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Year in Review

TakingITGlobal Year in Review

As TakingITGlobal member, we thank you for being part of our journey and believing in the importance of empowering youth to understand and act on the world's greatest challenges. Reflecting on 2014, we wanted to share 14 ways that we moved towards our vision and mission, as we look forward to expanding our circle of partners and supporters in the year ahead!

1. We Leverage Tech Tools for Change

Last January, TakingITGlobal organized a roundtable on Activating Online Communities to Maximize Impact. In addition to a survey of online platforms used by the 12 participating non-profits, we also distributed an online survey that was completed by more than 200 non-profits in our global network. Organizations also shared their models of change, contributing to a base of knowledge on impact evaluation. As part of our follow-up reporting on what was discussed, we produced Tech Tools for Change, an infographic showcasing the diversity of tools used across the sector. TakingITGlobal continues to grow partnerships with organizations benefitting from our engagement and learning platforms - know anyone who might be interested?

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2. We Invest in Social Innovators

Over the past 5 years, TakingITGlobal has offered a dozen facilitated cycles of the Sprout E-Course for Social Innovation, helping nearly 500 young leaders develop their ideas for social change, and connecting them to mentorship and funding to begin their journey towards turning their passions into action. We’ve collected stories of some Sprout graduates supported by Microsoft YouthSpark, highlighting the progress and impact of their social innovation projects. Recent partnerships with the Equinox Summit and Education Fast Forward will support young leaders working to improve education around the world in 2015.

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3. We Cultivate Creative Confidence

Our partnership in delivering the Adobe Youth Voices program has grown even deeper, with the publication of our Guide to Action Toolkit on Creative Expression, and the expansion of our programming to a total of 35 countries in 2014. We’re proud to announce that 3 of the Adobe Aspire Award finalists and 3 of the scholarship winners were from TakingITGlobal sites! In 2014, we were able to exhibit artwork from our program at the United Nations Youth Assembly and at the United Nations Humanicy Event, helping to highlight the expressions of youth on a global stage. We also partnered with the National Film Board to hold an Adobe Youth Voices film camp, with four amazing films created by high school students in just one week!

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4. We Facilitate Intercultural Understanding

After being awarded with the Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group, TakingITGlobal used the small grant to develop Culture Connect, a 4-week mobile learning experience aimed at growing intercultural understanding amongst students. More than a dozen cycles of Culture Connect have been facilitated to date, and a group of a dozen classrooms in 9 countries have just completed a collaborative adoption of the program.

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5. We Deliver Professional Learning

TakingITGlobal is pleased to have been awarded with three HP Catalyst Fellowships, launching three free e-courses in Challenge-based Learning on Climate Change, Facilitating Digital Intercultural Exchange, and Monitoring Rainforests using Satellite Mapping on the NMC Academy. Each participating educator receives a digital badge, compatible with the Mozilla Open Badges Standard. We also offered more than 30 scholarships for educators in the developing world to participate in our accredited professional learning e-courses, thanks to generous support from nearly 50 donors.

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6. We Foster a Sense of Belonging

In October, together with the Samuel Family Foundation and Synergos Institute, TakingITGlobal convened a global Symposium on Isolation and Social Connectedness at Evergreen Brickworks. Our main event was organizing an Art show and evening celebration titled “Moments of Inclusion” featuring artwork from youth around the world along with a panel presentation. Following the event, TakingITGlobal Executive Director Jennifer Corriero travelled to Arviat, Nunavut in Canada's North to meet with participants and demonstrate an arts-based approach to youth engagement.

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7. We Enable Mobile Engagement

In August, TakingITGlobal gathered more than 15 non-profit organizations for a roundtable hosted by PwC to discuss Mobile Learning for Social Good. Each organization shared their experiences and favourite apps, and several organizations presented specific good practices that we felt other organizations could learn from. You can read the event report to learn more about the insights shared! We've recently re-launched many TakingITGlobal site sections, including our homepage, to be mobile-responsive, and expect to complete these upgrades in 2015 to serve a growing mobile-first audience.

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8. We Connect Youth to Places of Meaning

With the support of Canadian Heritage’s Youth Take Charge Program, we launched Explore150, our first foray into location-based mobile learning. The Explore150 Smartphone App encourages discovery, learning, and sharing of a young person’s experiences at historic, natural, and cultural sites. Leading up to Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, we’re expanding the app to allow any school group or partner to create their own Adventures, custom guided learning experiences across a variety of sites. Thanks to our friends at Deloitte, who made Explore150 the focus project of their 2014 Student Leadership Summit, resulting in dozens of powerful new ideas for enhancing the program.

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9. We Partner with School Boards

In partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), we offered our TIGed Professional Development e-Courses to educators in more than 25 schools last school year, supporting the development of educator capacity for designing project-based learning with technology. Across our three focus areas of Global Citizenship, Environmental Stewardship, and Student Voice, significant positive contributions were measured with participating educators. More than 90% of educators said they intended to transfer and apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to their daily practice right away, and recommend the program to their peers. The partnership culminated in an Innovation Fair where students presented their projects as a community, and you can view a short film documenting this celebration! In 2015, we're growing our partnership with the launch of Education for Social Innovation, a new course co-designed with lead educators.

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10. We Organize Innovative Summer Camps

Building on the success of our Sprout E-Course curriculum delivered online, we had the opportunity to collaborate with the TDSB, OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute and several industry partners to launch Sprout Ideas Camp. During this immersive week-long experience, 40 grade 4-9 students built their technology, design thinking, and social innovation skills as they created digital games on local or global issues of importance. We have recently been awarded a grant from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to expand the program next summer, and are keen to collaborate with others interested in bringing the program to their cities!

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11. We Launch Campaigns for Action

TakingITGlobal is proud to be the country affiliate for Do Something Canada, helping to bring DoSomething.org’s engaging social action campaigns to our Canadian audience. Our first campaign, Teens for Jeans, engaged nearly 1,000 schools and collected more than 25,000 pairs of jeans for homeless shelters across the country. We’ve just launched the new Canada.DoSomething.org portal with five new campaigns - interested in partnering on a campaign, or can you help spread the word to young Canadians?

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12. We Influence Behaviour Change

Our Commit2Act mobile app, supported by Active Philanthropy and an anonymous donor, has expanded to a web app accessible on all Smartphone platforms, and has now tracked more than 40,000 actions. This year, our partners at New York City Global Partners have been using Commit2Act in 30 cities as part of their Living Cities curriculum, engaging middle school students in understanding and tracking actions to reduce their impact on the environment. We’ll also be working with students at York University who are designing a research study to evaluate the potential long-term impact of their participation.

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13. We Generate Knowledge

We’re keenly interested in deepening our understanding of the impact created by our program offerings, and our partnership with York University is a strong step towards that goal. Working with professor Michela Hynie’s fourth year Research Methods course, students have undertaken several studies to evaluate various dimensions of TakingITGlobal’s community. We hope to extend this partnership and seek joint research funds with several academic institutions in the coming year!

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14. We Foster Collaboration

Our Youth Movements program was honoured to partner more deeply with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), developing an expanded version of the mapping platform to provide real-time tracking and knowledge-sharing amongst the youth-led projects funded by the UN Habitat Youth Fund using a unique mobile-reporting platform. We hope to expand the use of this platform to additional partners interested in increasing knowledge-sharing amongst a diverse set of global projects, which began through a collaboration with the International Baccalaureate’s World Student Conferences held in three regions this July. The Global Youth Action Network continues to facilitate youth involvement at the United Nations, supporting a delegation of youth environmental leaders attending COP20 in Peru last month.

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