W04: What’s your ride?

This is a Discussion Post related to the fourth week of 522.

What’s your ride? I’ve been very fortunate in my career in that I’ve worked variously in, or with, government, institutions, foundations, non-profits, startups, corporations, etc. They all have their own personalities, cultures and, like all human organizations, soul-draining dysfunctionalities. I’ve discovered I love the startup ride better than any other because, despite the higher risks, it is the single best vehicle within which one can focus the collective ideas and passions of a group of committed individuals toward a shared but challenging objective. As an education professional you have the tools and wisdom to choose your ride, so what is it? Describe your learning vehicle of choice.

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51 responses to “W04: What’s your ride?”

  1. JamieTooze
    My job as an academic advisor is not all that different from the job of an Educational Venture Analyst – I am just investing my professional time and energy into wetware rather than hardware or software. In the same way an EVA “is responsible to undertake the… due diligence” to understand every facet of a promising learning technology, enterprise or initiative it is my job, as an academic advisor, to analyze a student’s goals, resources, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks and to engage that student with open, honest, and transparent discussions about their academic choices and career plans. Often our mutual goal is to convince investors (parents or scholarship boards) that their study plan, you might say their academic venture pitch, is not only viable but also shows much promise for impressive returns. However, the glaring differences between an academic advisor and the educational venture analyst is that we are never openly skeptical, we take on very little personal risk with our investments, and we never see a failed student as a failed venture but rather as an opportunity for redirection.
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    1. Rachel
      Jamie, as a fellow academic advisor, I agree with what you described here! I love your last sentence on seeing failed/struggling students as an opportunity for redirection because this is what keeps us creative too. It is so often that by the time students come to us, they already feel quite defeated and feel they don’t have any options but to leave their studies. The whole notion of an opportunity for redirection is very empowering. One thing I want to add is about the investors comment and that is university funding – academic advisors have to convince the administration that what we’re doing/about to do is worthwhile and can make an impact. The proposals one has to prepare is similar to a business plan and often it takes a few attempts and revision before getting the resources needed to operate a new project.
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  2. julio palacios
    I feel, regardless of the scenario or purpose, motivation tends to be my propellent of choice. Not my own motivation, but the enthusiasm and motivation that others bring to a project or cause. I like surrounding myself with likeminded individuals who are animate about the project they are working on. I’m very fortunate to provide digital media support to the entrepreneurial students in our college’s incubator and it is the students who are enthusiastic about their projects who are the most rewarding to work with. I also feel supporting an organization that has a grounded goal that aligns with my personal ethics is important. I find myself often playing the pessimistic (devil’s advocate) role in discussions. Not because I’m resistant to new ideas, but because I tend to seek thorough solutions and information on a topic. I feel enthusiasm from those who I am collaborating with is a perfect offset to this and promotes a positive synergetic relationship.
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    1. adrian wheeler
      Hi Julio, You’re thoughts on motivation really resonate with me. A competent, dedicated team helps elevate the whole organization and builds a sort of momentum that can carry others along. One of the reasons I enjoy working at a medical school is seeing the incredible drive the students have, despite the absurd hours they must put in.
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      1. adrian wheeler
        If only there were an edit button… I suppose “you’re” is the punishment I get for posting from a mobile device with autocorrect haha
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  3. sundeep lail
    The last 10 years of my working career I have worked in a Non-profit company. However, reading the various business models from this week’s list, I find its really a social enterprise model that this company is working towards. We are a non-profit with for profit satellite ventures that fund the institution. I do enjoy the ideology of creating something for the social benefit of society, and making some money on the side! However, the older I get, I am also more inclined to follow a triple-bottom-line company. To have an environmentally sustainable company that gives back to society and can generate profit is what drives me. In researching further about this “triple-bottom-line” companies especially in education, I came across a company that has been using that as their business model. The company is called Classcraft. It’s an Engagement Management System (EMS) that provides real-time data on student engagement, academics, social emotional behavior, and skills development. This type of model is what is needed in the online schools and educational technology; it shows the students what social engagement and environmental sustainability looks like all the while keeping students as engaged as possible while learning online. For more information on Classcraft: https://www.classcraft.com/
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    1. Michael Saretzky
      Classcraft has a lot going for it. When I was first introduced to it, there was a lot of potential. I almost felt like it was an open version of other educational activities, such as Prodigy, where you could make your own content. The issue I found is that it was too open, and too much time was required to build something. As I have mentioned in previous posts, time is such an important factor when selling something to an educator. In saying this, I have been told that it has been improved and you are able to build off what other people of shared, which is great, so maybe I need to go and take another look.
