • Gain insights from George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning at Parkland School Division
  • Meet Tom Stoesz, 14-year old Startup Weekend EDU winner
  • Learn how to apply entrepreneurial thinking through authentic learning experiences that can be used in and out of the classroom
  • Network and connect with Edmonton leaders in business, technology, design, programming, entrepreneurship, and education
  • Learn how to find problems, develop solutions, and validate ideas using theLean Business Model Canvas alongside experienced entrepreneurs
  • Win great prizes that can help take your idea to the next level

Learn more and register here: http://bit.ly/sweduyeg2015

Hope to see you there!

Read about SWEDU from an educator’s point of view:

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the second annual TEDx Youth Edmonton event at the Royal Alberta Museum.

Here are the inspiring speakers, the did a fantastic job!

TEDx Youth Edmonton Speakers

TEDx Youth Edmonton Speakers

TEDx Youth Edmonton Speakers

TEDx Youth Edmonton Speakers

 

This is an archive of the back channel on Twitter

Thanks to everyone who helped out, organizing committee, tech crew, speaker coaches, and my child Jay

Jay and I at TEDx

Jay and I at TEDx

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

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.

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The 5Rs of OER

The 5Rs of OER

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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.

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