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.
Today after work I’ll be heading to Calgary for my annual Teacher’s Convention. I believe in lifelong learning and participate in and deliver professional learning opportunities on a regular basis but I never look forward to convention because there is no WiFi so I need to disconnect from my learning network in order to learn, and I learn better when connected to my network.
When I first started teaching at Innisfail Junior Senior High School and attending the Palliser District Teacher’s Convention seven years ago WiFi hadn’t fully penetrated our lives yet. Students were not allowed to have their cell phones during class time and the computers in my lab were connected to the internet via Ethernet. By the time I left Innisfail five years later attitudes had changed, students were allowed to bring their own media devices to class and connect to the school WiFi. I now have WiFi access when I am at the airport, coffee shop, library and even in the middle of Churchill Square.
I’m still obligated to attend our annual Teacher’s Convention, and they still don’t provide WiFi access. This year I’ll be helping my friend Verena deliver a session about Open Educational Resources (OER), which is based on a course we taught for Ed Tech Open. It’s a challenge to plan a session about accessing OER when participants won’t all be able to access the internet. Ironically, I first met Verena on-line and the OER course was planned and delivered entirely on-line. If you’d like to learn about OER but would rather do so when you are connected to the internet instead of during Convention, we’ll be offering another session of Exploring Open Education and OER from April 17 – 22, you’ll have to register to access the course, but it’s free.
I’ll be off-line learning for the next few days, sorry if I don’t connect with you. I’ll reply to your Tweets, emails and posts once I get home. I”ll be going from famine to feast because TEDx Youth@Edmonton will be taking place on Saturday and I’ll be live tweeting all day.
On Thursday January 29th I was at ERLC’s CTF/CTS Day at Harry Ainley and Louis St Laurent schools. Dave, Danielle and I did a session about CTF in the morning, there was a big crowd with some great questions and comments.
In the afternoon we participated in Dennis Pratt‘s session “Projects Plans & Presentations”. He gave an overview of CTF, pointed out where to find information, and talked about how he has been starting to implement CTF in his classroom.
And then the fun began. He told us he was going to let us do a CTF challenge – bottle rockets. He showed his rocket and did one demo launch. He showed the launcher and explained that his his CTF class students would only build the rockets, not the launcher but that we were going to make both. He divided us into groups and here is what happened:
After all of the teams finished their rockets we tested them out in the parking lot.
What a great session. Thanks for showing us what a CTF challenge might look like Dennis.