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    2. Vijaya Jammi
      Hi Sundeep, it was good to learn about Self determination theory and the intrinsic motivation, from the link you posted. And the TPL concept that cares for profit, people and planet; resonates with me too. Thanks for sharing!
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    3. Siobhán McPhee
      Hello Sundeep, I completely agree with your statement, “I do enjoy the ideology of creating something for the social benefit of society, and making some money on the side!” and I truly believe it is the only real way forward. I grew up in the world of INGOs and entered my own post-secondary education believing that it was a world I myself would enter. Experience framed within my higher education made me quickly realise the fatal flaws of the INGO and indeed more local NGO world – it is not that charitable organizations are not important, but they must have a sustained government or higher-level funding source. Social enterprises are the way of the future in the fields of development and social justice. That said, my blind spot is still in the higher education sector where I continue to grabble with how these institutions can adapt and grow to our changing world. A little tangental to your thoughts Sundeep, but just to say that it raised the thoughts above, and speaks to my own dilemmas of higher education…
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  4. Jessica Daicos
    This has been the big question of the past decade for me, and I’m still actively figuring it out. I’ve been doing process of elimination: – I did not enjoy State Government. Outdated tech and lots of red tape = not particularly efficient. – I like the day-to-day energy and relationships of a school, but get frustrated at the resistance to innovation and new ideas. Plus, in my experience, the lack of time provided to teachers to actively design and develop their own practice impeded my desire to innovate in my own classroom. – I like the idea of universities but am suspicious about traditional academia. However, I really love the ideas of Michael Crow – President of Arizona State University (you can hear some of his views on higher education here: https://youtu.be/rJ5TPUFcYzw) and could very well be in my element working within a reformed higher education system. – I was recently involved with developing “curriculum” for a new education venture. I really liked the start-up energy, but did get frustrated at some level of disorganisation that came with it. However, I was particularly motivated by the trust and autonomy to make something tangible happen, as well as the feeling of gathering with a bunch of experts to design a solution. But, I’m not sure this has to happen in a start-up. My “entrepreneurial potential self-assessment” was interesting to me. My general profile put me just about at the mean score of entrepreneurs (164), mostly let down by my motivation for power/control as well as self-sufficiency/freedom. What this says to me is 1) I may just not be there yet. Perhaps when I know more and have an idea I am passionate to rally around, I will feel more of a desire to take that power and make things happen, and 2) maybe my “ride” is in an established organisation that values an entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and reform. Maybe I need to find a culture that will give me space to be an “intrapreneur”.
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    1. Yannick Wong
      Hi Jessica, I like how you broke down the different environments through the process of elimination. I share a lot of similar frustrations with you in terms of the environments you mentioned. Established organizations that value entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and reform are hard to come by; the size of the organization seems to have an inherent inverse relationship with its ability to change and be agile, so it all boils down to a negative feedback loop. Having worked in multiple large institutions, I have somewhat given up on the hope of ever being able to make a meaningful difference in them. We have to keep in mind that 1) it is difficult to make changes when it affects a lot of people, and 2) there are stakeholders who like to keep the things they are because of (stubborn or nefarious) reasons. Maybe I’m just throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but that’s how I feel right now, so that’s why I now work at a smaller venture where there are fewer of these issues.
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      1. Alice Shin
        Hi, Yannick, I agree that it is definitely easier to turn a sailboat that an oil-tanker! Especially when they’re already going full-steam ahead. Smaller ventures have their own issues – namely funding and some organizational chaos – with the culture being largely dependent on the bent of the founder. But easier to manage and navigate for sure. It’s a good thing we are in the era of entrepreneurialism where if you cannot make a difference in the corporate environment you’re in, there are avenues for an innovator to go out on their own, or choose the work environment from an ever-growing basket of options.
