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A new venture designed to encourage more innovative ideas in education will make its debut at One Spark this year.

Created by Deborah Gianoulis, the president of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership, #EDSPARK is the first themed venue to participate in One Spark. #EDSPARK, which will be located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building, will house 46 education-related creators, making it one of the largest venues at One Spark. Creators will pitch their ideas in an attempt to receive money raised through local investors and crowdfunding.

“We have got creators all over the map. We have people who have written books. We have people who have developed games,” Gianoulis said. “We have people who have community collaborative projects.”

Since #EDSPARK is new to the One Spark scene, Gianoulis and her colleagues decided to keep an open mind and select education-related creators from all five categories of One Spark. #EDSPARK organizers wanted to capture every aspect of education in order to bring educators and students together in a collaborative environment to create entirely unique projects.

“There’s just a range of activities, a range of ideas,” Gianoulis said. “We are very excited by the variety that we found in education-related themes, both from students and also from adults.”

Carri Rehberg, a high school teacher at Bridge to Success Academy in Duval County, said she was excited to have her idea – The Road Trip Project – chosen for #EDSPARK. “It made me feel like my project was good enough and interesting enough to be accepted,” she said.

The Road Trip Project was created when Rehberg was driving to a state park shortly after her grandfather – a coast-to-coast traveler — passed away. She wanted a way to engage her students and teach them real-world applications, so she decided to have students plan an entire road trip from selecting a destination to deciding where they would eat and sleep.

Rehberg …   More



St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Chicago has “the bean.”

The Emerging Design Professionals, an organization for Northeast Florida architects and interior designers in their first decade of practice, would like for Jacksonville to have its own popular photo backdrop, so they’re hosting an open-entry design competition as part of One Spark 2013.

Submissions for “Pose-in-Place: A Competition to Create a Photo-op for Downtown Jax” are being accepted through April 15 for display at the project’s One Spark media wall at the Jacksonville Landing.

Competitors must submit a photo of the Jacksonville Riverwalk, superimposed with an image of people posing next to their proposed structure or design. Entry requirements are detailed on the project Facebook page, but they’re intentionally simple to encourage widespread participation.

“We wanted to do something that would be less architectural that any member of society could participate in,” said Brandon Pourch, vice president of Emerging Design Professionals and the One Spark project cosponsor. “All you really need is a good idea and a little bit of Photoshop skills.”  

All entries will be posted on the Pose-in-Place Facebook page April 17 to coincide with the first day of One Spark, and the design that receives the most “likes” will win the competition and be in the running to receive potential crowdfunding. About half of any funds received from One Spark would go to the winning designer, and the rest would go toward promoting the project for further development, Pourch said.

“Ideally, the best case scenario would be that we would raise enough money to actually implement the structure or the winning design,” Pourch said. “We’re more hoping to raise public awareness about design and about possible interventions along the Riverwalk that would improve our …   More


Seaside: Imagine, Create, Learn

The Seaside Community Charter School will open in Atlantic Beach in the fall of 2013 and will offer kindergarten through second grade. In each of the following years, it will add a grade up until fifth grade.

The tuition-free public charter school will utilize the Waldorf educational approach, which puts an emphasis on hands-on activities, artistic expression and developing critical understanding.

The school is being started up by a grassroots group of parents and educators who wish to offer an alternative to the public education offered in Jacksonville. The group also runs the Seaside Playgarden Preschool located at Eighth Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach.

SEASIDE: IMAGINE, CREATE, LEARN from One Spark on Vimeo.   More

One Spark


Sheryl Dwyer, a veteran educator in the Jacksonville community, is now using her expertise to engage students in a new type of way — with a bang.

Big Bang Science is a student-centered program that encourages people of all ages to use a hands-on approach to understanding science.

Dwyer, instructor and coach of Comprehensive Thinking Strategies LLC, has entered as a creator into Jacksonville’s One Spark festival in the hopes of raising money to go toward a facility that can host this program along a variety of others. Each of the programs will vary significantly in their focus, ranging from science to history to entrepreneurial education.

This Cognitive Clubhouse will use interactive elements to help foster Jacksonville’s potential and encourage it as an epicenter for creative and critical thinking.

“It will provide Jacksonville with an incredible identity,” Dwyer said. “It will become a location for educational visionaries and change agents to reach students and teachers whom otherwise wouldn’t experience unique learning opportunities.

