What do the acronyms TEDx, ASD and iKT have in common?


Source: What do the acronyms TEDx, ASD and iKT have in common?

This week’s guest post comes from the ASD Mental Health site, Dr. Jonathan Weiss’ Blog. It was first published on April 13, 2016 and is reposted here with permission. 

by Drs. Jonathan Lai & Jonathan Weiss

On Saturday May 28th, the Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research[1] will be hosting Spectrum, a TEDxYorkUSalon focussing on concerns relevant to transition-age youth and to adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

When the Chair was first launched, we asked stakeholders (e.g. people with ASD, clinicians, family members, policymakers, and researchers) how they wanted to be engaged with, both in terms of what we’re doing, and what was going on in the Canadian field of autism research. The message was clear: we need more than one approach, for multiple types of audiences, including those we already knew as well as those in the autism community we had not yet reached. So how best to develop a dynamic, accessible, and efficient way of exchanging knowledge about autism across so many different perspectives? This is where TEDx comes in.

Our upcoming event is part of our strategy of innovative knowledge mobilization and stakeholder engagement. Since knowledge translation is a learning process among stakeholders with different perspectives and expertise, we have involved people with ASD, parents, researchers, educators, policy makers, and service providers as presenters. The presenters will give short 8-minute talks which will be placed online following the event and made freely accessible to the public.

The well-known and appreciated TED format is all about developing, refining, and sharing ideas in an entertaining way, both for those present in the physical audience, as well as those in a virtual audience who can access the talks worldwide. It’s a format, and a brand, that has tremendous recognition and a demonstrated ability to break down complex knowledge into a format that can appeal to a wide range of audiences: it’s open to everyone. Since our goal is share the knowledge that’s been generated in the Canadian autism community openly, we are creating broadly appealing content that will be available through the TEDx in-person and online platforms. We believe it will be an effective method to bring multiple perspectives together and listen to one another.

How can you plan your own TEDx event?

tedx notepadA TEDx event is not an easy thing to coordinate or one that can be developed in only a few months time. You will need dedicated personnel; we have one person (JL) who is dedicated to coordinating all aspects of the day over a 12 month period, for about one day a week.  Our timeline was as follows, based on our capacity:

Timeline (# months in advance of event date) Task to be completed
10 months Read TEDx guidelines, craft vision and goals
9 months Find a venue and date, have an budget
8 months Curate speakers, identify sponsors and partners
7 months Construct a program (running order)
6 months Form your teams (A/V, volunteers)
5 months Coach speakers (monthly emails, one-on-one sessions)
5 months Build a website (marketing)
2 month Promote to your audience (marketing)

First, craft your vision and goals (10 months ahead of time). It’s important to think through and articulate your vision (how would you define success?) and then identify how you can evaluate whether and to what extent you achieved your goals. Our vision and goals were to: 1) make topics of ASD research accessible, 2) build enthusiasm about research and 3) expand reach globally to people living with ASD, students and service providers. This shaped the types of questions we asked on our evaluation forms. For example, we hope that the TEDxYorkUSalon event will lead to greater excitement, optimism and familiarity about Canadian research in ASD and with regard to how people view ASD more generally. We ask questions about these topics in an optional questionnaire when they register, and will do so again after the event, to measure individual change.

tedx organizer's manualAs you begin this goal setting and visioning process, read the guidelines to know what goals are feasible. The TEDx Organizer’s Manual had many helpful tips and a step-by-step guide on how to organize an event like this properly. Since this is our first time, we had a steep learning curve. There are various guidelines for the different types of events. TEDx licenses are given to people based on location (e.g. TEDxNewYork, TEDxToyko, TEDxUniversityofLeeds, TEDxYorkU) and there are different guidelines for each event type with respect to: the number of attendees, types of sponsorships, branding of the event etc. We decided to run a Salon event under TEDxYorkU – a smaller event run under approved TEDx license holders because it allows us to explore a more specific topic rather than a general theme. Your vision and goals must align with the type of event – as that determines the structure that enables what you can do.