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    2. tara davis
      Hi Jessica, Your post resonated with me as I scored 165 (and you scored 164) on the “entrepreneurial potential self-assessment” mostly let down by self-sufficiency / freedom and self-confidence / enthusiasm. I understand why I scored low in these areas because I have always believed I am only as good as my team. I have a strong sense of community and team-work and truly don’t believe anyone accomplishes anything in a vacuum. I believe this because of my life experience. As a young girl, I remember seeing my parents work on National Geographic film crews to make the unimaginable possible on a tight budget. I remember being totally team-oriented as a highschool student and as captain of soccer, swim team, and lacrosse. In university, I worked with a team of university students in India and Colorado to raise $40,000 USD to build an clean water system in a village in India. I worked alongside my student government as the elected representative my senior year of university. I’ve been performing and songwriting in bands since I was 14 and have learned by collaborating with other musicians how important teamwork is to develop a unique sound, brand/market a band, and gain a genuine fanbase. After graduating university, I worked collaboratively to write environmental policy with a mentor of mine who later became mayor of Boulder, CO. Next, I started an adventure tourism company in Colombia with my partner and truly understood how integral a solid team is. At the French Immersion school where I work in Squamish, I am very fortunate to work amongst a highly motivated, professional, and passionate group of educators. Simply put, my life experience have taught me how much bigger goals can be with a team of motivated people working together. A great leader will work with others and influence others to join in on a common goal. My grandfather was a businessman and senator. My grandfather always told me his team was everything. There is a recent article where his aids reflected and said my grandfather liked to advise us, “When you think you are leading, look behind and see if anybody is following.” I think this quote is incredibly wise for any potential entrepreneur to consider. Lead by example and what good is it to be a “leader” or a “boss” if no one on your team follows you.
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  5. AmandaKong
    As an online curriculum developer in the field of education, I have come across many challenges in trying to implement new visions and ideas. I feel as though, anyone can have an idea, it is much more difficult to realize an “idea”. In other words, similar to this week’s reading on the ultimate learning experience, there is no textbook or how-to-guide to ensure the success of an idea or a venture. I am personally drawn to creativity, and in my classrooms, I push my students to go beyond the curricular competencies. In my mind, I am fortunate to be able to harness my own creativity by creating original content, projects, and experiential activities. However, it isn’t easy to make changes across the board. For instance; integrating Indigenous perspectives in Biology classes in itself. It is important to help students understand multiple worldviews, especially ones that differ from their lived experiences. A personal passion of mine is creating awareness in diversity and inclusivity through social media.
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    1. Rachel
      Amanda, Creativity is so important but it’s also something many tend to overlook. I love how you are able to create original content and focus on experiential learning, do you notice a difference in how students react to that, compared to textbook material? What you mentioned reminds me of the professional workshops I attended in the past and some really stood out from the others when creativity played a part in training.
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      1. AmandaKong
        Hi Rachel, Students react more enthusiastically when they are immersed in active learning. Having said that, some students do prefer textbook-style learning. It depends on individual preference. Nonetheless, in my experience, most students respond positively to experiential learning as deeper connections are made. The other day, I took my students for a nature walk to observe the natural habitats of the unit content. I am curious on your take and experiences on creative learning?
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        1. Rachel
          A nature walk sounds great! I’m sure with constant exposure, more students would respond positively to experiential learning. I hope parents are happy to see the changes too. I can’t think of any personal experience in creative learning but something my colleagues and I are hoping to do is to find a more creative way to normalize academic advising for first year university students. Similar to any venture, there are pros and limitation to how much creativity is encouraged. I’m still new to this field so perhaps I’ll have more to share later!
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    2. Siobhán McPhee
      Could not agree more that it is almost impossible to make changes across the board! I commend you on doing it within your own classrooms – if more of us keep doing it the hope is that educational institutions will slowly change…
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  6. adrian wheeler
    My ride of choice is medical school. I have been fortunate to work with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine since 2014 and find it exciting, motivating and challenging all at the same time. One of the main considerations for me is ensuring my work has a positive effect on society and the people around me. It is exceptionally motivating to know that the work I do contributes to the training of doctors who will go on to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians. A second aspect I enjoy are the challenges of running a distributed program. UBC’s medical program is distributed around the province with cohorts in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George. To enable this, UBC has one of the largest networks of dedicated videoconferencing rooms in the world, and a host of incredible online tools and teaching technologies. It’s an exciting place to work and keeps me excited day in and day out.
