Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Teachers Are Talking

About a year ago, I became a webcaster on EdTechTalk. I met my two co-hosts when we were in Webcast Academy, an online, informal course which introduced us to the possibilities of webcasting. The three of us, one from Michigan, another from Long Island, NY and I, have a monthly show where we interview educators from around the world. Recent guests have included David Warlick, Ben Papell and Steve Muth (the founders of VoiceThread), and Wesley Fryer, an educator who is very involved in the K12 Online Conference as well as a new project, StoryChasers.

You can find out more by visiting our blog:

Upcoming guests include: Kristen Hokansen (who specializes in copyright issues in the US as a librarian) on December 18 and Helen Barrett (portfolios) on January 15 - both at 7:30 pm

How do you listen to a webcast from EdTechTalk? During shows, listeners can use any common media player (i.e. Windows Media Player, Real Player, or iTunes) to listen to the discussion and use the chat room to make comments and ask questions. The show is located at: Just click on Participate Live, chose the icon for the player you want to use to listen and the audio should start streaming. You can Login to the chat to add your comments.

If you want to listen to past shows, go to EdTechTalk. On the left is a list of shows. Click on Teachers Are Talking and you will be able to download the shows. Or - go our blog for links to specific episodes.

Why do I webcast? It gives me the opportunity to meet, "virtually", people I wouldn't otherwise have access to. I have a monthly opportunity to learn, discuss and share with fellow educators. It has put me in touch with a virtual learning network of educators who keep me informed, share ideas, discoveries as well as personal stories. It makes me risk (though in a supportive community), something I keep telling teachers they need to learn to do. It makes me try on a role I don't usually take. Hope to see you in the chatroom at one of our webcasts.

Crossposted to LearnConnect

Monday, December 01, 2008


I have been meaning to get back to blogging for a while and there always seems to be something that takes precedence. But today I read a blog post by Karl Fisch that pushed me. I was disgusted by the news of the man who was trampled at Walmart - that buying that discounted item was more important than human decency, that stampeding into a store seemed to be acceptable behaviour. As the holidays approach I am struck by the excess consumption and by the buying of wants - not needs. Karl Fisch wrote about Kiva - an opportunity to help people, not with handouts, but with dignity. Kiva is a microlender. People who need small amounts for their businesses and for other purposes are able to get loans. They have a 97% payment record - what North American bank can match that!

Our world is in a financial crisis because people made loans for homes that were beyond their means and the financial institutions played the game. Kiva borrowers live in reality. Their stories tell of the need for small amounts to stock a pharmacy, to buy a cell phone to operate a calling service, to buy a henhouse. These small loans make these people self-reliant. I have joined Karl's group on Kiva.

This is what Karl has requested:
First, I’ve donated $25 to an entrepreneur ($25 is the minimum they accept). But I’ve also purchased two $25 gift certificates that I then emailed to two members of my PLN. I’m asking those folks to then do two things. First, they can choose which entrepreneur to loan the $25 to (they can pick the one I picked, or any of the 773 currently available). Then I’m asking them to consider doing the same thing – purchasing two $25 gift certificates and emailing them to two members of their PLN (with the same request that those folks continue the cycle, a Kiva Pay It Forward plan). It would also be great if they blogged about it and left a comment on this post.
I've made my donation and will send gift certificates to members of my PLN. Let's make a difference and make a shift from excessive consumption to generosity in meaningful ways.