Dwyer hopes to find a facility located in the downtown area so that Cognitive Clubhouse can contribute to the revitalization of Jacksonville.

“It will work in conjunction with existing and future attractions,” Dwyer said, “to draw families, school children, educators, and visitors to the downtown area.”

Dwyer explained that an average day at the clubhouse might include families interacting on the science playground, fourth-graders applying the principles of physics to build a roller coaster, high school students writing code to design a robot, and even teachers in the studio learning how to enhance the way they deliver instruction.

Members in the programs would have a variety of options. Local families could get a yearly pass, whereas visitors to the area could opt for a day pass. Teachers and schools could book field trips for their …   More


Educator Strives to Live a Life of Awesomeness

Leslie Jensen-Inman began her One Spark Speaker Series talk reminiscing about the day she quit her job as a university-level professor. “I decided to declare my intention,” she said addressing the Thursday afternoon crowd. “I was headed for change. I was going from good to great.”

A self-professed “Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman is a designer, speaker, author and educator. She is co-founder of Center Centre, where she works to improve the state of design education, as well as creative director and co-author of “InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design.”

Jensen-Inman’s talk, titled “Jack of All Trades, a Master of Unicorns,” focused on how to create your own personal “Map for Awesomeness.” This is done, according to Jensen-Inman, by embracing your passion, defining your purpose, fostering your promise and engaging your pursuit.

After quitting her teaching post – just shy of receiving tenure – Jensen-Inman teamed up with friend Jared Spool, an expert on subjects like usability and software design. Together, the duo is currently working to create a new learning environment that examines the professional workplace versus a university setting.

“What we’ve learned is that companies are looking for generalists. They’re looking for Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman admitted. “We are creating a learning environment that meets the needs of both students and industry.”

When Jensen-Inman was a four-year-old, she told the crowd, she would dress-up in Wonder Woman Underoos and traipse around the neighborhood. “I always wanted to go to superhero school until I learned the harsh reality that it didn’t exist,” she remembered.

Although superhero school only exists in the movies, Jensen-Inman has set out to “live a life filled with awesomeness.” “We only need to be the very best …   More

Music Industry Vet Offers Blueberry Muffins and the F-Bomb

Easily the most entertaining speaker from the April 18 roster, Martin Atkins warned the crowd before things really got started.

“If my language offends you, get out of this world. Actually, find another planet,” he said. And so it began to rain f-bombs.

Atkins talk, titled “Welcome to the Music Business. You’re F*CKED!” aimed to help struggling musicians tour smarter, be wise about their social media usage, and formulate a strategy. These, Atkins said, would help you get through this “swirling pile of shit.”

With more than 30 years in the music business, Atkins was a member of bands Public Image Ltd. and Killing Joke and owns Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios. He’s also the author of “Tour:Smart” and teaches at Madison Media Institute.

These days, Atkins spends a majority of his time traveling the world and giving talks about the music industry.

“Strategy number one is have a strategy,” he told the 40 or so audience members gathered for the One Spark Speaker Series. “Strategy number two is get the fuck out of bed.”

Throughout Atkins’ talk, he went through different strategy methods. They weren’t in any kind of special order or even numbered appropriately, but the message was easily understood. You are the master of your own destiny. That and don’t tour the west side of the country.

A map of the United States popped up on the projector. “I drew a line from Minneapolis to Dallas,” Atkins said. “Did you know that out of the 100 most populated cities in America only 15 of them are west of that line. Just stay east of that line. Don’t go over that fucking line.”

Another great tidbit offered by Atkins was “free is the new black!” While musicians hold onto their music with tight fists – not wanting it pirated on the Internet – Atkins advised that you give it away for …   More


One Spark, Take Two

One Spark will hold its second crowdfunding festival in Downtown Jacksonville April 9-14, 2014, with updated categories, larger prizes and millions in capital investments.

Changes for 2014 include:

Art, innovation, music, science and technology are the updated creator categories.

The prize structure includes a $200,000 guaranteed crowdfund distributed solely on public vote, $10,000 bonuses awarded to the top project in each category, five $10,000 juried prizes, and immediate individual contributions from attendees.

Millions in capital investments will be available for One Spark creators from private investors and equity firms.

A more walkable, concentrated footprint that will include 20 square blocks.

More voting and information kiosks locations.

The co-founder and executive director of One Spark, Elton Rivas, will turn over the day-to-day management of One Spark to Joe Sampson, who served a director of field operations for the inaugural 2013 festival.