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    1. Rachel
      Hi Adrian, It can be challenging when you don’t seem to see whether your work makes a difference sometimes so I totally get it, when you said how you find it’s important to know your work has a positive effect on society. It sounds like you’re also growing with your work too and I think that’s what differentiated a job and a career.
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  7. Rachel
    I’ve recently given an opportunity to work on a pilot project to create a better first year experience for university students and my colleagues from this projects are all experienced advisors who truly enjoy working with students. For me, working in higher education has always been a great experience but it really makes the job more fulfilling when you have colleagues who share the same passion wanting to make students’ university transition a less bumpy one. It is very motivating when you know you’ll get to learn from one another and everyone is working towards the same goal. I’m also fully supported by my boss with many of the initiatives while trying out some technology tools to deliver quality services to students virtually. I have so I have to say my drive is to be in a supportive environment where I know my job can make an impact on people!
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    1. EmilyChen
      Sounds like you are really enjoying what you do! It’s great to be working in a team where people can learn one another. When you are in a supported environment, people tend to be more creative, and willing to make mistakes. Making mistakes I think it’s very important in working on new projects, it helps people innovate.
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      1. Rachel
        Thanks Emily and a supported environment is so important in personal and company growth. I like what you mentioned about making mistakes because that’s how people learn.
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  8. Alice Shin
    Maybe not what’s my ride, but what’s my ride for now… I never envisioned myself as a business owner or entrepreneur when I was growing up. I followed a traditional path – did well in school, got my degree, helped out with my family business and finally settled into in a sensible career in teaching. But then, I wanted something else, something more, and I took my first pivot out of safety when I was recruited into the financial services industry. There, for the first time in my life, I did not earn a regular salary, but instead, pieced together part-time and contract work as I learned. Then I won my first client, which was quite the experience! My attention, though, still wandered and I was introduced to start-up ventures with a brander/toy designer, an online platform /directory connecting beauty professionals, and a chemist who was creating something I can no longer remember, but which was – as all new ventures are, to be sure – amazing. I have also been involved in entrepreneurial and networking groups exposing me to a universe of connections and possibilities. But is entrepreneurialism my ultimate ride? Not sure. Despite the gradual but seemingly inevitable journey to that end, looking back, I was usually the person with their feet on the ground that made things happen, while everyone else were like farts in a windstorm, off in a million directions. But I fit because I was adaptable, could tolerate risk and manage chaos – as long as the venture was viable. Even my decision to do the MET – and take this course first – was a calculated decision to enter an emerging sector using my expertise that aligned with that area. Because of my experiences, as much as I love the sound of being an innovator, intrapreneur is probably the most fitting. My ultimate goal is to have a role or business that’s my bread-and-butter, then maintain a basket of consulting gigs or ventures that I can invest in, contribute to, or partner with to keep myself connected and growing personally and professionally. I’ve been recently approached to partner with a digital marketing firm to help them reach health practitioners and clinics, undoubtedly due to my work in health and dental benefits. Perhaps this might be my next ride, or just a side-gig while I find my place in Educational Technology, but I’m excited to see where this, and other opportunities, take me.
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  9. Michael Saretzky
    After looking at this question several times throughout the week I have struggled to really think about my learning vehicle of choice. As a teacher I think the number one factor is the engagement level of the students. Sometimes I am probably jumping from one vehicle to another, maybe even in two at the same time. What is interesting, is that what is engaging for one grade 8 group is the complete opposite for the following group. Typically, I do attempt to try things that are tried and tested, although I am also willing to attempt to use new and innovating tech, although I will do so with caution. One of the concerns I have is that the concept maybe in its infancy, and has not reached its entire potential. At these times I have often moved on, however I am willing to return, if I see the value.
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    1. adrian wheeler
      Hi Michael, Great insight about engagement, that really can make all the difference. While I am not a teacher, I find having engaged clients and coworkers can make a huge difference in my own motivation.
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    2. Laura Ulrich
      Hi Michael, Thank you for bringing up how there is no one-shoe-fits-all when it comes to learner engagement. I often reflect on how teaching isn’t about honing the perfect activity. Rather, its more about curating a decent toolbox and knowing well enough to gauge when one tool may be better suited than the other that worked great last semester.
