Hello ETEC 522, Winter 2018 community!
I’m delighted to be in Ventures in Learning Technologies. This is my second course in my first year in the MET program. I took 511 last term, and in addition to 522 this term, am also taking 510. I’m an alumni of UBC (B.Comm – 1993) and University of Waterloo (Science – 1995). After this I completed my TESL certification in Vancouver and taught in S.Korea. Professionally, I worked in for-profit high-tech and innovation (particularly, start-ups in location-based/context aware mobile software/hardware) from the late 90s to 2011. My areas of focus included product development, new product innovation (NPI), finance (fundraising) & investor relations, and market development. Since 2011, I’ve been CEO of MindFuel, a technology based K-12 STEM solutions, non-profit and registered charity.
Throughout my career, I’ve admired and followed market insights from so many industry icons — but Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, in particular. This YouTube video is a segment of one of my favourite Steve Jobs and Bill Gates interviews (runs about 8 minutes), and was recorded in 2007 at the D5 conference. The interview reveals deep mutual respect based on each of their mega-contributions to the computing industry though they were fierce, and at times, vicious competitors.
My current areas of product development and research include: personalisable learning environments, gamification in object-based learning, and blended learning in virtual classrooms as a means to improve student engagement. One of MindFuel’s signature products is Wonderville.org, happy to share it reached 1003 communities across Canada and 170 countries during the last year. Also, check out the Wonderville.org activity board – Science Happens Here which shows the real time global usage. Another one of MindFuel’s programs is geekStarter. geekStarter focuses on high school and collegiate level students — they must use synthetic biology or robotics and machine learning to solve real world problems. One of the competitions that geekStarter students vie to attend is iGem.
On the business front, my core focus at MindFuel is to develop a new business model focusing on the global distribution and monetization of STEM products through a social enterprise venture-based model (i.e. not profit seeking, but sustainability seeking). We’ve conducted five years of product testing and product development in the U.S. and Canada, and have just released a commercial version of one of our products.
On the personal front — I’m married and have two fabulous children, aged 13 (grade 9) and 10 (grade 6). We love anything to do with mountains and hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, spending our time between two wonderful Canadian locals — Calgary and Canmore. In my spare time I love to write. I’ve recently completed my first work of literary fiction, which I pitched to both US and Canadian agents in September and October 2017, and am pleased to share that I have a few bites of interest (very exciting!!). I’ve discovered similarities between pitching literary projects and pitching high-tech venture opportunities in that supply frequently exceeds demand, thus know your elevator pitch and value proposition very well!
I’m keen to be part of the ETEC 522 community as it resonates with many of my key areas of interest — innovation and technology, product development within the context of learning, K-12 STEM (STEAM) education, entrepreneurial ventures (social enterprise, in particular), and massively scalable product development. I look forward to our ETEC 522 collaborations and communities of sharing and learning as we move through Emerging Markets, Market Projections, Pitch Pool, Founders Parade, Opportunity Forecast, and Venture Forum. I, as always, am appreciative for all that I am able to learn and contribute through our amazing ETEC community. And finally, I’m in mountain time zone (+1 PST, -2 EST) — I check emails and messages regularly.
Happy ETEC 522 trails…
Steve Jobs & Bill Gates video, retrieved from YouTube.com (January 3, 2018). Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs appearing at the D5 conference on 27 June 2007 in a joint appearance and interview by Wall Street Journal columnists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.