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Index and dedication to Soft Footsteps blog posts

This work is dedicated to 5 amazing women
Betty, Becky, Jeannie, Beverley and Louise
Thank you for being who you are and for being roots
and branches for me.

The inspiration for the Soft Footsteps blog
Soft footsteps – an explanation Politics

Sarojini Naidu
Art and Literature Annie Kenney
Julian of Norwich Soong Ching-ling
Frances Burney
Julia Margaret Cameron Science

Maria Sibylla Merian
Computing Technology Émilie du Châtelet
Ada Lovelace Mary Somerville
ENIAC “Computers” Blog 1
ENIAC “Computers” Blog 2 Society
Grace Hopper Frances Power Cobbe

Kadambini Ganguly
Education Lady Eve Balfour
Mary Wollstonecraft
Emily Davies Introduction to the 21st Century Innovators
Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Judy Breck

Karen Coppock
Entertainment Jensine Larsen
Sarah Bernhardt
Eleonora Duse Thanks to the contributors
Hattie McDaniel Learning from experience

Index and Dedication

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

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Learning from experience

Cover page

Stars of the book

The biggest changes in society have come about because people have a right to education and the ability to learn. All 3 of our 21st century innovators talked about the importance of education and sharing knowledge.

When asked about her theories on how networks and connectivity will end ignorance and terror, Judy Breck said:

Only individuals can participate in the Internet connectivity. All the power flows from individual nodes. There are no hierarchies. This empowerment of the individual is amplified by the end of isolation where terrorism can incubate. Longer range, it will be the end of ignorance that will bring the global golden age of liberty.

Each of our own children and all of other people’s children will learn from the commons. Ignorance will end globally—and will end in a way that has never happened before. American kids will not be taught one version of history while Iranian kids are taught another. Kids from all over the world will study from the commons, learning history from the same virtual pages. And there is more. If there is disagreement the new generations will be connected with each other as individuals, not isolated. They can confer and collaborate. They can decide which pages of history too are true; this is already happening on Wikipedia.”

When asked about the difference in her roles when moving from Stanford to Vital Wave Consulting, Karen Coppock said:

The primary distinction between my current role and my work at Stanford is the nature of the client. At Stanford and Santa Clara, I advised technology-oriented social enterprises. At Vital Wave Consulting, the vast majority of our client base is Fortune 500 companies. That said, the basic work, assisting organizations with accelerating technology usage in emerging markets, remains the same. In both cases, an effective strategy must be based on a solid understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic context of the particular market along with business rigor to be successful. I believe that high-tech multi-nationals can learn a great deal from social entrepreneurs and visa versa and luckily, I am in a unique position to be able to facilitate these learnings for everyone’s benefit.

When talking about PulseWire’s progress, Jensine Larsen said:

We sometimes joke that this core team is like the “camels that carried the jewel across the desert.” Now, we have a full, experienced team and we are about to embark on our beta phase, where we will test PulseWire with networks that are building solutions to the top 3 greatest threats to women and girls in the world: HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and environmental destruction.

We are all excited and scared because of the enormity of the task and the potential, creating a tool that crosses so many political, cultural and economic divides. We are all aware that we will learn a tremendous amount through a process of deep listening to the real needs of women on the ground. We may have to completely redesign our concept, but we are prepared mentally for this and we will be adaptable and agile in service to our mission.”

10 key points stand out in those extracts from the interviews:

  1. connected with each other as individuals, not isolated

  2. learning history from the same virtual pages

  3. process of deep listening

  4. solid understanding

  5. facilitate these learnings for everyone’s benefit

  6. confer and collaborate

  7. creating a tool that crosses so many political, cultural and economic divides

  8. adaptable and agile

  9. completely redesign our concept

  10. excited and scared because of the enormity of the task and the potential

This is dynamic learning through connection and a solid understanding of another persons point of view. Learning and facilitating the learning of others by conferring and collaborating. Learning by the process of deep listening. Being adaptable and agile enough to completely redesign a concept if a solution does not fit the problem it is designed to solve. This attitude to learning and education is not about filling your head with the facts needed to pass exams and get a college degree but it is about the importance of dialogue as part of the learning process. It’s also about being excited and scared because of the enormity of the task and the potential.

