Link Deck #8: Innovation in Education

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As many kids head back to school this week, we thought we’d take a look at some innovative approaches to education from around the world.  Whether it be designing a new school system or encouraging healthy eating habits – passion, creativity and technology are key.

In Australia

On environment and sustainability…

As we continue to face serious environmental challenges, the classroom seems like the perfect place to engage children in the management of their local environments so that they can begin to understand the bigger sustainability picture.

For example, since it began in 2003, thousands of students, teachers and local Queensland communities have participated in the Reef Guardian Schools program. The program creates awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Reef and its connected ecosystems, empowering and encouraging students to care for their incredible marine environment through a range of activities. We are especially proud of this program as our Director, Kate Bowmaker, worked hard to help develop it!

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Australia and the UK both have sustainable school programs that engage students in managing their school’s resources and facilities including energy, waste, water, biodiversity, landscape design, products and materials. These programs also address social and financial issues. Continue reading

Insights from the #StartingGood Digital Summit

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Back in October we attended the StartingGood Digital Summit, hosted by the team of crowdfunding experts at StartSomeGood. The summit was one of the events forming part of the Changemakers Festival – a series of social change-focused events around Australia in that particular week.

At The Social Deck we work as a very distributed team (Canberra, Brisbane Orange and Byron Bay at last check in to our virtual office!), and it was a great opportunity for us to attend a conference ‘together’, while gaining insights into some of the emerging ideas, tools, tactics and techniques for creating social change from some of the leading thinkers in the space.

Although unfortunately we weren’t available to listen to every one of the talks, we thought we’d share a few quality snippets of some of the sessions we ‘attended’.

The Journey of a Social Entrepreneur

The Summit kicked off with a session by Roshan Paul, co-founder of the Amani Institute, a global Higher Education social enterprise that helps change-makers develop knowledge and equips them with the practical skills they need to solve social challenges. He highlighted the need for social entrepreneurs to “train intensely for a career in impact – the way a doctor or Olympic athlete would”, and to immerse themselves in practical experiences to gain the best understanding about how to solve social problems across national boundaries”.

He wrapped up his session with two important lessons from his own experiences co-founding a social enterprise:

1. “Find a co-founder – somebody you can trust and who can equally invest time and money”, and

2. “Start something if you can’t live with not starting it, or join somebody else if you can.”

Social Media – big wins for small organisations

In the second session, Amy Ward, CEO of Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and Stacey Monk, founder of the social innovation lab, Epic Change, highlighted their personal experiences for creating successful social movements through social media.

Step one is to develop a strong social media strategy. Amy highlighted that: “money is not necessarily the most effective on social media, but time, energy and a good strategy are critical.”

A key theme that emerged was the importance of creating and building trust with your online community. As Amy said: “Those organisations that put their communities first are the most successful on social media. The first step is to find your friends and ask them to come with you. Don’t create new platforms and wait for them to come. They won’t”.

Another theme was that you don’t always have to be the one to instigate or create a new idea – look to what others are saying as well: “Look for what’s trending. What moves you? Share this with your community and start a discussion with what others have created.”

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