Eva's Café

Start Up Considerations

For those of us who are interested in moving forward with a start up after this course, please consider the following article from the BBC:


This article interviews three venture capitalists as to what qualities a new venture should have to get their attention. A must read. An interesting point they raise is that they do not accept ‘cold calls’. To get their attention, you must first get to know someone they already know. They never fund projects ‘off the street’. Knowing the right people is as important as it has always has been.

Best Wishes


Eva's Café

Blog Post on Vendors’ focus

I came across this blogpost summarizing ISTE 2014. If anything the ISTE conference is as much about teachers coming together to learn and share as it is vendor’s hawking their wares. This blogpost focuses on a pet peeve of mine and that is the never wavering focus on technology, the latest gadget, rather than teaching and learning supported or enhanced by the technology. It is something to keep in mind as we pitch our projects.


“Walking through the Expo Hall at ISTE is — in many ways — a frightening experience.  You are surrounded by hundreds of companies peddling their products, working to convince you that their features would revolutionize education.  What frustrated me was that 90% of the crap on display did nothing to give kids the chance to learn about, participate in, or improve the world around them.”tweet

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Leah recently posted about coworking spaces and we ended up in a discussion about the different forms of spaces available some of which are accelerators that have specific focuses. One of the global spaces I know of from living in Bogotá is called ImpactHub. Turns out the Seattle Impact Hub was involved with Google on something called ImpactOnAir where people can share their pitches for their ventures. Recently they did one about educational ventures, so I wanted to pass along the Youtube link to the Google Hangout they did.

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Smartphone Apps Infographic

Hi Everyone,

Found this really interesting infographic on Smartphone Apps and their integration into education.  Thought this was especially relevant since we are now moving into using IPads into the classroom, mobile apps for Game based learning and numerous other apps that can be used with an educational spin or relevance.  With the growing number of uses of Apps we are moving towards helping our students use Apps for educational purposes.

It is interesting to note that only in 2012, within the U.S. more than 25 million apps were downloaded so within the time frame of two additional years the growth in that number would be exponential.  There is also a growing number of students who use apps to study and learn curriculum material via their smartphones.  This also lends to the idea of medical schools now using apps within their curriculum and related to cloud based learning that group 9 addressed with their project in relation to medical relevancy.

Provided by onlinecolleges.net Infographic on use of smartphone apps

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Co-Lab and Interesting Collaborative Venture

An interesting business venture which I wanted to share with everyone. Co-Lab is a new business venture in the Philippines. As a new entrepreneur if you have a new big idea but need a collaborative business space to work in Co-Lab offers that capability. I think this is especially important and great for anyone starting a new business if they need the start-up or don’t have the investment pull yet to have all the needed supplies and office space. The space can be used either part-time or full-time.

This is their definition of Co-Lab on their website: “Co.lab offers a coworking space created to spark collaborative fusion among like-minded individuals. The word co.lab can be short for collaborate or co-laboratory, where ideas synergize and ideas are set on fire. Co.lab has no cubicles but instead a variety of different areas which offer coworkers the freedom to work from a desk or a sofa, a communal table, or a lounge chair—whatever is more conducive for their productivity. Coworkers can come in from 9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday with whatever materials they need to get their work done such as laptops, cameras, and pens. They must select the package of their choice and make their payment, then begin co-working.”

Thought I would share this venture with everyone. If your pitch comes to fruition, another similar company within your area could be created as a collaborative working space area.


Cooperative Learning venture space

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Canadian Start-ups

If you are still considering a company to focus on for your A3 assignment I just finished my MaRS monthly meeting with a few suggestions.  The following are startups with MaRS that you might want to learn more about or use for your pitch assignment.

Raise Your Flag – https://raiseyourflag.com/?skip_landing – Just saw their pitch – great job, I’d invest 🙂

Ooka Island – http://ookaisland.com/category/ookawave/

Clapfoot – http://www.clapfootgames.com/

LEO Fitness Intelligence – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/leo-fitness-intelligence

MUSE – brain sensing headband – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/muse-the-brain-sensing-headband 

Synergyse – Google product training – http://www.synergyse.com/

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Is Silicon Valley Funding the Wrong Stuff?

During my research, I stumbled upon an interesting article where Christopher Mims presented his interesting view on Silicon Valley VC funding startupspublished in The Wall Street Journal on July 6, 2014.

What has been funded lately in Silicon Valley?

  • Social networks that allow you to send only the message “Yo” to your contacts.
  • Food-delivery services valued at $400 million.
  • Startups that deliver rolls of quarters to your home (just $27 for $20 in change!).

