Sky, Water, Earth

A New Adventure in Connected Learning

Sky, Water, Earth  is a collection of informal learning activities that evoke a sense of wonder about the planet we live on and beyond, through astronomy, marine biology, and the intersection between the two. Sky, Water, Earth takes the form of a career preparation initiative for youths aged 17-24 who are interested in the field of science. The initiative encourages youths to follow their passion and through a variety of activities helps them build competencies employers value. Youths who are fully engaged are awarded with unique real-life opportunities that provide additional in-depth experiences and further expand their personal and professional networks. These opportunities bring forward-thinking students closer to success in their academic and professional careers.

Who is Involved?

The project is a joint initiative between the Faculty of Education at UBC, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, and the HR MacMillan Space Centre. Sky, Water, Earth will be facilitated online using edX Edge and an emerging connected learning website called

How do the Learning Activities Engage Students?

The project guides youths to participate in learning playlists that help them build competencies outlined by the National Research Council Canada (NRC), such as creative thinking, communication, teamwork, and more. These activities ultimately lead youths to produce concrete evidence that demonstrate such competencies. Youths give and receive feedback on their work through a peer evaluation process. Experts in the field, community partners, as well as leaders from UBC student associations provide additional feedback and guidance. Youths will build on their resume and practical experience, ultimately becoming more employable members of the workforce.

The Learning Playlist: How does it Work?

When listening to playlist music, the series of songs is remixable and personalized. The listener chooses when to skip a song, rewind, or to repeat a favourite song, but every song in the mix is a key component of the experience.

In a similar way, Sky, Water, Earth activities are organized in playlists of their own: a series of experiences, resources and events connected by key themes and learning objectives. While there is a suggested path through the activities, learners experience the playlists in any order they choose, and choice over which activities they complete in a given list.

Opportunities for Learners

When a participant completes all the activities in a playlist, an associated badge is awarded. Each badge unlocks a unique real-life opportunity. Examples of opportunities include free admission to networking events and science programs, job shadowing or one-on-one interviews with science graduates working in their fields, a presentation slot at a Faculty of Education event, LinkedIn recommendations, and more.

How to Participate

1) If you are an employer in the science field:

What competencies and experiences are essential for your staff of tomorrow? What are the abilities that employers see in successful job candidates in the sciences?

If you have insight into the expertise that will best prepare learners for their future careers, we encourage you to reach out and offer your thoughts. We are seeking to better understand how competencies you require in future employees can be developed through Sky, Water, Earth activities.

Let us know what skills and experiences are most important to you when considering potential employees. Send an email to to get the conversation started.

2) If you are an educators or professional working with youths:

Don’t miss the Connected Learning Hackathon

March 4, 11 & 25, 2017

Join us at the Connected Learning Hackathon to collectively build the learning activities that will help shape Sky, Water, Earth.

3) If you are a youth between 17-24 who is interested in a career in the sciences or is passionate about science:

Connected Learning Focus Group

What: Through focus group sessions and surveys, you will provide feedback and ideas on the proposed playlists, learning activities, and real-life opportunities of Sky, Water, Earth.

Who: Secondary School and University science students, and other interested members of the community. If a project like Sky, Water, Earth could help you build your educational or professional career, we want to hear from you!

When: Spring 2017. Specific Date and Time TBC

Where: Vancouver Area, BC. Specific location TBC

How to participate: Please contact for more information on how you can be a part of our upcoming focus groups. More details on participation will be provided in the upcoming weeks.