Ultimately it’s crucial to stick with TED’s strictly prescribed format, which can be difficult for us researchers who are used to having full control over the design and execution of our own events. By choosing to go with the TEDx format, it meant letting go of some of that control. We learned that we had to be flexible – working with a brand with licensing guidelines, we had to adapt each time we were constrained by requirements. For instance, we had to ensure the number of presenters and attendees were approved and that sponsors were not related / perceived to influence/bias talk content. Further, we had to figure out how to brand the event properly – the Event webpage couldn’t be associated with our research brand (Chair website, ASDMentalHealth Blog, or even York University). We would encourage on-going communication within your team and those involved so everyone is on the same page.

Tedx audienceLooking for an appropriate venue, we kept in mind not only costs but accessibility for families – as well as technical requirements for our event (e.g. lighting, staging). With the depth and breadth of enthusiastic, passionate Canadian researchers, advocates and parents available, we had no difficulty finding individuals who could fit the TED requirements. Our speakers are up for the challenge, currently being coached to chiselling their passion, knowledge and experience into a tight 8 minutes. Similarly, finding partners and sponsors for the event was not a big challenge. Many organizations that shared the same vision of KT and gladly supported us, including the Faculty of Health at York University, NeuroDevNet, Kerry’s Place, Geneva Centre for Autism, Sinneave Family Foundation, and the Ontario Brain Institute.

We worked with an expert at York University who has successfully run TEDxYorkU over the last few years (Thanks Ross!), building on his success and his wisdom about what’s required in terms of advising speakers, creating an exciting schedule, space and technological issues. NeuroDevNet’s KT Core will be in attendance to engage with stakeholders and capture this engagement on video. Video taping of individual speakers is also being arranged through York University’s Learning Technology Services video team, who have had experience working with TEDxYorkU in the past and were familiar with TEDx guidelines.

Overall, familiarity with TEDx guidelines, building a team (e.g. with sponsors, speakers, technical support) and having consistent communication with those involved within is important to create a successful event. The exchange of ideas and having different perspectives (not just researchers) is, after all, the point of doing iKT!

For more information about this event, and how to register, please visit: http://www.tedxyorkusalon.org/ or contact Dr. Jonathan Weiss (jonweiss@yorku.ca) or Dr. Jonathan Lai (jonlai@yorku.ca) for details.

[1] The Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Care Research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, Health Canada, NeuroDevNet and the Sinneave Family Foundation. Additional support from York University and ORION’s O3 Collaboration.

Sustainability and Knowledge Translation: sessions at Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2015

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

This past Thursday May 14, 2015 and Friday May 15, 2015 the 2015 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum took place at the Grand Bibliotheque in Montreal, QC. The Canadian Knowledge Mobilization forum is the national conversation on KT/KMb practice and an excellent way not only to build our own skills but to brand NeuroDevNet as a leading KT organization.  In fact, it was during this event that David Phipps (NeuroDevNet KT Lead) received the “2015 President’s Award for innovation” in “recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field and practice of Knowledge Mobilization in Canada and internationally”.

14/05/2015 ckf15 Photo Pedro Ruiz

Peter Levesque presents Knowledge Translation award to David Phipps at CKF 15
Photo credit: Pedro Ruiz

The overall theme of the conference was “Creativity as Practice: Mobilizing Diverse Ways of Thinking”. I both learned from other presenters, and shared my own knowledge.

In the workshop “Narratives, video and smartphones as KT tools for youth” (by Sean Muir) I learned that the ‘formula’ for maximizing effectiveness of KT with youth is: grab their attention with a shocking image or story, present your content/message, and then end with something positive. Sean used examples of videos and posters to illustrate this point. In the workshop on “Mobilizing your message through documentary video: research findings as cinematic narrative” (Callista Haggis et al.) the takeaways for creating KT videos were “done is better than perfect”, “show don’t tell” and “think about what you want your target audience to think, feel, do”. In this case, the documentary was both to present research findings in an alternative format, as well as to inspire discussion about the issues presented in the video toward possible infrastructure changes to accommodate the needs of an aging population.

NeuroDevNet’s KT Core Lead, David Phipps, participated in leading 2 sessions. One session was with Purnima Sundar (Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health) and Renee Leduc (NCE Secretariat).

ReneePurnimaDavid_CKF15The audience gained insight into the 3 common reasons why research grant applications fail: 1) lack of meaningful end user engagement, 2) unclear pathway to impact, and 3) poor evaluation of KM (Knowledge Mobilization) and of impact. The NCE Secretariat provided tips on how to prepare a successful research funding application, and held an interactive session asking for the audience’s ideas for what the NCE Secretariat could do to help applicants be more successful. Ideas included: successful applicants’ mentoring of new applicants, creation of how-to videos to accompany written grant application instructions, and provision of examples.