Wikipedia has a section that defines Dialogue education.

Dialogue education shifts the focus of education from what the teacher says to what the learner does, from learner passivity to

Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

learners as active participants in the dialogue that leads to learning (Global Learning Partners, 2006c). A dialogue approach to education views learners as subjects in their own learning and honours central principles such as mutual respect and open communication (Vella, 2002). Learners are invited to actively engage with the content being learned rather than being dependent on the educator for learning. Ideas are presented to learners as open questions to be reflected on and integrated into the learner’s own context (Vella, 2004). The intent is that this will result in more meaningful learning that has an impact on behaviour. “

In the world of New Media, where the consumer become the creator, the process of learning has also changed. Education is no longer something to consume and regurgitate to pass an exam but has become an active process whereby people learn from the experiences of others, reflect upon and question the content of what they are learning and understand that experience within the context of their own lives.

Teachers learn from students and connect with each other as individuals
(Judy Breck).

This process is only possible where there is mutual respect, open communication and solid understanding
(Karen Coppock).

There is a willingness to shift the focus from what the teacher says to what the learner does – adaptable, agile and a willingness to completely change a concept if necessary
(Jensine Larsen).

With all of these wide ranging, wonderful possibilities directly (and literally) at our fingertips – what form will our future interaction and contextual learning take? Have those social shapes already been formed in the ether text world of Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter has certainly changed a great deal since 2007: Information source Wikipedia

  • The tipping point for Twitter’s popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. “The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages,” remarked Newsweek’s Steven Levy. “Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it.”

  • Reaction at the festival was highly positive. Blogger Scott Beale said that Twitter “absolutely rul[ed]” SXSW. Social software researcher Danah Boyd said Twitter “own[ed]” the festival. Twitter staff received the festival’s Web Award prize with the remark “we’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!”

  • The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010. By late November 2010, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts’ communal account, @NASA_Astronauts.

And what has changed with Facebook since 2007: Information source Wikipedia

  • On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. Microsoft’s purchase included rights to place international ads on Facebook.

  • In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

  • In September 2009, Facebook said that it had turned cash-flow positive for the first time.

  • In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc., an exchange for shares of privately held companies, Facebook’s value was $41 billion (slightly surpassing eBay’s) and it became the third largest US web company after Google and Amazon. Facebook has been identified as a possible candidate for an IPO by 2013.
  • Traffic to Facebook increased steadily after 2009. More people visited Facebook than Google for the week ending March 13, 2010.

  • In March 2011 it was reported that Facebook removes approximately 20,000 profiles from the site every day for various infractions, including spam, inappropriate content and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security.

  • In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move to its new headquarters, the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California.

Without doubt Twitter and Facebook have changed many things about how we can interact with each other across the world. It is cited that social media may have even “amplified and accelerated” a revolution : Egypt, Twitter, and the rise of the watchdog crowd

Whilst writing the closing blog for this series the biggest news worthy item is about Rupert Murdoch Social media campaign takes on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. We must wait and see the final outcome for that story. But, nonetheless, social media has created a communication channel which would have been unthinkable in the days of Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich image source wikipedia

Julian of Norwich

.

We are diverse, independent and decentralized but not disenfranchised. And most definitely not alone or isolated.

Judy, Karen and Jensine (the 21st century pioneers) are already harnessing collective intelligence and actively encouraging others to do the same. There are many women and men actively involved in finding the mechanism for aggregation of ideas into collective progress.

How we help each other and what the future holds will be the content of many books and web pages for years to come. For the final thoughts about technological innovation and pioneers I would like to close with the motto of Girton College, Cambridge:

Better is wisdom than weapons of war “

Hoping that you have enjoyed this blog series. If you have great ideas to share and you would like an interview to be published on the Soft Footsteps blog pages, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

The next posting will be an index pages to access all of the blog posts and a personal dedication to some great women in my own life.

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

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Thanks to the Contributors

Thanks to the contributors

Cover page

Stars of the book

Hoping that you enjoyed the 21st century interviews as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing time and space with Judy, Karen and Jensine.

I would like to take this opportunity to again thank all 3 of our great innovators for their time and would also like to thank those who gave permission to use their articles and contents to provide the backdrop to the interviews. This background material is essential in enabling a 360 degree view of the work that is happening today.