It isn’t hard, looking at a lineup like this, to conclude that Silicon Valley has jumped the shark. The entire Bay Area appears to have given up on solving anything but its own problems: those afflicting the same 20-somethings who are building these startups.

That’s a pretty cynical take on what’s going on in technology.

And what about Google and Facebook buying everything in sight for billions?

But, to my surprise, the partners of one Silicon Valley venture-capital firm made the very same case to me: That their kind had lost its way—and, in the world of startups, money wasn’t flowing where it should anymore.

Read more here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/is-silicon-valley-investing-in-the-wrong-stuff-1404688048

Regards, Milorad.

Eva's Café

Crowdsource Funding: Considerations

Here is a link to an interesting article regarding issues and limitations in regards to crowdsource funding.


I think we all hear stories (like this one about Potato Salad) and imagine that raising capital through these tools is simple and a solution to all of our problems in funding new ideas. However, the Forbes article is an interesting reality check as it tends to illustrate some of the legal limitation (at least in the US) regarding what can be done with such venture finance.

Best Wishes


Eva's Café

Do Cryptocurrencies Increase Access to Education?


I have been further investigating a closed resource from W08’s OER called Treehouse because I am considering buying their product. I noticed that the company proudly accepts Bitcoin, touting its crucial role in increasing access to education. Moreover, dozens of educational institutions are now accepting Bitcoin claiming that it lowers the cost of education! Consider the following statements from ventures and institutions accepting Bitcoin:

“As one of the fastest growing payment methods, Bitcoin will give more people across the world the opportunity to learn with Treehouse. Our mission is to bring affordable Technology education to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world, and we believe that Bitcoin can help us accomplish that.” – Treehouse

“The King’s College seeks to transform society by preparing students for careers in which they help to shape and eventually to lead strategic public and private institutions. Allowing Bitcoin to be used to pay for a King’s education decreases our costs while simultaneously allowing our students to be a part of this exciting new technology.” – The King’s College, NYC, US

“Digital currency will create more efficient services and will serve as a mechanism for spreading financial services to under-banked regions of the world. In this light, we consider it appropriate that we implement digital currency as a method of payment across all our institutions in all cities and countries of our operations.” – University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Treehouse reports that learners’ most often pay with credit card, which usual cost 2-3% per transaction. Furthermore, international students need not bother with fluctuating currency exchange rates. Everyone also enjoys Bitcoin’s minimal transaction fees. Although Bitcoin currently has a high buy-in, the popularity of other cryptocurrencies is also rising.

Here are three questions to consider about the developing future role of cryptocurrencies in the marketplace of education:

1.Is it inevitable that ventures in education technology will accept cryptocurrency as a standard method of payment?
2.Are cryptocurrencies a reliable source of funds for small start-ups like Treehouse?
3.Most importantly, are ventures and institutions accepting cryptocurrency truly empowering learners?



Get Your Education On: Treehouse Now Accepts Bitcoin For Coding Courses

Tech Education Startup Treehouse Looks to Bitcoin Payments for International Advantage

Eva's Café

Northern Ontario: My Local

I am not sure about you, but I know for myself it has been interesting watching my friends being their own ventures and forays into business…. and in Northern Ontario that is a big challenge (isolation, low populations, and sometimes a little bit slower to adopt new tech). I wanted to share with you, in case any of you are from the area, some of the new ventures that I have been connected with that involve media, the community and education on some level that have been formed at a grassroots level by local artists and entrepreneurs.

Near North Mobile Media Lab – I have utilized the N2M2L to take workshops and private lessons in using Final Cut Pro, incorporating video and digital images into projects. They have a mobile trailer that has been customized to include a media lab, they drive around to Northern communities and do workshops to teach people how to use these tools.


Thinking Rock Community Arts – this project was initiated by a dear friend of mine in the Algoma Region (Sault Ste. Marie) and has really taken off in the last year. Through art projects this organization seeks to build community and foster positive change (ie. various youth programs etc).


These initiatives are so interesting because they use media to build like-minded communities, to share information with other communities, create networks and links between communities and overall improve accessibility to information, technology and positive change. I just thought these ventures might spark something in you to look a bit closer at your own community, or greater community because usually there are some hidden gems there!

Eva's Café

Interesting Article: Ed Tech Investment Bubble

I came across an interesting article in Fortune from February that argues that there is a bubble in terms of educational technoloyg investments. The article states that:

Schools are slow to adopt new technology because they have to be: Their procurement processes are inflexible and complicated, involving contracts, RFPs, lawyers, review cycles, approvals, and compliances. This makes it difficult for small startups to sell their products into schools. The procurement cycle alone lasts long enough for a startup to run out of money.

