Learning Champions

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News-Supplied-Credit-Box-Cube-Photography-52-Skills-3Stephen Robinson


A native to Edmonton, Stephen is currently pursuing a degree in psychology from the University of Alberta. In addition to his studies, Stephen has led a variety of entrepreneurial ventures and passion projects to learn from direct experience. His most recent venture, 52skillz, is a project where he commits himself to learning a new skill every week of the year, for an entire year. The goal of the project is to inspire individuals of all ages to take action in learning and developing new skills in an entertaining and humour filled way.

fiona and luciaFiona Cavanagh

Executive Director of the Centre for Public Involvement, Adult Educator, researcher, proud parent of a 12 year old, City builder and activist.

Skills I want to learn

Well-being: I will learn how to make a Happiness Jar and how to create a daily ritual in my life by writing down the happiest moment of my day and collect them to reflect on at the end of the year.

Creativity: Learning to do print making has been on my list for a long time and I am excited to dedicate some time to making art.

For my City: I want to learn about permaculture and urban agriculture in Edmonton so that I can apply ideas at home, and collect stories about the work being done in our City.

Why I am a learning champion: I have been a passionate non- formal educator for many decades and strongly believe that we all have so many things to learn and teach. I think the idea behind this project is simple but will make a profound contribution to city building and fostering a truly engaged, connected community.

Best thing I ever learned: One of the best things I have ever learned and continue to learn is Spanish as it has opened so many new worlds and possibilities.

Best thing I ever taught: The best thing I have taught is global education and citizenship to high school students. I supported them to think about their world, issues they were passionate about and how to take action. I continue to do this now with my 12 year old daughter, challenging her to think critically and contribute to her community.

One cool thing people may not know about you: I have lived and worked in 7 countries in Central and South America and I used to teach figure skating in the northern Alberta town I grew up in.

Mack D. MaleMack Male

I am a proud geek in that I love to “geek out” about things I’m interested in. I have always been interested in technology and now I work in software where I get to geek out about programming every day. I totally geek out about Edmonton and love to write about it on my urban affairs blog and in my other social media endeavors. I’m a bit of a foodie and have been known to geek out about good eats, which led to my co-creation of the What the Truck?! food truck festival here in Edmonton.

Why I wanted to be a Learning Champion

I love learning new things and I think it’s important to practice the skill of learning – I try to do it every day. I find it rewarding to open my mind to new possibilities and the good thing about learning is that once you start, you quickly realize how much more there is to learn! I wanted to be a Learning Champion to help encourage others in Edmonton to practice the skill of learning. We have excellent resources available to us in person and online and as a result I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be interested in learning. I hope to help highlight some of those resources and push them to be even better.

britlBrittney Le Blanc

An enthusiastic Edmontonian who is fond of giving tours of the city in the summertime to local art and landmarks - yes, including spinning the baseball bat - and of dragging friends to winter festivals and activities. By day, she’s a Social Marketing Strategist for AMA Travel. When not working she keeps busy at events around town, challenging herself and encouraging project makers as a board member for Make Something Edmonton. At night, you’ll find her searching for the perfect eBook/Audiobook from the Edmonton Public Library and constantly running out of recommendations for new content to add. A geek at heart, she loves trying new things and learning new skills, and is constantly in search of new adventure and delicious foods. You can usually find her as @britl on Twitter and Instagram.

Skills I'd like to learn: I’m still suffering from a paradox of choice - working on something interesting for February and in March I hope to learn how to run a game of Dungeons and Dragons for the first time.

Why I’m a learning Champion: I love learning - which is one of the reasons I’m constantly doing it! I love trying new experiences or learning new things and then sharing them with others. Whether it’s getting your hands dirty as your friend shows you how to make biscuits in their kitchen or helping someone create an amazing project, we learn so much from each other all the time. I’m excited to share my passion for learning with others and to encourage people to learn new skills. From languages to climbing mountains to how to throw an axe - we all have something new to learn and something to share with others. So I’m not only excited for my journey - I’m excited to see what you’ll be learning as well!

The best thing I’ve learned is to always ask. Whether it’s asking a friend for help or asking (nicely) the volunteer streetcar driver to teach you to ring the floor bell - you will never learn until you ask!

The best thing I’ve taught is a love for Edmonton - Talus Dome, cold weather, giant mall and all.

 Something people might not know about me: I used to work at a little kids birthday place/indoor playground for many years. Through that, I taught myself to fix those ticketed arcade games... a skill I rarely have to call upon now.

RayannepicRayanne Doucet

Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival, published author and poet, and mother to two young men and a bulldog.

3 Skills I’d like to learn for #3SkillsYEG: I want to learn Italian! I want to learn how to build my own website! I want to learn more about our incredible river valley and river system and how to get more people to use it!

Why I’m a learning Champion: I believe that education gives us the tools to build the direction of our future. I’m a champion for young and vulnerable women and I’ve seen how knowledge can change our lives! I believe in learning diversity. I love that I’ve been able to share the power of language with people through my poetry and stories and I hope that I can do so with more young people.

The best thing I’ve learned is how books give people a new way of seeing their lives.

