1. The “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special continues with part 2: Season’s Eatings!

    Every year, baked goods and particularly gingerbread are prominent in higher ed holiday greeting videos. Often, we see students baking together, such as in a best-in-class vid from Wellesley College last year. More often than not, the bakers are joined by the school mascot, like Azul the Eagle at Florida Gulf Coast University. At Laurentian University, interim president Pierre Zundel made the rounds, spreading holiday cheer and deliciously empty calories around the campus library. At Cape Breton University, the cookies were a family recipe of mascot “the Caper”. At James Madison University, in Harrisburg Virginia, Duke the Dog likes to bake solo – but as a result, the cookies were shaped like dog treats!

    Decorating gingerbread cookies is an event in and of itself. At William Paterson University, in New Jersey, president Helldobler hosted a cookie decorating party at his home. Stanford University included a life-sized gingerbread house in their holiday video – with decorations that looked good enough to eat! At Utah’s Dixie State University, president Biff Williams and his family get into a food fight while baking holiday cookies.

    Gingerbread often sparks some friendly competition. At Boston University, students from Engineering and Fine Arts were pitted against each other to build the perfect gingerbread house, in an amusing best-in-class video. At the University of the Fraser Valley, culinary arts, indigenous visual art, and engineering push technology even further, creating an award-winning gingerbread house using a laser cutter. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee shared some amusing examples of gingerbread construction fails in another best-in-class video. Several holiday videos included campfire singalongs, like those from Algoma University or Trent University, toasting marshmallows or even making s’mores – like at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

    Quite a few institutions released recipe-style baking videos, including “high altitude baking tips” from Colorado State University, and a 350-year-old meat pie recipe from Loughborough University. More metaphorically, the University of Waterloo Faculty of the Environment shared their own secrets for success.

    Gathering to share a holiday meal is a powerful ritual, explored in videos from Colorado College, Tarleton State University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the University of Windsor. But perhaps the most moving holiday video depicting a campus meal came from the University of Aberdeen. It depicted a student, away from loved ones, baking tarts to contribute to a holiday feast on campus with her friends. The warmth of the group shines through the cold winter night, as they stroll through the Aberdeen campus, and join the tree-lighting ceremony. Definitely a best in class, this was one of the overall best higher ed holiday videos last year.

    This episode contains clips from more than 500 higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B

    And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk

    If you want to add one, please use this special link: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg

    Ten with Ken will be back in a few more days with part 3 of our Holiday Special, “When the Fur Flies” - featuring parodies of classic films and Christmas carols, multiple mascots, and plenty of wagging puppy dog tails. To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

    Meanwhile, if you missed part 1, “Mid-Winter Magic,” you can catch it at youtu.be/NGWq5-4xWl0

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  2. This year’s “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special starts with part 1: Midwinter Magic!

    In last year’s higher ed holiday videos, campus marketers were clearly anxious about doing a good job, such as at the Bryan School of Business & Economics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Upper Iowa University, Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University, and Newcastle & Stafford College Group. Some campus leaders invite lots of input, such as at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. But president Ryan of the University of Virginia took matters into his own hands, in the best-in-class “presidential message” video.
    As always, hundreds of videos were just animated greeting cards, but some stood out from UBC Okanagan, Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The best-in-class “miniature campus” video came from New York’s Barnard College. We saw tree-trimming or tree-lighting ceremonies at Sweet Briar College, Mount Saint Vincent University, King’s University College, and DePaul University. Meadow Brook Hall at Oakland University was decked with all the trimmings, while Elon University released an hour-long “yule log” video (without a fireplace).
    Many campuses are beautiful in winter, and snow sports featured in videos from Bishop’s University, McGill University, Western Carolina University, and Trent University. At the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management staged ice sculpting. But in the southern hemisphere, the holidays fall at the height of summer – so Santa visits the University of Western Australia wearing shorts and sandals!
    One new trend in last year’s videos was giant snowglobes on campuses, including Grand Valley State University in Michigan the University of Leicester in England, and the University of La Verne.
    Although it started two years back, the use of robots in holiday videos really accelerated last year. Some good examples came from the University of South Florida, the UCLA Robotics & Mechanisms Lab, Germany’s Forschungszentrum Informatic research centre, and perhaps even the Western University Archives.
    Eschewing tradition, the Chancellor of Purdue University Indianapolis was sent on a scavenger hunt, while at Oklahoma State University, president Burns Hargis and his wife took on whitewater rafting. Chancellor Susan Koch of the University of Illinois Springfield became a cartoon and went snowboarding with the provost, while president Feridun Hamdullahpur of the University of Waterloo was turned into claymation in the best-in-class “animated president” video.
    Animated presidents were just a new twist on the longstanding tradition of amusing videos from animation students, and last year we saw good examples from Sheridan College, Centennial College, and Emily Carr University of Art & Design. The best-in-class “animated greeting” video came from Scotland’s University of Stirling.