I look forward to seeing a bright future for Judy, Karen, Jensine and the projects and work that is closest to their hearts.

___________________________________________

In the first part of this blog series we looked at the historical achievements of some amazing women and how that has shaped world we share today.

A personal aside, I am a big Doctor Who fan, which includes the current series with Matt Smiths’s Doctor and the amazing River Song But the truth is I grew up with this TV programme having lived through the series as a small girl. My favourite Doctor being the 2nd Doctor, the “cosmic hobo” played by Patrick Troughton during 1966-1969. I would loved to have been his companion and travelled back through time in the TARDIS to interview the amazing historical innovators. In many ways, I have often thought that Wikipedia acts as a TARDIS (without the scary monsters and risk of death) to access information about a wide range of subjects. I am very grateful to all of the Wikipedia “librarians” for enabling my research into the historical achievements of some amazing women.

___________________________________________

The second part of the series concentrated on the current success of three hard working and highly successful women who have made the most of living in free societies, enjoying access to the latest technology and using their time, energy and commitment to help other people to take their next innovative and life changing steps.

The final part of this series will take a brief look at how we all learn from the experience of those who have gone before us. It will also consider the role of social media in helping us work together by turning communication into interactive dialogue.

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Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

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Jensine Larsen – World Pulse – A shining example of positive action

Jensine Larsen

Founder of the World Pulse Media Enterprise

As Digital Eves is celebrating the achievements of pioneering women, a lot of research took place into women’s issues, including global issues about poverty and the environment. First thoughts were to provide some background history. The statistics were bleak:

“According to the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, it would take 150 years for the income gap between the two genders to close up due to discrimination and ineffective government policies.”

If you wish to know more about this, please take a look at the full article published by The Indian Express on Friday 18 July 2006.

The research continued and then – thanks to Google – World Pulse Media Enterprise and PulseWire shone through as a shining examples of positive action. Here are a group of people working together to make sure the tools are available so that everyone can have a voice. I was very keen to get in touch with the founder of World Pulse Media, Jensine Larsen, and discover more about her inspirational journey.

Image from the World Pulse Magazine Pages

It was obvious that Jensine was a very busy lady and I was really unsure if she’d had enough time to take part in the interviews. But like our other Digital Eves, Judy and Karen, Jensine’s commitment to her work gives her an energy that is totally infectious and it was a very happy moment when I received her reply to my first e-mail. Not only had Jensine happily agreed to share her story, but, by providing extracts from other interviews and pdf documents, Jensine also provided a great insight into a truly innovative project.

An extract from Jensine’s October 2006 mail is below:

You may be interested to know that I am devoting the bulk of my time to a breakthrough Internet communications tool for the movement to empower women worldwide. It is called PulseWire. PulseWire is an interactive Internet communications tool designed to strengthen grassroots women’s networks globally through the direct exchange of knowledge, working models and resources.

We compare it to a grassroots CNN, meets Craigslist, meets MoveOn.org. It will be a central resource platform that will allow frontline women leaders, many who are just coming online to upload their own multi-media stories/reporting, post their needs, generate movements and share their solutions to a global audience.

It is a pioneering effort designing interactive media technology in service to women by directly testing and dialoging with frontline leaders, many in remote and impoverished regions.”

About Jensine Larsen

At the age of 28, after many years as a freelance journalist reporting on indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, Jensine Larsen was inspired to create a magazine which evolved into an interactive media enterprise and a breakthrough interactive communications tool. She made her dream of broadcasting “the voices and solutions of women worldwide” – a reality.

By empowering herself and inspiring those around her, Jensine and her dedicated and professional team of supporters have provided the tools so people can easily reach out to help each other.

Jensine’s profile (extract from pdf below) provides a brief insight into what motivated her to move from freelance journalist to magazine publishing to interactive media enterprise.

As a young freelance journalist covering indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, Jensine (Yen-See Nah) Larsen had a vision—to use the power of media to unleash the creative human potential of women across the globe. “Through new media we have the power to connect and build a bold global community, to support each other’s dreams, restore our earth, heal society, and care for our children,” Larsen explains.