Rivas will continue in an advisory capacity while serving as present of the One Spark board of directors.    More


Israeli Scholar Brings Crowdfunding Message

Traveling all the way from Jerusalem, Israel, scholar Dan Marom brought his talk “The Crowdfunding Revolution: How to raise venture capital using social media” to the One Spark Speaker Series. “A crowd can make a difference,” Marom told the audience. “Technology can make a difference.”

It was obvious where Marom was going with this; crowd plus technology equals crowdfunding. But before the days of laptops and smartphones, people were crowdfunding in a whole different way. The Statue of Liberty was built using funds from the public who chose to support the project.

Soccer clubs in Europe are owned by their fans – similar to the Green Bay Packers in the U.S., a team owned by its community. President Obama’s second presidential election was successful due to crowdfunding done through his website.

Another success story is the Pebble. Tagged as “the first watch built for the 21st century,” the Pebble team raised over $10 million using Kickstarter.

Marom is a consultant for Massolution, a company based on crowdsourcing solutions for enterprises. In a recent study, Massolution reported that in 2012, North America raised over $1.6 billion through crowdfunding. Europe raised $945 million.

According to Marom, there are four types of crowdfunding; donation-based for philanthropy and sponsorship, reward-based for non-monetary rewards, equity-based that includes revenue and profit-sharing models for financial return, and lending-based including person-to-person and person-to-business lending.

“I am a true believer in the power of crowds,” Marom reiterated.


One Spark


We Are Straight Allies is a campaign that advocates for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and is entered as a creator project in One Spark.

Chevara Orrin developed the campaign in response to a human rights ordinance for equal treatment that failed to pass when she moved to Jacksonville in August 2012. The ordinance would have added sexual orientation to the list of factors that cannot be discriminated against.

Already on the list are things such as gender, race and religion. Orrin gathered two other co-creators, Dan Bagan and Laura Riggs, who share the mission to advocate and educate with the hopes of adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the human rights ordinance come next vote.

We Are Straight Allies uses many different methods to connect with the community. Most notably is its print ad and video campaign that showcases people declaring themselves as straight allies.

“What we decided to do was use the voices of straight allies in this community,” Orrin said, “people who were already outspoken and those who were kind of on the cusp of wanting to become more engaged to raise awareness and also encourage other people to become engaged.”

The print ad and video campaign includes a wide range of people. There is a video of a 7-year-old proclaiming “love is love.”Another shows Jacksonville Rabbi Jesse Olitzky stating, “God loves you, no matter who you are.” Also included is a video from Pat Geraghty, the chairman and CEO of Florida Blue, who explains the importance of inclusiveness.

“We’ve been very intentional in selecting faces of the community that really reflect the community,” Orrin said.

Rachel Vitti, a social justice and education advocate who also happens to be the wife of Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, has always considered herself a straight ally and joined the campaign from the very …   More

One Spark


The members of On Guard are not new to the realm of One Spark. They rocked out on stage at the crowd-funding festival during its inaugural year.

The dedication and enthusiasm of On Guard is electrified through its music and into the audience. With the help of One Spark, On Guard plans to raise money to tour nationally and spread an energetic vibe to an even broader audience.

All five members bring their own musical background and inspirations to the table, ranging from indie pop to heavy metal. On Guard became the end result. It brings a little bit of everything to cater to a veritable audience.

“We’re not indie rock and we’re not alternative rock,” said vocalist Nick Klimchak. “I guess you could say we’re indie rock alternative.”

Despite their different musical backgrounds, many of their inspirations tend to overlap along with similar tastes in music. Each brings forth their own twist to make up On Guard’s soulful expression.

“We’ve been compared to Incubus and I sometimes hear that in our melodies,” said guitarist Jairo Lobusta. “Nick brings a really awesome element, too. He sings his heart out and not a lot of bands are doing that these days. He’s really soulful.”

Despite having jobs and activities outside of music, every Wednesday night all five members meet at Warehouse Studios to collaborate on new, innovative projects and practice their harmonic rhythms for upcoming shows.

Klimchak and drummer Alex Lingafelt started the band in November of 2012 and managed to take the Jacksonville music scene by storm since. Adding to the group guitarist Jairo Lobusta and Aaron May on bass, On Guard has successfully released its self-titled EP and shot its first music video within the past year. In January 2014, guitarist Chad Kotce joined the group to allow Klimchak to focus primarily on vocals.

On Guard is more than just the name of this band; it’s a lifestyle …   More