The article also links to another article that discusses the challenges of finding who the audience is for your product. As we have discussed in the course, the user is often not the same person who makes the purchasing decisions. Anyhow, it is good to see that these topics are being explored in a wider discourse.

What articles and issues related to the venture side of educational technology have others come across?

Eva's Café

Cisco Canada invests $150M in new tech start-up initiative


Cisco Systems Canada Co. together with federal finance minister Joe Oliver, today announced a strategy that will see the company invest $150 million to “support and accelerate innovation in Canada.”

Cisco says it plans to invest across a mix of technologies, businesses, and investment stages over the next 10 years, and will actively engage with investment partners and start-ups to mentor and develop new leaders and innovators.

Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada, said the country produces some of the top engineering and management talent in the world and is home to dynamic industries that are ripe for business transformation.

The Cisco Canada Innovation Program will focus on three key areas:

* Direct Technology Sector Investment, which will investigate opportunities in areas such as cloud infrastructure, digital media, big data/analytics/information management, intelligent infrastructure and mobility.

* Venture Capital

* Working with Incubators

“Innovation and investment are the key drivers of the Canadian economy, leading to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Oliver.

Source: http://www.connectionsplus.ca/cabling/cisco-invests-150-million-new-tech-start-initiative/1002855238/?utm_source=CS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CS-EN06202014&e=x8yvs03Mk8ozvo82Wwvstp4rqM20

It is nice to hear so good news about the big players supporting Canadian tech start-ups.



Eva's Café, Question and Answer

Article: Creation of Useful Value Propositions

The article below is geared towards e-commerce specifically and perhaps doesn’t really fit our application needs, however I still found it useful (particularly in differentiating what a value proposition is and isn’t). While I might structure my value propositions much differently in the upcoming A3, there were perhaps some good points in terms of presentation with regard to clarity, brevity,  jargon/hype etc.?

Perhaps David & David might have some helpful tips to add on to this?



It occurred to me that there aren’t many resources here to help us understand the different facets of the assignments. Rather than each of us doing individual research that doesn’t enrich the community, how about we resource pool here?

Maybe we could have a new forum for sharing/pooling resources (+discussion) to help us better understand and complete the assignments? There’s a lot of conflicting “advice” on the internet regarding what makes a “good” or “bad” pitch/venture/value proposition; perhaps vetting, discussing and rating these as a group might be enlightening?

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Article: Building Compelling Value Proposition

I just stumbled upon an interesting article on Forbes.com about building a compelling value proposition. It has a chart about how to best position value propositions in relation to being blatant vs latent or aspirational vs critical. I thought it might be a useful consideration for our upcoming A3 Venture pitch assignment.



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Summer PD with MOOCs to consider


Even though, we are quite familiar with MOOCs, you may check out The New York Times video below, which explains the ins and outs of this interesting educational concept.


Upcoming MOOCs to Consider

Below are links to some MOOCs from the most popular MOOCs providers:

  • Coursera (7): This portal, which was started by two former Stanford University professors, might have the most promise for educators. Most courses are free to participate in. Check out the Teachers’ Professional Development (8) and Education (9) collections for the best teacher-specific courses.
  • Udemy Courses for Educators (10): Udemy courses are designed and taught by experts in their respective fields. Currently, Udemy’s education section has some fun and useful courses for educators, many of which are free, including “Google Earth for Educators” and “Apps in the Classroom.” (Both are free.)
  • Udacity (11), another excellent source for expert-taught courses.
  • edX MOOCs (12): A joint project of Harvard and MIT, edX offers courses from a number of top universities, including UC Berkeley and University of Texas. In addition to education-specific courses (13), edX features tons of interesting math, science and IT courses as well, along with many other topics.
  • Class Central (14): Launched in 2011, Class Central is a MOOC aggregator, and it’s the perfect search engine for finding the online course that’s right for you.
  • Canvas Network (15) and NovoED (16) from Stanford University are also worth considering.

Read more here: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/summer-pd-moocs-matt-davis



Eva's Café

Wi-Fi leading charge for smartglasses

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, wireless technologies will play a pivotal role in the emerging wearable devices market. In 2015 Smartglass shipments will see Wi-Fi penetration of 79%. Devices from major brands such as Google and Samsung will be key to driving wearables growth for the next five years.

