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Student Presentations

Today I got to watch 3 teams from the YELL class, Coquitlam Open Learning‘s Entrepreneurship 12 Course, practice their presentations for the YELL finals happening this Saturday.

Students from Coquitlam, Richmond and West Vancouver will compete again this year, at YELL Canada’s 3rd Annual Venture Challenge – “A Dialogue in Youth Entrepreneurship”.

Emily Naing, one of last year’s students from the Coquitlam team, that went to the finals (and came a close second to the overall winner), started us off with a little motivation and she answered questions about her experience last year. Emily is continuing the development of the pitch her team gave… with the help of a $300,000 grant that her team got after the finals. She spoke about how 2nd place actually pushed her team to prove themselves even more than if they got the 1st place spot. I still remember the email her team sent the night of the finals:

Hi,

This is SWAVE from the venture challenge. We were so impacted by the connections made today that we are determined to keep moving forward with our idea. We hope to enter more business competitions and ventures and hope to actually develop a prototype with adequate research. If there are any connections you can refer us to, or if you (the founders) would like to support us in our journey with this product, please reply to our email.

Thank you so much,

Founders of Swave

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Watching the presentations, I realize how important it is for us to give students authentic opportunities to first develop, then present their ideas. Although all the groups had things to work on, there was obvious passion and interest in doing a great presentation.

I think the competition is healthy. I also think the idea of presenting to real investors and/or business school profs, increases the stakes. And I think that we need to proved authentic avenues for students to present beyond the walls of our schools.

Good luck to all the teams on Saturday!

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World Markets and Apps

Two apps have made me realize how the world is changing. These apps are very popular, but not here in North America. Here, a very popular app for connecting with others for business (as well as socially) is Slack – a messaging app for teams.

However, pop over to India and WhatsApp is the cool tool that everyone is using. “Simple. Personal. Real Time Messaging.”

And hop over to China (as I did just recently) and WeChat is the tool that is already ‘Connecting a half billion people’… A HALF A BILLION PEOPLE!

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One of my students, Brandon Mayhew, was invited to the Facebook F8 Developer’s conference, and he wrote about Mark Zukerberg’s opening presentation and an ongoing theme he heard, “4.1 Billion was repeated several times at the event and that’s the number of people that aren’t connected to the internet, over the next few years facebook plans on investing heavily on infrastructure to help connect these people in these remote regions of the globe.”

As an interesting aside, Facebook bought WhatsApp… for 19 Billion Dollars!

When over 1/3 of the world’s population lives in just two countries, and when those countries are on a fast track to get everyone connected… it is easy to see that if you were building an app, you’d want it to be used in other countries beyond North America, and specifically in China and India.

Soon, you are going to see some of the top apps start in other countries and the American/Canadian market will be an afterthought. In fact it has already happened… WeChat was ‘Made in China’!

Challenging myself to write

I consider myself a blogger, but in the last year and a half to two years I’ve been writing very little. I realize that in my 10th year of blogging that I’d go through times when my writing would ebb or decrease, but this seems to be a slump that I’m not getting out of.

What’s weird is that I still think in blog posts. I come up with ideas, and I start writing them in my head… But they never get to ‘paper’, or rather, they never go digital.

So here is my attempt to change that. After being untouched for a long time, my daily-ink will go daily… For the month of May.

If I’m truly inspired, I’ll write something to share on my pair-a-dimes blog, but I will put something here daily.

I’m doing this because I believe that I am most enthusiastic and passionate about my job when I’m blogging about education, and I miss the ‘me’ that used to blog regularly… I hope this process helps get that ‘creative-thinking’ part of me back! 🙂

Blurred but not yet Blended

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[ Source: http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/BLIG-2.0-Infographic.jpg ]

Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace. …
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning

Just making a simple point that blended learning is not about ‘adding’ digital media and digital tools.

I’ve said before: The future of education will be open and distributed.

Go to Wikipedia FIRST

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I hope that the 2012 statistic that 73% of teachers prohibit Wikipedia for research is wrong! For years I have told students (and my own kids but they don’t necessarily listen to me) that Wikipedia should be the FIRST place to go. It’s amazing how many people buy into the idea that ‘it isn’t accurate’ and then not only believe this, but propagate the message too!

I don’t think only going to Wikipedia qualifies as comprehensive research, but I do think it is a great place to START. Wikipedia is a great place to go to learn background information and learn about related terms and topics.

It’s also fun to link-hop too. Pick a random subject, read about it, follow an interesting link, and repeat 5 or 6 times and you are off on a learning adventure with a mystery ending. For example, where else could I go and get from Pythagoras to Pearl Jam in just 5 clicks! 🙂

The Socratic Process ~ 6 Steps of Questioning

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…And on that note:
Truly Questioning Everything
How much of what we do at school is done because TTWWADI (That’s The Way We Always Do It)?
What ‘norm’ can you question and challenge in school? What ‘practice’ bugs you about the way things are done, that you have the courage to change?
The questions in the image above are great for students… And if we are honest with ourselves, for us too!

How to do Research – Kentucky Virtual Library

You need to go to the page… it’s interactive!

The Kentucky Virtual Library presents: How to do Research

(Click to open page)

(Click to open page)

To This Day Project – Shane Koyczan

To this day, I wonder how bullying is tolerated. To this day, it pains me that even though it wasn’t typical of me, I too could at one time bully. To this day I want to make this world a better place. Through spoken word, Shane Koyczan is doing so.

Goodbye Posterous

I started my Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts blog on Elgg, because a friend invited me there to try out this think called ‘Blogging’. Elgg moved to Eduspaces killing all of my back-links. Frustrating. Eduspaces was being bought out and so I had enough and moved my blog to DavidTruss.com. Once there, and while in China, I decided to move my little-used Posterous site to this address, as a place to easily upload photos of what I thought would be a daily hand-written journal. That didn’t last long.

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But Posterous was nice and simple. Put a link to a video in an email, or email a photo, add a few comments in the body of the email, then put the title in the subject line, and even add some tags in brackets if you wanted. Then send the email… instant post.

But then Twitter bought Posterous. Instead of slick integration, like post a Twitter Thread or Storify… Twitter killed Posterous. Sad. Really Sad.

This is why I moved my blog to my own domain. This is why I suggest everyone do the same. Spend some hosting money, and claim your own part of the internet. Use wordpress, it’s free and you can even set up posting by email, although in the ipad/iphone app era, even that isn’t really needed.

I’ve lost archives of student blogs on Elgg, and also on Ning sites after they went from free to fee. I still have links to ‘retagr’ and ‘explode.us’ which were identity pages that are now defunct. But I’ve paid for DavidTruss.com until 2018, and I pay yearly or bi-yearly for web hosting and now I don’t have to worry about big company x buying out cool company y and making it go away because x and y don’t want to create happy formulas together.

Goodbye Posterous. You’ll be missed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tweet about this post.