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New generation of changemakers take top prizes at Sheridan’s Open Innovation Challenge

Jun 22, 2021

An initiative that combines Indigenous and scientific knowledge to address issues of climate change, a mobile skilled trades classroom, a virtual campus that makes postsecondary education easier to access, and a new ecosystem of learning were among the projects recognized at the Reimagine Pitch Event – the finale of Sheridan’s Open Innovation Challenge.

Over the past seven months, teams across Canada have been developing ideas for reimagining learning and education as part of Sheridan’s Open Innovation Challenge. Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and employing a human-centred design approach, individuals and teams were called on to contribute ideas via a range of mediums, grounded in the question: How might we collaborate within our communities to reimagine learning and education so that no one is left behind and all youth and adults can realize their full potential? 

Across the three stages of the challenge, 205 participants created 95 teams and completed 45 projects. These were then narrowed down to ten finalists, who pitched their innovative ideas for making learning and education more accessible to a team of judges at a fast-paced, dynamic virtual event. Six awards were given out, totaling more than $50,000 in cash prizes.

The full list of winners is below. 

Four Judges Choice Awards

 

  • Beading a New World: This Saskatchewan-based team aims to establish Indigenous communities as equal treaty partners in Canada's decolonial transition to a low-carbon future and sustainable society and inspire a new generation of climate leaders. Learn more about Beading a New World.
  • Educ8all: The TRADES Program will use a blended program of online learning and mobile trades labs to bring skilled trades to high schools and remote locations in preparation for post-secondary education. The five-person team features several Sheridan faculty members. Learn more about Educ8all.
  • ReImagine 17: This student-led non-profit focuses on amplifying student action for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at post-secondary institutions across Canada. Featuring team members from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, the initiative seeks to ReImagine 17 SDGs with the Sustainable Development Alliance Model all across Canada. Learn more about Reimagine 17.
  • Saved by NO Bell: Featuring a team of Sheridan faculty members, this project encourages post-secondary institutions to break away from traditional delivery models and scheduled class time (bells) to bring education to people, rather than people to education. Learn more about Saved by NO Bell.

One Audience Choice Award

 

  • Futurists: LIFT is a collaborative needs-based framework, that actively reaches out to prospective students experiencing barriers to quality education. They hope to initially focus on women who have a low-income capacity such as single mothers, women with disabilities, visible minorities and First Nations women.  Learn more about Futurists.


Bonus Prize (given to a team of Sheridan students)

 

  • The Ecosystem: This proposal for a new Ecosystem of Learning is designed to engage the intrinsic motivation of learners, flatten inequities, and unravel the hidden potential of learners of all ages and ethnicities. Learn more about The Ecosystem.

 

Screencaps of participating teams on Zoom


“The past year has shown that the education sector is not immune to deep-seated, systemic inequalities that make it far too difficult for many members of our community to access post-secondary education,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice-Chancellor at Sheridan. “I’m inspired by the initiatives our finalist teams brought forward. They’re truly representative of the kinds of solutions we need to help unlock the power of education for everyone, and I’m excited to see how these ideas will be put into action.” 

The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of judges that included Sandi Trillo, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives for United Way of Greater Toronto, acclaimed documentary filmmaker and Sheridan alumna Chanda Chevannes, and Community Investment Supervisor for the Region of Peel, Erica Opoku. The event was hosted by former radio DJ Charles Matthews. 

The event was generously supported by lead sponsor TD Insurance, as well as The Personal Insurance Company, Merit Security and Cyber Air Systems Inc. It was hosted on the internationally recognized platform, Agorize. 


Pictured above: representatives from each of the participating teams in the Open Innovation Challenge finale with event host, Charles Matthews Jr. 

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