A few years later, at age 28, Larsen began publishing her flagship project—World Pulse Magazine. Today, with her eye on the future of communications technology in the developing world, Larsen is now building an interactive global media company designed to connect women worldwide.

As a passionate social entrepreneur and leader, Larsen has organized a dedicated staff and team of professional advisors and volunteers, supporting networks of international women’s organizations, leading journalists from around the world as well as endorsements from international luminaries and visionaries.

She has her finger on the global pulse of women’s and youth voices and is increasingly sought after for inspirational keynotes, current affairs lectures, and radio programs. She is featured on GreatWomenSpeakers.com and has appeared on NPR and Air America and presented keynotes at Hewlett Packard, Bioneers, Bennett College, and the Boulder Conference on World Affairs. She is considered one of Portland, Oregon’s up and coming “Young Creatives” according to The Oregonian (2/2/06).

Both a visionary and pioneer, Jensine is the first voice

Graduate to Launch National Media Enterprise

Before discussing the development of World Pulse Media and the PulseWire project it would be interesting to discover more about Jensine’s own journey. Below, Jensine talks about her formative years in this interview with Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz. Extracts from the interview are reproduced with the kind permission of Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz.

Jensine’s remembers her days at Mount Horeb High School, Wisconsin.

During my time at Mount Horeb High School there was a lot of harsh name calling,” Larsen recalled. “For sexuality, for my views on the Iraq war, for my work with the ecology club. Even though I was very shy my way of dealing with it was going to the school newspaper and publishing letters, starting forums. I really learned to be idealistic in the face of difficult odds.”

Later in the interview Jensine talks more about the great support she had that helped her to find the financial resources needed to create the World Pulse initiative.

My first $5000 came from the people I babysat for for ten years,” said Larsen. “They said, ‘if anybody can do this, you can.’ That was crucial, all that support. People in my life were saying ‘we believe in you. You can do this.’”

Jensine’s vision inspired her to grow personally and to understand the project from a business perspective.

I realized at a certain point that here I was trying to fulfil a very large vision and I was operating on a scarcity model,” said Larsen. “And that if I really believed in the power and the value of these voices as I was saying, then we needed to develop a business model that would live up to it and to ask for what we needed to build the company.”

In the same interview in July 2006, Jensine reviews her vision of herself and the journey she has taken.

I find myself now, a country farm girl, at the top of a lot of high, tall, glass buildings, with men in business suits, looking out over cities. I am learning how to play in the old boys’ network and transform it from the inside. And that’s a lot of fun.”

“I like how men think big,” she continued. “They are very natural about the amount of resources required to build strong businesses. It’s just not even a question. I knew when I started I would meet these incredible
women, but I did not realize how many incredible men I would meet.”

Jensine travels the USA giving key note speeches and had to conquer her own shyness and fear of public speaking to do this.

It never goes away,” she said. “But I’ve done it enough now to know that it really impacts people. People are usually very powerfully inspired afterwards and that’s worth it. I try to focus less on what are they thinking of me and more on I have something inside very powerful to express so I’m just going to let it out.”

Jensine concludes the interview with Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz with a brief analysis of the platform that World Pulse has created for thought-leaders who needed a media source to connect and share their innovations with the world.

Women began writing from all around the world who so desperately wanted to be covered by us because no one else was publishing their voices,” said Larsen. “I tapped into a real, rising, tangible desire of women to connect. They want to hear real stories, they want a media source they trust, they want to hear things that are working. I think women are looking for a media that has soul. And that’s what we are, a media with soul.”


Copyright 2006. Schutz Ink, LLC. Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz

 Creating a Craigslist for the global women’s movement

Jensine and the World Pulse team grew and began to diversify.

The article below was published in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Oregon Humanities by Mary Rechner. The article is reproduced with the kind permission of Mary Rechner and again, this provides further insight into the momentum of World Pulse and PulseWire.

