14 September 2013

A Lot of Learning

A week on, I can articulate (I think!) some takeaways from the Tauranga StartUp Week End
Rewind back 7 days:  I pitched, my idea did not get traction, went round the room, liked a few ideas, hard to put forward my "soft skills" when people just want to get going, needing a developer or a designer, and then chose to hang around an idea that inherently involved learning and self directed learning, as well as speaking competence and ability, and enhancement of these through feedback and feedforward, through the development of an online community dedicated to do just that. All stuff that I relate to through language teaching, ePortfolio development, understanding of what good expert and peer feedback consists of,  credentialing of evidence with Open badges, online community building experience both as a user and a facilitator... The SpeakEazy idea talked to me on many levels.
Now to make a Minimum Viable Product from an idea like this and turn it into a convincing business plan...That's the challenge.
Lean Canvas
This is where the words Motivation, Team and Leadership come alive. Those very words that are the foundation for a positive productive and supportive learning environment.
The team had a difficult challenge, the one they set themselves to solve.
The team had the tools: each other's experience, expertise and contribution, the devices, the internet, an outline of the success criteria, and the Lean Canvas.
The team had the support: honest mentors with a range of expertise, a set framework, food, drink, attentive organisers
The team had time: well not really (54hrs sounds a lot but...) in fact yes there was time since we were in "locked down" doing anything but work on the project uninterrupted.
Challenge+Tools+Time+Support =  Motivation.
> Isn't this level of engagement that we want in school?

Co constructed under effective leadership
The team members have never met before.The team recognised the role individuals within the team could play, and the strengths and limitations each has. There is respect, there is collaboration and there is ownership.  The sum of their contributions will lead to solving the problem if the pathway to it is underpinned by a thought through strategy, facilitated by a leader. The team was well lead indeed, by someone who not only had given careful consideration to what it will take to succeed but who also could articulate the steps, as well as enable team members to contribute at their level of competence, while providing opportunities to stretch beyond.
> Isn't this the type of  leadership of learning we want in school?

Then came the evaluation, the 5 minute presentation of the project to the Judges, in front of your peers turned audience, culmination of the hard work but also the competition. And the celebration of success, not just for the winning team, but for all that have fully immersed in the experience, each individual taking away with them something to reflect on, grow, emulate, extend.
> Isn't this the type of individualised learning we want in school?

In learning mode...
Just felt I have actually lived Ewan McIntosh's Design Thinking for Learning, including the ah ah moment! That ah ah moment applies actually to ThinkAgency as I have been working on getting to the value proposition. It is about serendipity also!
Isn't this the type of success what we want all learners to experience?   ;-)


  1. Woooooooo,
    What an incredible celebration. Firstly, I have never heard of a 'startup weekend' before and I am incredibly intrigued and fascinated by the idea. Secondly I am in awe of the winning idea and think of how schools could replicate this to support learners in a multitude of ways. Thirdly - what fun and inspiration Pascale. I envisagae this idea in a school environment - with learners really immersed in a Universal Design for Learning journey. I just LOVE this equation.... Challenge+Tools+Time+Support = Motivation. It sounds to me as if it was a massive think tank time, creation time, sharing time and celebrating time. Not only would I like to hear more about it, I would like to replicate the experience in the Otago area... Are you in to help me with that?
    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing experience!

    1. Anne I just love how you think! The shortcut to how I became interested in the StartUp thing: it starts with my willingness to experience Design thinking and its application in teaching and learning. Short of experiencing the process in school with students (which I don't have) I thought I d create my own problem to go and validate, and thus I came to the entrepreneurship thing. It would be awesomely worthy to look into how the StartUpWE model can be adapted/rejigged to provide students with an awesome learning experience that lives with them. Check out and make connections with the Sup community in Duneding for a chat and see what they do and more importantly why they do it. Let's grow that idea, why not?

    2. Woohoo, exciting times. I will try and make contact with the community here. I am very keen to experience anything that grows my thinking around Universal Design for Learning, Design Thinking, Collaboration, Challenge. YAY, I look forward to talking about this with you further! You always have such inspiration ideas!

  2. I so enjoy the way you articulate the joy of learning Pascale... and your passion for evolving the human experience of education is infectious! "Each individual taking away with them something to reflect on, grow, emulate, extend. Isn't this the type of individualised learning we want in school?". Hear, hear. Indeed! Having read your reflection, and the wonderful comments, I'm thinking maybe we should talk with the National Startup Weekend organising committee about convening an Education themed SUW. And soon! Students and teachers imagineering together, collaborating in teams, to create and validate the model and MVP for ever-evolving personal learning... what do you think?

    1. What I think right now is... how lucky I am to be receiving such an awesome comment Jo. 1000 cheers! And you have indeed a fantastic idea that builds on quite nicely from Anne's. Let's go and talk with the committee. You first!


Let's go Back to the Drawing Board!