    This episode contains clips from about 60 of the 500+ higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B
    And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk
    If you want to add one, please use this special link: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg

    Ten with Ken will be back in a couple of days with part 2 of our Holiday Special, “Season’s Eatings” - featuring gingerbread, baking, smores, campus feasts and more. To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

    Meanwhile, you can watch last year’s Holiday Countdown at youtu.be/g1KhnHCqMqw

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  3. So-called “maker spaces” are proliferating in campus libraries, but truly effective ones require much more than a 3D printer and some shiny new toys. This week, Ken Steele chats with Kerry Harmer, the Maker Studio Specialist at Mount Royal University, about the potential connections between academic makerspaces and undergraduate curriculum and pedagogy. Makerspaces are creative spaces for thinking differently, Kerry explains, “a place for students to make a mess, to be creative, and a safe environment to get things wrong.”

    MRU’s Maker Studio is a bright, glass-walled space on the main floor of the Riddell Library & Learning Centre. (If you missed our episode on MRU’s new $110 million library, check it out: youtu.be/eSM-wyyxXVs ). The Maker Studio has 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters, 7 kinds of sewing machines, and a full suite of electronics and robotics from Little Bits to ADA Fruit, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and more. (For an inventory of equipment and software see library.mtroyal.ca/teaching/makerstudio/resources ).

    Mount Royal’s Maker Studio is “completely barrier-free,” open to students, faculty, staff and the external community in Calgary, free of charge. Because material costs can cause users to second-guess themselves, all materials for 3D printing are offered completely free as part of the pilot year, to help build digital literacies and see how the technology gets used.

    So why do Makerspaces so often wind up in campus libraries? Meagan Bowler, Dean of Libraries at MRU, explains that “a library collection is not just a collection of books. It can be a collection of software, of tools. It aligns with our mission to collect the things our users need to create new knowledge and get it out there into the world.” Moreover, Kerry Harmer emphasizes that locating new technologies centrally on a campus removes barriers, inspires interdisciplinary collaboration, and democratizes the technology. “There’s a real kind of magic and synergy, peer learning and self-directed learning” when students from across the university work beside each other in the space.

    A big part of Kerry’s job is working with faculty across many disciplines to develop unexpected curriculum connections for their students and class projects. Science and technology faculty and students actually seem to be using the Maker Studio less than students in the Arts and elsewhere. So far, more than 24 courses from all faculties have done coursework in the Maker Studio, from Math, Child Studies, and Interior Design, to Social Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship classes. Makerspaces are increasingly part of the learning commons in primary and secondary schools, so it’s really important that MRU’s pre-service elementary school teachers get familiar with the technologies that will be in the K-12 curriculum they will teach. In addition to working one-on-one with faculty across the university, Kerry is developing a full-day faculty workshop to expose them to the design thinking process, and the resources of the Maker Studio. Then faculty can better consider how to incorporate making experiences into their curricula, and how to assess the learning that lies behind student creations.

    Maker spaces are about much more than 3D printers, which “can only output as good as you put in.” The key, Kerry explains, is to understand that the learning in a makerspace “is not necessarily about the making; sometimes it’s about the thinking,” from problem definition and human-centred design to design thinking. The ideation process is similar, for a 3D print or a traditional essay: “The tools are just the output for the thinking that happens in the Maker Studio, which is creative, which is innovative… it’s about making change.”

    Special thanks to Mount Royal University for hosting our visit and providing the videographers for this episode.

    Next time, we’ll return to MRU to explore the 360° VR Immersion Studio in more depth. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

    And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

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  4. For decades, college and university libraries have been continuously renovating their space and replacing technology. But what would a 21st-century library look like if you could build it from scratch, with a $100 million budget? Two years ago, Calgary’s Mount Royal University got the chance to do just that! This week, Ken Steele talks with MRU Provost Lesley Brown and Dean of Libraries Meagan Bowler about the Riddell Library & Learning Centre.

    When it was announced that Mount Royal College would gain university status, the existing library was “woefully inadequate.” “We knew that we would have to build our collections, expand our services, and the information environment was changing in a rapid way,” Meagan explains.

    The new $110 million facility opened in 2017 as the new centerpiece of the campus, and also houses MRU’s Department of Education, Student Learning Services, the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the Academic Development Centre for faculty. The furnishings, architecture and zoning are designed to be progressively quieter from floor 1 through 4, and student spaces range from purely introverted study carrels and cozy benches for two, through lounge spaces and walking desks. But the 34 collaboration rooms have been the biggest hit, constantly booked up by students.

    The MRU Library is a testament to active learning and emerging technologies. “We knew that students weren’t just consuming information,” Meagan explains. “They needed space and technology to engage with it, to mobilize it, to create it, to hack it up, to change it and to share it with other people.” The main floor “Ideas Lounge,” and a similar classroom, feature massive 6x3 screen touch-enabled visualization walls that allow groups to engage with multiple inputs simultaneously. The building also includes a VR Experience Lab, audio recording suites, and media production studios. In particular, we’ll focus on the 360-degree “Immersion Studio” and the “Maker Studio” in upcoming episodes.