Fall/Winter 2006: On Principle

Field Work: World Pulse Redux

Creating a Craigslist for the global women’s movement

Hybrids often represent an improvement on earlier models: hybrid cars, efficient and economical, run on a combination of electricity and gasoline; hybrid roses are both beautiful and hardy. Portland-based World Pulse began as a magazine that published in-depth articles about women and children around the world. After three well-received issues (the magazine was nominated for Best International Coverage 2004 and 2005 as well as Best New Title of 2004 by the Utne Independent Press Awards), its founder and editor, Jensine Larsen, is creating a hybrid of her own: something she describes as a for-profit/nonprofit “social media enterprise that can reach millions through print, web, events, radio, and television.” For the corps of “social entrepreneurs” of which Larsen considers herself a member, neither the nonprofit nor the for-profit model meets the need for social change.

As a young reporter covering indigenous and refugee communities in South America and Southeast Asia, Larsen envisioned a publication that “covered world issues from a woman’s point of view.” Back in Portland, at age twenty-eight, she set out to create just such a magazine. She began in 2002 by developing a nonprofit, World Birth Forum, to generate funding. In 2004, the premiere issue of World Pulse magazine was released with a circulation of 10,000. With an impressive editorial guiding council that includes Mariane Pearl, Lisa Ling, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Winona LaDuke, the magazine focuses on the stories of women and children working successfully to repair their war-torn and poverty-damaged worlds. Though the articles often cover grave topics such as human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and orphans in Africa, the magazine is ultimately upbeat and inspiring. It urges readers to go beyond simply being aware of aproblem and participate directly in its resolution by writing letters or e-mails and making donations. Each article concludes with contact information and suggestions about how readers can get involved. The magazine’s Tsunami Action and Synergy departments provide additional information about a huge range of women’s and children’s organizations, from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (www.awid.org) to Portland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls (www.girlsrockcamp.org). Though part of the magazine is dedicated to reviews of transglobal books, music, and movies–such as Diana Abu-Jaber’s memoir, The Language of Baklava; Siren’s Echo, an album by hip-hop duo Psalms of the Sirens; and Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter, a film by Farhad Zamani–the focus is on active political and social engagement rather than passive cultural exploration.

World Pulse is still available on the web (www.worldpulsemagazine.com), with PDF versions of past issues, as well as new articles, but Larsen and her team of journalists, designers, translators, and attorneys are preparing for the magazine’s transformation. The plan is to release a new print issue of World Pulse magazine in 2008 to coincide with the launch of the for-profit enterprise World Pulse Media and the non-profit website PulseWire. The new circulation goal for the print magazine is 100,000, which, according to Larsen, will cost $3 million–a capital requirement large enough to be deemed outside the realm of nonprofit fundraising, which necessitated the creation of two legally distinct entities with entirely separate staffs.

World Pulse Media will include an e-newsletter, World Pulse magazine, events, tours, radio and internet video, and sustainable products. PulseWire will be a multimedia web publication and include a resource exchange bulletin board, which Larsen describes as “a craigslist for the global women’s movement.”

Larsen believes that a wider audience tuned to world events will inspire more global awareness and involvement. In the early twentieth century, muckrakers exposed social injustice in popular periodicals. But Larsen isn’t content to confine her message to a magazine. In this new millennium, equipped with new technology, her hybrid may become a blueprint for other media-savvy activists
–Mary Rechner
Published in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Oregon Humanities.
© 2006 Oregon Council for the Humanities

PulseWire interactive web portal

Mary Rechner’s article beautifully describes the potential of the World Pulse Media Enterprise and the PulseWire project. It’s clear that the hub of all of this activity is to provide the tools so people can connect via grassroots networks. PulseWire’s focus is clearly described in a pdf file Jensine sent to me in October 2006 as follows:

A Rising Power:

The power to tell her story and solutions to the world.

We are on the brink of a great unleashing of human potential. From Iran to India, Chile, and Saudi Arabia, women’s web publishing is flourishing.

Image courtesy of Jensine Larsen

Women front line leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists and activists are beginning to use the web and cell phones to document urgent events, exchange critical knowledge, and develop support networks.

PulseWire connects women from the Global South and the Global North in a network to share stories, resources, and working models – and to build influential movements.

Breaking Through Paralysis

Women in the Global North are often overwhelmed with the magnitude of global problems and busy lives and they don’t know where to begin to make a difference. They seek personal connection.