David moderated the session on “the paths of sustainability for KMb” in which I was one of the 4 presenters. I presented on the KT Core’s evaluation framework, indicators, and 3 factors relating to sustainability: relevance (how does what we’re doing fit with our priorities), leadership (who is responsible for ensuring outcomes are met), and financial (can cost-effective strategies be used).   The presentations were 10 minutes each. When the presentations were over, each presenter took their discussion question to a corner of the room and invited attendees to join their group (depending on which question most interested them) and discuss it further in terms of their own context.

PicFromDJP_sessionCKF15The questions were:

– How are people attempting to influence sustainability across diverse settings with the use of tools?
– How can we sustain KT implementation through strategic planning?
– How can team capacity and culture be shaped over time to best meet the needs of knowledge users?

And my question was:

– What factors should be considered with respect to sustainability?

I had about 12 people in my breakout discussion group. Although I had a discussion question prepared, I received several questions about what NeuroDevNet’s KT Core does in terms of evaluation and also about database design and development. After the breakout discussions we returned to the large group and each presenter did a ‘report back’ about what their group discussed.

“Anneliese provided a great overview of the process she developed to measure the relevance and impact of knowledge translation products. Her experience was very relevant as our organization is currently exploring different methods of evaluating our work. We look forward to learning more about Anneliese’s indicators and database.”
– Sheena Gereghty, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and would like help with KT videos, advice on event evaluations and/or evaluation of your other KT activities and products, contact the KT Core to find out how we can help.

Exergames for the Brain – Collaboration between the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Brain Institute to bring Exergaming to the public

by Jordan Antflick, Senior Outreach Lead, Ontario Brain Institute

This is the KT Core-ner’s first guest blog – we welcome this post from Jordan Antflick from the Ontario Brain Institute writing about the weekend of December 6 & 7, 2014 when a collaboration between the Ontario Science Centre and the Ontario Brain Institute brought NeuroDevNet/GRAND NCE’s Exergame technology to the public.  This was a great opportunity for KT, the research teams brought research-based information about how exercise affects the brain, especially for youth living with Cerebral Palsy.

Kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre try out the Exergame bike developed by Drs. Fehlings and Graham

Kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre try out the Exergame bike developed by Drs. Fehlings and Graham

This time it was going to be a photo finish. The last obstacle, a thick patch of mud, appeared but this only made their legs pump the pedals harder and their gecko on screen slither faster. With one well-placed shot, Happy the gecko was able to slow down Sneezy the gecko enough to edge past and claim victory in this- the tie-breaking contest.

This scene comes from a recent event at the Ontario Science Centre called Brain Games (December 6 & 7, 2014) which allowed visitors to test out interactive technologies where body and brain meet through gameplay. As a member of the team at the Ontario Brain Institute which helped to co-organize the event, I got to experience first-hand the latest developments taking place in Ontario and see how neuroscience is revolutionizing the gaming experience for entertainment, health, education and wellness.

One of the most popular games on display was the one described above- the exergames, which blends physical activity with gameplay through a customized recumbent bicycle.
The exergame project is a collaboration between Dr. Darcy Fehlings from the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (funded in part by NeuroDevNet NCE) and Dr. Nicholas Graham from the EQUIS Lab at Queen’s University (funded in part by GRAND NCE) in Kingston Ontario. It combines the clinical and research expertise of Dr. Fehlings’ team (present at the event were: Samantha D’Souza, Alex MacIntosh, Karizma Mawjee) with respect to cerebral palsy, and expertise in digital gaming design and development brought by Dr. Nick Graham and his team (present at the event were: Hamilton Hernandez Alvaro and Daniel Moran).

Research teams from NeuroDevNet and GRAND NCEs assist kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre's Brain Games, so they can try out the Exergame technology

Research teams from NeuroDevNet and GRAND NCEs assist kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre’s Brain Games, so they can try out the Exergame technology

Their collaboration extended to the Brain Games event requiring representatives from both teams to setup and run the exergames, but also to tell the two sides of the story behind this project. Created to help teens with cerebral palsy become more physically active and improve their fitness, the exergames also features built-in social interaction by allowing kids to compete head-to-head against their friends each in their own homes, and communicate using a head-set with live chat.