The best thing I’ve taught is a passion for exploring life, through both word and deed, to my children.

One cool thing about me is that I’ve just finished writing book one of a four book paranormal series.

Fern SnartFern Snart

Currently on an Administrative leave after 11 exciting years as Dean of Education at the University of Alberta; thrilled to have the opportunity to serve EPL as a new trustee on the Board;  huge fan and supporter of the arts in Edmonton; looking forward to more time with family, including one very sweet French bulldog!

3 Skills I’d like to learn for #3SkillsYEG: Committing to a fitness program at a small gym and learning some personal fitness skills, Getting a start on learning conversational French, and Finding a workshop at EPL that will be short, fun, and allow me to learn a new skill that is a real stretch for my imagination and ability.

I wanted to become a Learning Champion because it was an extremely cool title, and I hoped that working in the education area for several decades might give me an edge!  I've since learned that this is a whole new thing, with accountability for personally identifying and learning some "new things" - but so far so good!

Best thing I've learned: When you are in a meeting, a conversation, or a debate, it can sometimes take as much energy to sit quietly and listen as it does to jump in with a comment.  The energy to do the former is typically well placed and can lead to a much more thoughtful contribution in the end!

Best thing I've taught: Special Education courses at U of A.  I watched committed and caring students become equally committed and caring teachers!

One cool thing that people wouldn't know is that at one time I was the Women's Horseshoe Pitching Champion for Manitoba. I was 16 years old and my father (Canadian Champion at the time) said I could either work in the refreshment booth, or compete, hence I entered the competition.

 winstonWinston Pei

Proud dad to three amazing kids; Technology Guide and Manager of Corporate Communications for Savvia, an Edmonton-based I.T. company; volunteer with a number of local arts and culture groups; baritone in Oran, the young adult choir of the Kokopelli Choir Association.

3 Skills I’d like to learn for #3SkillsYEG:I desperately need to learn a better way to stay on top of my to do lists, I’m going to learn how e-waste gets recycled, and I’m hoping to join the circus (I’ll skip the running away part for now).

Why I’m a Learning Champion: As a kid, I watched my mom devote enthusiasm and energy to earning her education degree, then use that degree to help found the Mandarin Bilingual program for the Edmonton Public School Board. Meanwhile my dad, the very embodiment of the gentleman scholar, instilled in me a passionate love of books and music, and a curiosity for absolutely everything. They already raised me as a learning champion… only now I get to capitalize the title!

The best thing I ever learned was how little I really know, and how much more there is to discover.

The best thing I ever taught was the ability to open portals through time and space and universes… teaching my kids to read!

One cool thing that people may not know about me is that I was the founding bass trombone player for the Yardbird Suite’s Little Birds Big Band.

miranda jimmyMiranda Jimmy

Cree from Thunderchild First Nation, Program Manager at the Edmonton Heritage Council, and Co-Founder of RISE - Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton

Things I'd like to learn for #3SkillsYEG:

I want to learn to roller skate.

I want to learn more about Edmonton's Indigenous history.

I want to learn more about blogging and sharing my perspective with the world.

Why I’m a learning Champion: I believe learning is a life-long commitment each of us have to make. We need to take advantage of the knowledge that surrounds us in the people we meet and the experiences we have each day. We need to challenge ourselves to stretch our boundaries by trying new things and continually growing and developing our skills.

The best thing I’ve learned is traditional teachings from Elders.

The best thing I’ve taught is an adult to read.

One cool thing about myself is that I love to sing karaoke.

Sherrill JohnsonSherrill Johnson

Learner. Enthusiast. Volunteer.  Wife, mother, friend. Project Manager. Knowledge Translator.

3 skills I am learning:

1) basic yoga (very basic yoga!)

2) how to build a web page

3) to be determined….depending on how #1 and #2 go.

Why I am a learning champion: I am lifelong learner.  I have a wide variety of interests, and have always been more of a generalist than a specialist.  Being a learning champion gives me an opportunity to meet others who share this love of learning, and gives me an excuse to talk endlessly about learning new things with friends and colleagues.  EPL has so many great resources for learning - books, videos, on-line courses - and I’m excited to share information about these as well.

Best thing I have ever learned: Active listening skills, as part of some broader training in mediation and conflict resolution.  I use these skill almost every day, and the days I don’t use them are the days I realize I really should have….

Best thing I have ever taught: Critical thinking skills to early-stage university students.  It was amazing to see young adults start to re-evaluate the world around them.

One cool thing other people may not know: In spite of my love of learning, I am a kindergarten drop-out.

Evelyn-webEvelyn Delgado

Evelyn is an exhibit developer creating and developing exhibits, experiences and programs for young children. She is passionate about Play: every line on the sidewalk - a tightrope, every railing - a musical instrument.  Evelyn is currently working on the new museum project bringing to life Edmonton’s first Children’s Museum, through her work there she has connected with many learning organizations in the city and is looking forward to continuing this for the City of Learners initiative! A lifelong learner herself, she is currently studying circus arts, sound visualization, French and all about 1920s pre-code Hollywood.

For #3SkillsYEG Evelyn wants to learn how to knit, how to start a fire, and how to garden!