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  10. Yannick Wong
    Likewise, I’ve also had experience in many different settings, including large institutions, non-profits, and small businesses. They indeed each have their pros and cons: large institutions are safe and have a lot of resources at their disposal, but bureaucracy and arbitrary rules grinds everything to a snail pace. Non-profits give you purpose (usually), but they lack in resources (and pay) and bureaucracy is still a problem. They are also very prone to corruption, from what I have learned. My preferred vehicle of choice so far has been the entrepreneurial small businesses due to the agility that can be afforded, and similar to Dr. Vogt, how my knowledge, passion, and ideas can come to fruition in a very tangible sense. A big part of it is also the minimization of bureaucracy, hence the minimization of frustration and cynicism. I do agree, that it is more of a risk, not just in the financial sense, but also that entrepreneurial work highly depends on who you work with, and it can get very personal at times (for better or for worse).
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  11. ryan valley
    My ride of choice is the combination of entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial activities with the simultaneous effort of academic work. I have found that there is a unique kind of synthesis that takes place for me when I am working and in school; as I push myself to read recent research and am exposed to theoretical models, I can not help but integrate them into my work. I think over time this will increasingly pay off as I translate knowledge into practice and reflect on my own experiences in relation to studies I read about. Entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial work motivates me to try new things, while studying offers me perspectives outside of my own and historical lessons to take into account. Both of these modes of being push me and motivate me together. Formal education requires a type of discipline and structure that stretches me and creates cognitive tension in ways more difficult to me than entrepreneurship, which feels more natural and exciting to me. For this reason, I will likely continue with graduate studies in some form or another after MET but also probably would not pursue a primarily academic career.
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    1. adrian wheeler
      Hi Ryan, I have had a similar experience with my work. Despite not being an educator by trade, I have found a variety of ways to integrate what I’ve been learning in the MET program into my day job. Its been a really enriching experience.
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  12. EmilyChen
    I try to surround myself with team members who strive to be more than they are. People who are unsatisfied with the current status of how things are run and want to be a part of the resolution. In my company, we welcome interns who are still in university to come help out. They bring a lot of fresh ideas and they are not afraid to rock the boat. Their questions and ideas may not be the best, but they serve the purpose of helping us see things from another perspective, sometimes that’s all it takes. I work in a corporate office, and that can sometimes easily leave me distanced from the front line schools that we manage. When making decisions that could potentially affect the daily routine of our private schools, I like to take a stroll through our schools and just watch and listen to what’s happening. Listening to the admin and teaching staff’s voice helps me stay grounded and learn from their experience. I prefer the attitude that people have in entrepreneurial small businesses, where everyone is doing anything and everything, they are not stuck doing what their job title tells them to do, instead they are doing anything that will help the business succeed. Even though having an established process brings a sense of security, I still prefer the process of looking for best practice. Having formal education allows me to have a professional expert perspective on the studied areas so I am likely to continue learning this way. I also think it’s important to keep up reading on the topics that I currently need to know for work, but with the limited time that I have these days, I find myself listening to audio books a lot more. Throughout the day, any spare time I have I would put it on, such as getting ready in the morning, the drive to work, lunch break, doing the dishes….etc. It keeps me off of swiping through my phone mindlessly as well, to train my brain to get into the habit of every time I pick up my phone, is to go to my audio book APP.
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    1. raafa abdulla
      Thanks Emily for your input 🙂 It is nice to know that you have some university students in your team. It is even better to give them chance to give suggestions and personal opinions. I think young employees are more flexible with change and they may provide some solutions that may not be applicable sometimes. Sometimes, senior employees overthink the risks that makes them more fixed to routine and away from innovation. Do you think we can overcome the challenges with innovation by continuous trainings?
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    2. Michael Saretzky
      Emily, I like that your company welcomes new ideas. I think education for a long time really pushed against the welcoming of new ideas, although I do believe that times have changed over the last decade or so. Looking back at my own schooling, it seemed like most of the teachers did things the same way each year. However, my grade 6 teacher, we were her first class ever, did things outside the box. I have been fortunate to have three student teachers in my career who have been excellent, and I feel like I learned just as much from them as they have learned from me. I strongly believe that all areas of society, business and government, need to have a good balance of those with experience and those who are new and they both need to be willing to listen and learn.