Although the exergame system is currently a prototype designed for research and rehabilitation purposes, it was a huge hit with all families and children who stopped by for its ‘public debut’ at the Ontario Science Centre. In clinical trials, the bike was only used by about 10 kids at a time, but over the Brain Games weekend it withstood the vigorous pedaling of over 200 children.

Kids were drawn to the game but it was their parents who were the most curious. The most common question asked was ‘what does this have to do with brain?’ which provided a great lead-in to have a conversation about cerebral palsy, and the research into the benefits of physical activity for rehabilitation and for the brain. Two videos about the exergame program also looped in the background to give a broader explanation about the exergame and its impact, one of the videos was produced by NeuroDevNet’s KT Core.

Parents often commented on the value of having something like this in their own home to sneak some exercise into their kids existing gaming habits. While the exergame bike was designed specifically for teens with cerebral palsy, it was interesting to see that it resonated with all types of kids.

For now, the exergames will stay in the lab where it will continue to help kids with cerebral palsy improve their fitness and limb movement and hopefully one day soon it will be available for kids of all abilities to be able to play and exercise together in a fun and social way!

What makes a good Knowledge Translation video?

Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Videos are becoming an important tool for of Knowledge Translation.  But what makes a video a good KT tool?  Here are the top 5 things that make a good KT video:

1)  The video links to the research.  Whether it is references to research papers presented on-screen, the researcher talking about what they did and what they learned from their research in plain language, these are important linkages that must be made in order to consider a video a KT tool.  Ideally, relevant references to the original research paper(s) will appear on-screen while the researcher is talking so the audience can look up these papers if they want more detailed information.  Here is an example:

2)  The video is not a training/demonstration video.  Videos that are created for the purpose of training individuals on how to perform certain tasks as part of the methodology of the research study are not KT.  In contrast, videos that are about explaining how the research was conducted (after the fact), the research findings, and how these findings might be useful for changing behaviours, policy, and/or practice can be considered end-of-grant KT.

3)  The video is between 1-2.5 minutes in length.  I have seen (and produced) videos that are longer than this, but I usually aim to make videos that are no longer than 2 or 2.5 minutes in length.  If you make a longer video, you should have your peers view it and provide feedback – watch to see if they get bored before the end of the video.  If they are captivated throughout, the length is ok.  Otherwise, you should think about shortening it.  For some researchers, I have recommended creating a short 2.5 minute video and post the full length 7-8 minute recording as a podcast – with the link to the podcast on-screen in the video.  Here is an example: 

4)  The video has good audio. Good audio is actually more important than video – viewers are more likely to continue watching a video that has substandard video than one with poor audio quality and/or levels.  It is worth it to rent good quality microphones if you don’t own any, and test them beforehand to make sure they work as you expect.  If you don’t know what to get, go to a place that rents cameras and microphones and tell them what you are going to record and they should be able to point you in the right direction.  I tested my camera-mounted Sennheiser mic before doing interviews in order to get a sense for how far away my interviewee could be before the quality began to fade.  The result was great quality audio.  If you use music to accompany voiceover in your videos, make sure the levels are just right – not too high that it is drowning out the speaker, not too low that you can hardly hear it.  This comes with practice.

5)  The video has good lighting.  The light should not be so ‘hot’ that you can’t see detail in your subject, but it shouldn’t be too dark either.  This also comes with practice, and requires some good lighting equipment.  This can also be rented and the rental place can point you to the right equipment and give you some pointers on how to set it up.  If you get back to your computer and realize after the fact that your lighting was a bit ‘off’, you can still fix it if you have the right computer software.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro, and there are several video effects that you can use to lighten/darken brightness/contrast, as well as adjust colouration.  There are some really good videos on youtube that can teach you how to set up lighting for videos, and how to make adjustments using different software packages.

Of course, there are more considerations for creating videos that people will want to watch and share (to maximize dissemination of your research findings).  These include: framing of the subject during video recording, good editing technique, and use of appropriate related footage to ‘cut in’ while the researcher is talking about their findings.  These and other pointers will be included in the guide for KT videos which is one of the tools to be produced by NeuroDevNet’s KT Core as a tool for NeuroDevNet researchers.

If you are a NeuroDevNet member and wish to receive support for creating videos for KT, contact Anneliese Poetz, KT Core Manager.