Breaking Isolation

Image courtesy of Jensine Larsen

Women front line leaders in the Global South often lack the access to a platform where they can be heard by audiences that can support them. They often don’t have the luxury of time or resources to surf the web extensively to find the resources and outlets they seek.

Image courtesy of Jensine Larsen

Features:
•Real-time multi-media reporting
•Resource exchange and networking
•Blueprint sharing
•Movement building

PulseWire supports innovations in:  HIV/AIDS

Image Courtesy of Jensine Larsen

A Kenyan HIV/AIDS leader can learn effective prevention curriculum for schoolgirls from other African leaders in the field.

Urgent Event Documentation

A Guatemalan journalist can report on and document police brutality from her cell phone.

Entrepreneurial Development

Afghan women making baby bouncers out of old bicycle tires can share their business model and find new sources.

A trusted editorial service

Accessibility: PulseWire is accessible with rudimentary technology from cell phones to slow dial ups. A citizen media toolkit will train women to easily blog and upload their own photos, video, and audio. Multi-lingual capacity is planned.

Authenticity: Editorial Curators verify and corroborate featured stories through our trusted editorial network. An editorial seal of approval assures readers that information is from a reliable source.

Diversity: Our Editorial Action Center proactively reaches into remote and impoverished regions through our network to engage voices that are systematically under-heard.

Magnification: We will syndicate story and lead services to mainstream media such as Reuters and BBC to amplify breaking news through women’s eyes.

Technology designed by and for women

Image courtesy of Jensine Larsen

User-centered design and development

Global grassroots partnerships

Leading corporate and technology partners

Strategic brand marketing to leaders of women’s networks and grassroots circles worldwide.

All images from the pdf file supplied by Jensine Larsen.

PulseWire is a 501 © 3 organization and a part of the World Pulse Media Enterprise

The Inspiration behind the World Pulse Media Enterprise

MB

Jensine, thank you so much for agreeing to share the story of your journey and for providing information about your background, the development of the World Pulse Media Enterprise and the PulseWire initiative.

I’m keen to hear more about the progress of the PulseWire project but first could you please talk about the inspiration behind the World Pulse Media Enterprise. You created the World Pulse magazine with no previous publishing experience. The magazine was very impressive and it has now evolved into something truly impressive and far reaching. What was the key event that made you decide you had to start this amazing journey?

JL

I was working as a free-lance journalist along the Burma-Thailand border covering the stories of women refugees who had fled ethnic cleansing inside of Burma. When I interviewed these women, instead of being filled with despair, I was filled with courage and hope. They had flames of determination in their eyes, strong visions for their country’s future, and they were building road maps together, locally and globally, to realize those visions. Even in the face of unimaginable odds, with no resources and no homeland under their feet, they were finding a way to do what they could to create a better life for their children and families. Again and again they told me that they yearned for the rest of the world to hear their stories and ideas.

At the time, I dreamed of a magazine that could broadcast the voices and solutions of women worldwide. I realized that women’s global leadership was rising everywhere, from remote villages to international courts and corporate boardrooms, and that these thought-leaders would need a media source to connect and share their innovations with the world.

However, as a young 23-year-old woman, I pushed my vision to the back of my mind because I didn’t believe that I was the one to do it. Although I could travel into isolated nations ruled by brutal dictatorships without fear, I was terrified to start a business. I was shy, had no financial resources and no publishing experience whatsoever. But the voices of my beloved friends from Burma, kept returning to me over the years. I knew they continued to risk their lives to free their country from repression and fear.

At 28, in 2002, I realized that I could no longer deny my passion for this vision, and that the risk was tiny compared to the bravery of my friends from Burma. I began to speak about my vision for World Pulse and I found that many other people shared my dream and they came forward to help.”

MB

Due to travelling and schedules there was a short break in our correspondence between December 2006 – March 2007. It was great to catch up with the World Pulse Media Enterprise’s latest progress with the PulseWire initiative and to gain an insight into Jensine’s own personal inspiration with the closing questions of the interview.

2007 and beyond

MB

Jensine, I can see that you’ve been very busy since we last exchanged mails in December 2006 and the PulseWire web portal is now at beta test phase. Exciting and positive progress. What are the next steps for 2007?