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    3. RyanSilverthorne
      Emily, I love this. I believe a successful organization is one where great ideas come from everywhere and the truly great administrators are the ones that understand their job is to facilitate, encourage, coach and sometimes get out of the way. The workplace should be a team and not a competition. In education this is the best way to produce results that help the kids.
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  13. raafa abdulla
    If I have to think of my learning vehicle, I would choose the one that rely on experience not on the amount of knowledge. For me, I would like to obtain my knowledge from who has more experience not how much they know. I would not risk the startup ride 🙂 as of the uncertainty. I prefer to be in a slow learning journey where I know some expectation rather than mystery :). I know it would be fun to be in an unknown learning journey where it could lead you to anywhere. However, being in a journey where I know the risks, benefits, challenges and income would be easier on me. Despite all that, I have been always in unknown journeys :). Simply, life doesn’t offer easy learning rides. We always faced with some changes that impact our decisions and learning choices. I think the more experienced we are, the more confident with our preference and our leaning style. When I was doing my undergraduate studies on Medical Biochemistry, I knew I had a future in research but I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I didn’t want to give up the research career, so I did my honours and I was working in 4 different research labs. I was also working as a physics TA at the same time. Eventually, the experience of being a researcher and a teacher led me to refine my career pathway and led me to study education to be a teacher. I have read and asked many professionals regarding a career pathways but nothing helping as much as the experience. So even though I would like to be in a planed journey, life doesn’t offer that often. Trying several things and gaining more experience hopefully will lead to a better learning journey :).
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    1. Feng Mao
      Your experience resonates with me. I also realized that it doesn’t matter how well we planned our life journeys, there are always surprises that somehow lead you down an unexpected pathways.
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  14. Laura Ulrich
    I want to leave things better than I found them. I teach in the same rural school district I that spent my K-12 in. As a student, the lack of tech-opportunities frustrated me. Especially when I saw what students in more urban settings were doing at school. I returned to this district to help shrink that Digital Divide and provide learners with digital and design learning opportunities. I consider myself an intrepreneur. It is challenging to revolutionize an existing program or introduce a new one in the public teaching sphere. Colleagues demand equality rather than equity, which is problematic if specialized tools or supplies are required. I spend much of my time liaisoning between different parties: fellow tech-interested teachers, administration, the IT department, and local businesses. And yet it is invorating what progress is made! Will I eventually break out and become an entrepreneur? According to my survey-results, I need to be more ambitious. For now I am happy to improve things on the grassroots level, but perhaps one day I’ll set my eyes on greater pastures.
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  15. Erica Hargreave
    There is no question about it, I am a start up junkie. I like getting people excited about ideas, motivating people into action, and building things with interesting teams of people who I trust and enjoy a challenge. In my early working years, I did this for other people (aside from my nature and science educational adventure company) and even got the opportunity as a brand new teacher to build a brand new Ministry approved school. Two years later, after we discovered our board had questionable ethics and businesses practices, the parents wanted to invest in me building a new school. While flattering and tempting, I was exhausted and this provided me a natural shift into my own entrepreneurial endeavours – my media company. The thing that is kind of perfect for me about my media company is as we’ve built a reputation for ourselves on experimenting with emerging media around storytelling, it allows me to be perpetually in start up mode with projects. Luckily over the years this has also brought other people to working with me, which has meant that I’ve kept alive the aspects of the company that provide financial sustainability but don’t excite me as much. I have also been lucky in that BCIT seems to appreciate what my entrepreneurial spirit brings to the Broadcast Media and Communications Part Time Studies Department, and as such have allowed me to approach my courses there in a similar fashion to a start up, in which I pitch new course ideas of my own, that they often embrace. And now they in turn are pitching me on new things. This past week that has meant my 100 level courses are being transformed into 500 level courses for a new advanced degree that the school is offering. Things don’t always workout like that as a start up junkie (I have probably had more rejections than your average human being), but wow does it ever feel good when magic like that happens. The beauty of putting yourself out there again and again is while you might be met with many, many “nos”, every once in awhile you’ll get a “yes”, which you would have never received had you not put yourself out there in the first place.
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    1. shaun holma
      Erica, I’m glad to hear your story of flipping a bad experience into an opportunity. I have a similar story in whereby after a lay-off following the great recession, I eventually found my entrepreneurial spirit. Although my venture at the time may have been met with only mediocre success, the ‘first’ experiences of say securing a desirable bid or finding a well-suited alliance remain pleasant thoughts of mine. To use your words, this motivation is what puts me out there again and again.