    The campus library is the “heart” of the university, explains Lesley, but also an “interstitial space” for exploring teaching practices, accessing and engaging with new information and technologies. MRU centralized these facilities to make them available across faculties and departments, and for interdisciplinary work. But an effective library needs more than space and resources, emphasizes Meagan: it also needs the expertise of talented librarians. “It’s a jungle out there in information-land,” she jests.

    Special thanks to Mount Royal University for hosting our visit and providing the videographers for this episode.

    In upcoming episodes, we’ll return to MRU to explore the Maker Studio and Immersion Studio in more depth. To be sure you don’t miss them, take a moment to subscribe at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

    And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

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  5. Children are natural born scientists, with an insatiable curiosity and desire to experiment – but studies have demonstrated that somehow, through years of formal education, most teenagers lose their enthusiasm for science. By the time they are applying to college, less than a quarter say they remain very interested in science, which they consider “complicated” and “difficult” rather than “fun” or “inspiring.” (See the findings of the CFI’s “Canadian Youth Science Monitor” at innovation.ca/sites/default/files/news_items/Jun-7-2010-ipsos.pdf ).

    This week, Ken chats with Bonnie Schmidt, founder and president of Let’s Talk Science, about the importance of keeping young people engaged in STEM fields, and some recommendations for science teaching at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. She emphasizes that “what’s happening at K-12 is actually THE most important economic driver for this country.”

    Since 1991, Let’s Talk Science has mobilized more than 26,000 college and university students to bring experiential, hands-on STEM activities to some 5 million elementary and secondary school students. LTS provides web tools, governance, resources, guidance and support for the student teams at no charge. “We love bringing science to life!” (For more information, check out letstalkscience.ca )

    LTS has been leading Canada2067, an ambitious initiative examining international trends in STEM education, and mapping future directions for the next 50 years. (Check out their resources at canada2067.ca ) Canada2067 brought together Grade 9/10 students, millennials, parents, teachers, industry and non-profit organization leaders, and policy makers across the country, and there was considerable agreement on some general principles, including:

    RELEVANT: To keep students of any age engaged with course content, it has to be clearly relevant to their daily lives.

    EXPERIENTIAL: Hands-on, group activities have been a key component of the Let’s Talk Science program for decades. (We explored the importance of experiential learning in this episode: youtu.be/DU1gRLZeEIo ).

    INTERDISCIPLINARY: Bonnie emphasizes that the best way to create relevance for students is to move towards “an interdisciplinary, issues-based” approach to teaching, addressing big global challenges from multiple perspectives. In Saskatchewan, for example, there are some interesting experiments in multidisciplinary senior-level science courses. But colleges and universities will need to accept those interdisciplinary credits, and higher ed instructors need to revisit the tradition of “teaching how we were taught.”

    TEACHER PD: “We’re not investing enough in our teachers,” Bonnie laments, at any level of education. Teachers need resources, training, and time to develop lessons and share best practices.

    PARENTS: “Parents are the #1 influencer of the students taking optional credits at high school,” and it’s crucial that parents urge their children to persist in STEM subjects even when they are challenging, to keep higher ed doors open. Parents also need to keep an open mind about non-traditional teaching approaches, such as experiential or inquiry-based learning.

    “The world is undergoing such transformation right now,” Bonnie says, that we need to reconsider how we teach STEM in primary, secondary, and tertiary classrooms. Memorization is a far less important part of learning. We need accelerated ways to upskill and reskill displaced workers, and more pathways between universities and colleges. “We’re all recognizing that change is needed,” Bonnie says. “I have never actually seen the stars align with a desire to change in education at all levels that I’ve seen in Canada over the last 5 years.”

    Bonnie Schmidt holds a PhD in Physiology from Western University, was identified as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has chaired numerous national science education committees and task forces, and served on the board of governors of Ontario Tech University and the board of directors of the Ontario Genomics Institute.

    Special thanks to Let’s Talk Science, who hosted Ken as keynote at the Digital Literacy Summit in Toronto in late January 2018, and provided the videographers for this interview.

    Next time, 10K travels to Mount Royal University in Calgary, to check out the latest in makerspaces and immersive VR at the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

    And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

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Ten with Ken

Ken Steele Plus

Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and an in-demand campus and keynote speaker. He co-founded Academica Group in 2004, created Canada's leading higher ed news daily, co-authored Canada's first book on Strategic Enrolment…


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Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and an in-demand campus and keynote speaker. He co-founded Academica Group in 2004, created Canada's leading higher ed news daily, co-authored Canada's first book on Strategic Enrolment Intelligence. He facilitates retreats and workshops, consults on institutional brand strategy, recruitment marketing, student services and strategic planning. This channel features his almost-weekly podcast, "Ten with Ken."

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