Event // 03.02.2015 // Curated by Ed.

Weekend work – redesigning NZ education

If you were asked to volunteer the entire 54 hours of your weekend – from 5.30pm on Friday, till late on Sunday night – to come up with solutions to challenges learners and education organisations face today would you say yes? Click here to tell us what your answer would be!

Well that’s exactly what over 100 people did in Wellington back in August, 2014.

I was invited to lend a hand behind the scenes and learn a bit more about how the event works in preparation for organising my home town’s own Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend events have been spreading all over New Zealand since 2011. A global phenomenon which started in Boulder, Colorado, USA back in 2007, the event gathers together motivated people who have ideas about how to create a product or service to do things better in the future, but no clear way to proceed.

Startup Weekend EDU, now in 16 cities across the world, is a subset of this global event network. It gives people an incredible to innovate and drive change in education ‘using the awesome power of the Startup Weekend format’.

Anyone can take part, no matter what their skills or experience, and through it play a role in creating the future of education.

At Wellington’s SUWEDU 12 teams of complete strangers gathered around 12 great ideas and learnt how to co-create, launch (in some cases for real) an edu-enterprise with the goal of making a difference.

Solutions which materialised over the weekend included; digital products for all learners, including those with special needs and those with specific interests; new tools for educators to transfer knowledge and know-how about new subjects; a solution to link groups of learners with employers; for parent to school communication; and, one for international students. There was even a solution to how to teach boys to learn to dance!

The teams were:

  • <a href="http://launch.studyninja achat sur internet viagra.co/” target=”_blank”>StudyNinja – school exam study plans
  • Tiputech – helping autistic youth into the tech industry
  • Jobteam – putting together a team to fill a 40 hour role
  • Making Tracks – showcasing the journeys taken by inspiring Kiwis
  • Monkey C#, Monkey Do – teaching coding
  • Orientation Aotearoa – a gap year in NZ
  • School Comms – helping schools get the message to parents
  • Banqer – interactive financial literacy for primary school students
  • Groov.r – learning to dance, pivoted to helping guys meet girls (and got a crowd of 150 or so partipants and guests dancing)
  • IdeaVolt – kids solving real world problems by being guided through an innovation process
  • Rover – live lecture feedback tool
  • I know What I Like – helping improve engagement with art gallery visitors

(Thanks to Dave Guerin, SUWEDU mentor extraordinaire and expert in all things ED for the curated list.)

The winning team with highest scores in the four categories; business model (how will it work?); validation of the idea (do customers support the idea?); execution of the product (the prototype); and educational impact, was Banqua. As at the date of this post the team are just about to hit the launch button.

Startup Weekend Education was an incredible and intense experience; the perfect hothouse for generating and prototyping ideas.

Without a shadow of a doubt, every person in that room, from Dave Moskovitz who first bought the event to New Zealand, to the youngest participant, turned up with willingness to focus their personal, deep seated passion,to change the status quo in 54 hours.

Learners, educators, administrators, managers, commentators, community workers, designers, developers, and parents all on a level playing field with a willingness to share everything – skills, talents, experiences, insights with no hierarchy or boundaries prototyping ideas for 21st century learning.

It was totally inspiring to see how effective (and how much fun) co-creation is in all it’s messy glory!

So back to the start of this post, will you do ‘weekend work’ to help change the future of education? To answer click here.

Click here to tell us what your answer would be!