JL

We recently completed our prototype of PulseWire with a very small, dedicated team that worked long hours to develop our concept. We sometimes joke that this core team is like the “camels that carried the jewel across the desert.” Now, we have a full, experienced team and we are about to embark on our beta phase, where we will test PulseWire with networks that are building solutions to the top 3 greatest threats to women and girls in the world: HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and environmental destruction.

We are all excited and scared because of the enormity of the task and the potential, creating a tool that crosses so many political, cultural and economic divides. We are all aware that we will learn a tremendous amount through a process of deep listening to the real needs of women on the ground. We may have to completely redesign our concept, but we are prepared mentally for this and we will be adaptable and agile in service to our mission.

Once we complete our beta, we plan to open the site to our wider community in a soft launch in the fall of 2007.”

Role Models and Personal Inspiration

MB

Jensine, this hugely exciting and again, many thanks for providing some space in your very busy days to take part in the Digital Eves interviews and sharing your personal story and the story of the World Pulse Media Enterprise with us. For the final closing questions it would be good to hear any words of inspiration you have for others.

 Who were/are your role models?

JL

Aung San Suu Kyi, for her unwavering commitment to freedom from fear for the people of Burma. She lights my path, and for millions in Burma and the world.

Eleanor Rooseveltfor single handedly opening journalism as an serious opportunity for women in this country by hosting briefings with only women journalists, which pressed newsrooms to hire women reporters.

All the women globally who advance their visions in the face of incredible odds.”

MB

Are there any particular books, films or songs that inspire you?

JL

Music is a part of my soul. I wouldn’t be able to continue with the challenges with building World Pulse if I weren’t able to put on my headphones and run and dance. I particularly love the bold voices of Angelique Kidjo, Cesaria Evora, Shusheela Ramen, Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush, Susie Suh, and Lisa Gerrard.

As for books, there are too many to mention in my lifetime. For now, I don’t have time to read and my editorial team chooses their favourites to recommend to the World Pulse audience. I trust them implicitly.”

MB

Can you define any pivotal moments? – i.e. moments that told you that you were on the right track in terms of the work you’ve undertaken and the choices you’ve made during your career.

JL

Every time I speak and a woman, man or girl comes up to me with tears in their eyes telling me that they want to be a part of this worldwide movement of possibility and transformation. At that moment I am always reminded that I am on the right path.”

MB

Jensine, thank you again for sharing the motivation and vision that is the World Pulse Media Enterprise and PulseWire. It has been wonderful to share your inspiration and energy.

****************************************************

Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Karen Coppock – Social Entrepreneurship and Building Businesses

Karen Coppock

Image Source : Karen Coppock

Vice President of Consulting Services for Vital Wave Consulting, which provides research and strategic consulting services to enable high-tech multi-national firms to accelerate growth in emerging markets.

The interview with Karen began in October 2006. At that time Karen was Director of Industry Collaboration for the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford University and Senior Advisor to the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University. At the beginning of the interview we discussed Karen’s work at the Stanford program and in April 2007 we began discussing the new challenges she’s facing building up a consulting practice for a women owned and run business, Vital Wave Consulting.

Vital Wave Consulting

Vital Wave Consulting provides strategic consulting and customized market and business intelligence to assist multinational technology firms with accelerating growth in emerging markets. The company applies proprietary market modelling tools, research and business management experience to give clients a credible assessment of business growth opportunities and market dynamics and a plan to realize these opportunities.

Vital Wave Consulting provides clients with Advice from the inside out. Our team has Fortune 50 experience, On-the-ground knowledge, and Cross-sector expertise. Our proprietary Market Model tool provides hard-to-find, reliable data for 182 countries that business managers can use to make informed decisions. Our team has lived and worked in emerging markets spanning the globe and has managed initiatives for in large high-tech MNCs, government agencies, relief organizations, university departments, social enterprises, and small businesses. We understand the distinct vocabularies, missions and dynamics of these diverse organizations and how they interplay in emerging markets and influence technology decision making processes, market segments and distribution.

Reuters Digital Vision Program

Stanford and Santa Clara Universities are located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Karen was involved with two social entrepreneurship programs in this area. She was the Director of Industry Collaboration to the Stanford Digital Vision Program and a Senior Advisor for Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator.