Matt Wilkins, director at Strategy Analytics, said, “for the Smartglasses user, Wi-Fi is a key enabler, allowing the user to upload HD video (recorded on the device) to video sharing services. As a result we forecast global Wi-Fi-enabled smartglasses penetration of 79% in 2015, at 4 million units up from 1.2 million in 2014. While Google is a driving force in Smartglasses today, we have to think Samsung and Apple are also eyeing the segment and will be potential long-term rivals.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “wireless technology is enabling owners of wearable devices, such as Smartglasses, to both share created content as well as consume content.”

Read more at www.strategyanalytics.com.



Eva's Café

Eva’s Cafe: Innovative Value Propositions, Clashes & Fun exercises?

I had a unorthodox thought about “unique” value propositions I thought I’d share:

In my undergrad before pitching/critiquing new ideas for product design, we were taught an exercise to sum up the uniqueness or edge of existing designs in one or two sentences. We had to do so while imagining that we were pitching it to a stranger who knew nothing about the product. What is the promise/essence it has over something else?  Sometimes, we’d go around in a circle as a group helping each other to refine the idea or definition until it was keen and sharp, then moved on to our own ideas. This helped distill these to see if they were really unique.

Oddly, the most innovative or disruptive ideas often “clashed” with the way two concepts are integrated or with how something is or used to be done. We were told to look for and create clashes because they catch attention, go against the grain, and generate interest/curiosity (particularly amongst those who long for change). This is not always a successful strategy, but in an entrepreneurial sense a really fun and creative angle to play with. Sometimes the clashes created by mixing/splicing contentious issues make powerful solutions?

I see Anne’s post about Edmodo as a great example of this: splicing social media with learning. After all, “social media is a distraction for students isn’t it? It’s entertainment which goes against “serious” education efforts doesn’t it? Well now, it’s all in how you apply technology isn’t it? Maybe social media can be used for good, let’s build something on that!” ; )

Clashes: serious vs social/ education vs entertainment/

Chris’s example of Codeacademy also illustrates this type of clash. “Coding is for adult/professionals and computer science majors isn’t it? Wait, what? It can be made accessible to everyone? Let’s build that!” (Incidentally, this is also how I see littleBits).

Clashes: open vs closed/ free vs paid/ expert vs novice/ elite vs commonplace/ training vs DIY


Anyway, I thought it might be fun to start a “clash-radio” conversation here. If anyone has any cool examples please post them! Rock on! lol : )

Eva's Café

Canada 2020′s new policy paper

Canada’s performance in higher education and skills development has been fairly strong for many years. On key measures we are at or near the top of international rankings and our highly skilled people contribute to economic competitiveness, social innovation, and political and community well-being.

But there are troubling indications that Canada’s skills and education performance is deteriorating, that not enough is being done to address a range of economic and social problems, and that opportunities and benefits have been poorly distributed across regions and groups. In short, there are signs that we are not doing enough to achieve the high levels of skills excellence and equity we need. Action is needed to sustain and enhance the performance of higher education and skills development in Canada.

In this paper, Dan Munro explores two central needs to Canada’s skills problem: excellence, and equity.

Excellence means asking the question: is Canada producing graduates with the right skills to sustain and enhance the country’s economic competitiveness and social well-being?

And Equity means asking: Are some regions and groups being left behind?

Download the first paper in Canada 2020′s new policy paper series below:



Eva's Café


I saw this pitch and thought I’d put it in the pool.


Company: Singspiel

Team: Arian Rahbari, Ivan Cheung

Industry: Education technology, music, learning software

Founded: 2012

Elevator pitch: Singspiel is music education software that makes regular music practice more effective by leveraging mobile technology to provide coherent feedback to students.

Vision: Organize the world’s forthcoming products to make them more accessible while quantifying the world’s level of anticipation for them.


Singspiel Website

Company Overview – Finances, Team


Eva's Café

Week 4 article links

Hi there,

While trying to access Week 4 readings, I ran into some snags. Thought I’d share a more direct way of accessing the UBC library journal articles here. You’d be prompted to authenticate using your UBC login.


Ghemawat, P. (2007). Managing differences: The central challenge of global strategy. Harvard Business Review, 85(3), 58-68. 

>> UBC Library Link

You will see a message that says “limited access”: Screen Shot 1

To get to the PDF full text, click on Find Similar Results on the left:Screen Shot 2

Elberse, A. (2008). Should you invest in the long tail? Harvard Business Review, 86(7/8), 88-96. 

>> UBC Library Link

De Coster, R & Butler, C. (2005). Assessment of proposals for new technology ventures in the UK: Characteristics of university spin-off companies. Technovation 25(5), 535-543. 