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  16. RyanSilverthorne
    As a Principal I have been fortunate to have the ability to lay out and attempt to implement new ideas and visions for teaching and learning. More importantly though, I have the opportunity to support other people’s ideas and help to make them a reality. So often as a teacher I felt my creativity was stifled because my Principal either did not understand what I was doing, was resistant to change, or was simply a top down individual who felt my job was to do what I was told. My “ride”, if I can call it that, is being a facilitator and empowering others to take chances and possibly deliver something game changing.
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    1. Simin Rupa
      Hi Ryan, I agree. The facilitator role is the place I feel most comfortable. I am able to guide and support others without having to worry about what someone else may think. I am able to give them the answers that work and deliver concise feedback.
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  17. Feng Mao
    My ride has adapted as I’ve gone through different ages. When I was a student studying computer science, I was looking forward to trying everything and drew motivation through hoping to find a good paying job with a good environment. However, with the IT bubble bursting in the early 2000s, I found that I was entering the job market as a programmer at the wrong time and couldn’t get a good paying job. Having children also caused my motivation to adapt, I had never planned to be a teacher but when I often questioned why my kids acted the way they did, I found myself being drawn to the education field. I am very happy that now that I have become a teacher I feel rewarded when I seeing the sparkle in children’s eyes after my help. In recent years my family’s travels through rural places in Asia have made me think if there is anything I could do to help more kids outside of my classroom. Taking on teaching as a charity has given me the opportunity to see directly how my efforts can be real differences in the lives of individual children, while I see this as having been my ride in the past, that stopped abruptly with COVID-19 and now I need to reconsider my approach to reach out and continue making a difference. I did the entrepreneur’s self-assessment, and I find I need to work on motivation and putting plans into action.
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  18. tara davis
    When I reflect back on the most rewarding life and work experiences I’ve had, I’d say my ride of choice has always been to ride with a team of creative, committed individuals who are working collaboratively toward a common, albeit difficult, goal. The earliest authentic taste I had of this was through songwriting with other musicians, performing original content, and reaching an audience. There is a lot of noise out there, so any chance to connect with an audience and build that relationship has been very meaningful. I am very product-driven, so writing songs has always been a good outlet for that. I am also working on a team of writers and illustrators to publish my first children’s book. I think having a bit of creative control and teaching autonomy was something that drew me to teaching, the career of a “life-long learner”. I also enjoy planning and setting goals, so when I wanted to learn Spanish or French, I made it a goal to teach it one day. I see my students as products of the energy, passion, and hard work I put into my teaching. I often carve quantitative results as opposed to qualitative outcomes, so I rely on data to make my teaching decisions and to actually gain satisfaction when I assess what my students can do. I am grateful to learn something new everyday from the students, parents, and colleagues I am fortunate to work with. Honestly, I find being a teacher far more solitary than I imagined it compared to other team work environments. At times, I also find I have greater ambitions (e.g. I’d like to reach more students and make a greater impact or change on the world). I’m keen to learn more about the ed-tech field for the reason as I become energized when I work on a team to reach a challenging goal. When I took the entrepreneur quiz, I scored low in confidence mainly because I truly believe in the value of a team or collective over that of an individual (e.g. just me). I scored highest for in the persistance area (above the average for an entrepreneur).
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    1. tara davis
      * Typo: I often crave quantitative results as opposed to qualitative outcomes
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  19. Joyce Lo
    From doing the “entrepreneurial potential self-assessment”, my general profile put me slightly below the mean score of entrepreneurs. Am I surprised? Not really. The areas I had lower scores were my tolerance towards ambiguity/resistance to stress and my motivation for self-sufficiency/freedom. I am fine with the results, but I think I will change and eventually achieve a higher score one day. My learning vehicle of choice is startups. I love working with people who are passionate and committed toward a shared goal. I think cooperation and collaboration are important in working with others. I believe that everyone has their own strengths and can benefit from learning from one another. Discovering and utilizing each other’s strengths help make the team stronger. Personal example: Two years ago, my family and I travelled to Idaho to attend an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) camp for our son. We had to travel the distance since there was no such event in BC. The AAC camp was an eye-opening experience for our family and it made such an impact on our lives that my husband and I decided to startup one in BC. After we came back from Idaho, we contacted different organizations in BC to find a partner for the AAC camp. To make a long story short, we are now partnering with UBC to host a mini AAC camp as a pilot project this summer!
