Mahara in a K-8 DL Program

Here is my executive summary and pitch.

It is an intrapreneurial pitch to a school district Superintendant.

Note: the pitch is linked to the executive summary and takes time to load. It’s a PowerPoint presentation converted to flash.

WARNING: I had great difficulty with a borrowed camera so I only managed to salvage one small piece where I was practicing to deliver the pitch; it’s not great, and the sound is low for the first slide. After the first slide, I used PowerPoint narration – the volume increases greatly. So get ready to turn the volume down 49 seconds into the pitch!



1 Joey Dabell { 11.25.08 at 12:19 pm }


Good summary and really interesting project! I like that you’ve identified a strong rationale for the project right up front. You stated that effective use of technology was missing from the current program, and that e-portfolios would help with that. I wonder if it might be an idea to include in the summary just a point or two that supports that to show how this is the case? I got the problem and I think e-portfolios is the solution being suggested, but for me from the summary, there was still a bit of a gap connecting problem with solution. Overall your summary provided a good overview of key information.

I also enjoyed watching your pitch. You made really engaging use of video, audio and readable slides. The presentation just flowed really smoothly to address the key issues. Your description of the team and their qualifications was good and to the point. Would it be an idea to include some discussion of their experience with the technologies you are discussing? Your description of the goal provides good rationale for the project, and the problem and solution are well addressed, as are the benefits of your venture. Your discussion of the competition was thorough. Would it have been an idea to mention specific competing programs?

Overall I got a good understanding of the problem, your solution, the barriers and challenges, benefits, and the costs. It seems like a great project and a viable one. I would recommend it for funding based on your presentation.


2 Gillian Gunderson { 11.26.08 at 1:31 pm }

Hi, Joey,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. You don’t miss anything! In a previous version of my pitch I did mention specific competing programs by name – I took them out for the final pitch as this venue is “open to the world”.

3 Carolann Fraenkel { 11.26.08 at 6:36 pm }

Hi Joey,

I got that you were looking to include an effective use of technology to your Home Based learners program, but I didn’t really come away with a clear understanding of what that program is, and why technology use would be important. I think I figured it out eventually, but I would have liked to see a quick summary either in the Executive Summary or the video, so I knew where we were going. (If you are marketing this internally it wouldn’t matter I guess, this is just me 🙂

The slides were easy to see and well thought out, but there seemed to be a lot of voice with slides that lasted a long time. A few pictures or some additional slides would have broken it up a little.


4 Joe Dobson { 11.26.08 at 10:52 pm }

Hi Gillian,

I think others here sum up the tools you present with well – the slides and visuals were well-organized, clear and uncluttered. I think that a little more discussion of Mahara would be useful – for those of us in the course it makes sense, but to others it may require some clarity. The market you describe does make sense and clearly it is robust at present. In terms of the students, I wasn’t sure what age group/grade level student the project targets – or is it all DE students?

Overall I thought it makes sense and as an EVA, I’d be likely to want to explore the idea further.


5 D.B. { 11.28.08 at 12:10 am }

As with the many other ventures in this module by other folk, this venture is also a well considered and viable proposal 🙂

While I found it to be refreshing to have full disclosure about past problems and future anticipated challenges, it did leave me wondering how you could achieve a balance between realistic assessment AND the sales pitch. If the sale pitch has too many caveats, disclaimers and qualifiers, it can distract a bit from the focus which is to pull in the audience and hopefully their cheque books too. 🙂

Executive Summary:

Clear and easy to read. (aside: why the mix of bitmap/graphic text and text material?)
If you have ‘threat’ as a title, why not ‘defense’ or ‘solution as another title in your summary?


Good presentation and analysis, but as CA mentioned, some slides took a bit long compared to the associated narration, especially if there isn’t someone to watch giving the spiel. Perhaps some discreet slide show animation would have helped as you covered your points? If we could’ve seen you give the presentation (as per the beginning of the slide show) then that pacing may have worked better. Nonetheless, well put together. Well done.

6 Ellen Wu { 11.28.08 at 9:44 pm }

Hi Gillian,

What an interesting idea and new technology. I wasn’t aware of the existence of any DL program in elementary school. I like how you outlined what would happen if no new technology is incorporated to show that there is a need for the addition of Mahara. You raised the good point that training and technical support must be readily available to the teachers and this is something that is worth discussing further. How will you be able to provide training and on-going technical support to teachers and students? Would you also need to provide help to parents as they are the ones who will be assisting the students when they learn from home? Nevertheless, you were very clear and concise with the funding that you’re seeking. Good job over all!


7 nancy castonguay { 11.29.08 at 10:41 pm }

Gillian, I loved your pitch! I think that the fact that you could be seen, and exuded confidence, made quite a difference here. This is indeed a very interesting project. It was very clear-cut and easy to understand your justification for the implementation of Mahara. Well done.

8 fetya { 11.30.08 at 1:29 am }

Hi Gillian!

I found your pitch very easy to follow and engaging. Having both text and narration helps me focus on the important points. You clearly identified the goal, the team’s qualifications and a reasonable plan of action. However, I would have liked more information about Mahara. Although the competition is somewhat mentioned, I didn’t feel like Mahara’s key features were elaborated on. Also, Mahara is offered as a compatible solution but it isn’t made clear how this is the best of solutions (i.e. as opposed to other ways to make HL more competitive)? Great work overall though, and as an EVA I would definitely ask for a little bit more information before making a decision! Good luck!

9 Melissa Anders { 11.30.08 at 1:18 pm }


Your presentation was very well thought out, researched and organized. You seem to have a very good understanding of the market, product and need. You clearly outlined why Mahara is needed, how it will help DL in the future, and how much it will cost, all things that would be important for an EVA to know before they made the decision to invest. As concerns with the environment continue to be a hot topic, an e-portfolio system would be very attractive to many people.


10 Gillian Gunderson { 11.30.08 at 4:20 pm }

Thanks, all, for taking the time to review my pitch. Your comments are really helpful. This has been a huge learning process and I appreciate getting the feedback.


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