>> UBC Library Link

Eva's Café

Google Classroom – Free LMS as Part of Apps for Education

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education. Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. And it lets students organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.

Classroom helps teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. When teachers create assignments, they can choose to share a single document, or automatically make a copy for each student. They can quickly see who has or hasn’t completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback.

Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what’s due on their Assignments page, so they can stay on top of their work.

Classroom also lets teachers make announcements and pose questions—improving communication inside and outside of class.

Classroom was designed hand-in-hand with teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.

Here are some of the most important benefits:

Easy to set up

Teachers can add students directly or share a code with their class to join. It takes just minutes to set up.

Saves time

The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to create, review, and grade assignments quickly, all in one place.

Improves organization

Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.

Enhances communication

Classroom allows teachers to send announcements and questions instantly. Since students can post to the stream, they can help out their classmates.

Affordable and secure

Like the rest of our Google Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free for schools.

Teachers and professors can apply for a preview of Classroom. Based on the requests Google receives, a limited number of educators will be invited to try it.

Google is also inviting other ed tech companies to inquire about integrating their tools with Google Classroom. Google is aiming to make sure it works alongside all existing tools that teachers use.

By September, Google Classroom will be available to any school using Google Apps for Education.

Read more here: http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/05/06/google-developing-free-lms-as-part-of-apps-for-education.aspx

Eva's Café

Silicon Valley – HBO


In keeping with the spirit of the course there’s a new show on HBO called Silicon Valley. A bit rude (as only HBO can be) but very funny. The show is all about a tech start-up who seem to pivot a lot.  The scene in this week’s episode where various companies pitch their product is pretty funny.

Anyway here’s the episode guide and PiedPiper the guys website. Who knows you might find something there for your pitch 🙂

“But it is safe to say, we intend to deploy an integrated, multi-platform functionality of all conceivable applications of the algorithm, that we hope will make the world a better place through compression services across diversified market segments.”

Eva's Café

Emerging Mobile Technologies drive learning and overall growth


Wireless and emerging mobile technologies are one of the most dynamic and fast-growing industries on the planet, and as a result they help us communicate, entertain, do business and banking, educate ourselves, and a whole host of other things on the move. Mobile technologies are rapidly making ways into Canadians’ lives and simplifying our mode of communications, thereby enhancing productivity in the overall economy. The widespread usage of mobile technologies in Canadian society, resulted in 26 million Canadians – out of a total of 35 million – own a mobile phone today. The stats on smartphone penetration and data growth, and the rapid spread of mobile broadband networks, are gradually bringing the promise of the Internet of Things. Mobile is omnipresent and rapidly influence nearly every sector in technology: cloud, big data, enterprise software, digital media, advertising, commerce, and payments. Mobile is a complex ecosystem, consisting of unique value chains, technologies, economics, and business models, that needs certain standardization for better and faster applicability in almost all sectors of human learning, entertainment, social and business activity. That is a huge potential for providing various mobile business services and related opportunities, resulting in use for all kinds of formal/informal learning needs, driving unprecedented growth and ICT development in all sectors including digital media, eHealth, wireless technology and financial services, with strong emphasis on developing and empowering pure mobile sectors such as; cloud computing, mobile apps economy, Near Field Communication technology (NFC), Augmented Reality (AR), wearables, etc.

That unprecedented potential of mobile technologies for learning should be furthermore explored and ventured in our learning technologies quest.


Milorad Zivkovic

Eva's Café

Augmented Reality

Although many people have voted already I wanted to include Augmented Reality. This category encompasses Google Glass and also wearable technology. The idea of layering digital information over your visual environment has huge potential in education. Whether used to provide support or enhancement by layering links, video and resources on top of (inside?) posters, papers and books; creating interactive learning spaces inside and outside of the classroom or supporting a variety of student learning needs including those with autism, I think AR has the potential to help expand the walls of the school and definitely make our text heavy environments more accessible to today’s learner

AR differs from Virtual Reality (computer generated simulation that allows the used to interact with the 3-D artificial environment in seemingly real or physical ways) and QR Codes (which provide access to online resources but doesn’t layer over the users environment).

An interesting and exciting twist on AR is augmenting your video reality. TouchCast is an exciting technology that lets the user add  interactive video apps (v’apps) into their videos thus expanding and personalizing the learning experience for the learner.

To learn more hopefully you can see this UBC site a group of colleagues and I created – https://blogs.ubc.ca/augmentedreality/


Layar App

Aurasma App

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