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    1. Josh Wood
      Joyce, thank you for sharing this story. Congratulations on making this a reality, and I hope it is a HUGE success!
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  20. analesa crooks-eadie
    This is beautiful Joyce! So happy for you, I am sure this project will be a success! A lot of families will benefit from this.
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  21. shaun holma
    Right now, I’m turning my focus to where I could add original value for learners. Although I like to think I have some valuable ideas, I’ll cautiously proceed with my ride. I’ve decided to keep my ears and eyes open and mouth closed until the all-important eureka moment happens. I believe it is only at this moment I can be confident about leading a venture rather than having the weariness of pushing it. To date, the most rewarding ride I’ve experienced was that of working for a foundation in the second half of the previous decade. From a perspective of a former member of a team whose mission was to pilot a career and education program, I had the opportunity to observe the real-time complexities involved in the change process. This had implications! By first building the program infrastructure, we were then able to establish program targets which in turn enabled us to prepare and deliver programming which finally led us to evaluate post-production developmental opportunities impressed values I will not soon forget. Though the environment with which I surround myself on my next journey may look different, I suspect it may not be so different after all.
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  22. Siobhán McPhee
    I scored above average on the Entrepreneurial potential self-assessment, and honestly I am not at all surprised. I am going to bring in a little cultural context to unpack why at this ‘later’ stage of my career I am finally embracing and exploring my entrepreneurial side. As this review article in Frontiers in Education argues (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2018.00058/full), there is a “complex interplay between the personal aspirations of youths in their career choices and decision-making and the external influences which act upon them” (Akosah-Twumasi et al., 2018:2). I grew up and was educated in contexts where the field of business was seen as an area you went into if you ‘failed’ in sciences or social sciences. I am a problem solver with a strong creative approach to this problem solving, but I have also always been interested in business/economics. However, I never felt the encouragement to explore this interest, but rather felt the push into social science and research to explore and educate. I have often referred to myself as the ‘accidental academic’. Of course I had/have agency and so at any stage I suppose I could have pushed through the external influences and followed my own path – why I did not is probably a complex psychological question! It is not to say that I do not believe that the field of education is important and that I have been successful thus far in my career, it is rather that I find it suffocating and without any encouragement for being a ‘pioneer’! Better later than never I suppose in coming to this course and at the same time pursuing my entrepreneurial persona. To the question of ‘what is my ride’ – I am the ideas person. I relish in identifying an issue and then working to find a solution. I also thrive on creating space or giving a platform to have people discover their own potential, this is my general interest in education. I would therefore contend that I would be most comfortable working in a start-up context. I would definitely not be the CEO down the line if the company was successful as I would tire of the day-to-day management of a larger team and would rather be off exploring other possible ideas. In the broader field I believe that a social enterprise is the time of entrepreneurial venture I would explore as I do have a strong altruistic self that wants to find ways to empower not only myself, but others. I would find government or non-profits frustrating in the same manner that I find public higher-level education institutions frustrating, the pace with which they move is tediously slow. I am currently exploring how I can shift my expertise and skill set into the corporate private sector of education and training…
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  23. Lyon Tsang
    Almost all of my co-op / work experience has been in education — a chunk of time at a private college, and the rest at UBC in some capacity. It’s fun to complain about bureaucracy and administration, but I’ve realized that I actually thrive in more structured environments. Workflows and processes are often in-place already — it’s rewarding to (1) master and understand them enough to recognize how I can add value, and (2) figure out ways to streamline, improve, and innovate. A few years ago, I spent my summer working at a software startup. I loved the “perks” — fully stocked kitchen, wear shorts to work, lots of ping pong. I can’t speak for all startups obviously, but it didn’t take me long to notice the high turnover. Management was more or less stable and intent on “scaling” the company up, while employees were depended upon to contribute. It just didn’t seem like there was much room for long-term growth within. I promise I’ll think about this if I ever launch my own startup 😉 , but your other employees
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    1. Lyon Tsang
      ignore that last line…
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