As published on the Reuters Digital Vision Program (RDVP) homepage – the Digital Vision Program is Technology for the social enterprise:

“The Digital Vision Program provides social entrepreneurs with a creative environment and platform to design and implement innovative and scalable technology-based solutions for untapped markets around the world. DV entrepreneurs spend nine months in residence at Stanford to developing information technology based solutions in the areas of health, education, and financial services for emerging markets.

We are an independent center located at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, itself the epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship. This location uniquely positions us to provide social entrepreneurs with a creative environment to incubate their ideas, platforms to prototype their innovative solutions, and opportunities to cultivate and leverage a rich set of relationships spanning academia, industry, and the public and non-profit sectors.”

As published on the Global Social Benefit Incubator’s (GSBI) homepage – the Global Social Benefit Incubator was an intensive two-week business boot camp for social entrepreneurs:

The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) provides an intensive two-week residential program at Santa Clara University that enables successful technology innovators to scale their endeavors and achieve sustainability. Presented by the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society and the Lea

vey School of Business Administration, the GSBI offers the unique context of a Jesuit university dedicated to social justice combined with leading resources of Silicon Valley. The invited social benefit entrepreneurs have demonstrated their commitment to applying technology to address urgent human needs throughout the world and have achieved recognition through the rigorous selection process of the prestigious Tech Museum’s Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace, the City of Rome’s Global Junior Challenge competitions, or as Schwab Fellows.

Living and learning together, participants develop common conceptual skills and the sense of community that is essential for peer-to-peer collaboration and access to mentor support following the residential program. Participants develop know-how in critical areas of business planning, including technology and service innovation, target marketing, business models, finance and organizational capacity building. The GSBI combines classroom instruction, case studies, and best practices with carefully matched mentoring on the specific scaling and sustainability challenges of each participating organization. This ongoing collaboration is supported by a distance-learning platform that also enables the Center for Science, Technology, and Society to track the progress of participants once they return to their home locations. This platform also provides venture access to MBA consulting teams. Through the access to world-class partnerships and resources, participating social benefit entrepreneurs are empowered to accelerate their technological innovations. This is a transformational program to people with the power and vision to change the world.

  • In her roles as Director Industry Collaboration and Senior Advisor, Karen utilized her strategy, partnership development, relationship management, and program development skills to improve the performance of social enterprises.
  • Karen created specialized training courses, identified and connected entrepreneurs to critical resources, and provided one-on-one advice and mentoring to more than one hundred social entrepreneurs from around the world.
  • As she lived in Latin America for almost a decade, Karen is fluent in Spanish. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala and Uruguay from 1991-1994.
  • In 2005, Karen completed her doctoral research at Tufts University’s Fletcher School on cross-sector partnerships designed to increase Internet usage in Mexico.
  • Prior to her doctorate, Karen spent four years with Telcordia, most recently as Assistant Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Latin America. Before joining Telcordia, Karen launched and headed the Latin American regional sales office for Williams Communications. Karen has also held positions with INTELSAT, Pacific Bell, AT&T and Harvard’s Center for International Development (Information Technology Group).
  • Karen is an Affiliate of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and was a member of the Graduate Student Committee for Stanford’s Social Innovation Review. She has published in leading academic journals and books.
  • Karen received her Doctoral and Master’s Degrees in international relations from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. She graduated cum laude in business administration and modern languages (Spanish) from California State University at Chico. During her undergraduate studies, she spent an academic year at The University of Madrid in Spain and while studying for her master’s degree, she spent a quarter at the Pan-American Institute for Business Administration (IPADE) in Mexico City, Mexico.

No such thing as a typical week

MB
Karen, again, many thanks for agreeing to talk to us about your journey into New Media and social enterprise.
To start with, can you describe a typical week in your role as Director of Industry Collaboration for the Stanford Digital Vision Program?

KC
One of the things I liked best about my roles in the Digital Vision Program and GSBI
was that there was no such thing as a typical week. Throughout the year, the needs and demands of the social entrepreneurs, the program cycles, partnership and curriculum development activities ebbed and flowed.

The GSBI and RDVP were similar in that they supported entrepreneurs who were harnessing the power of new media – videoblogs, wikis, cell phones, etc – for social benefit. The programs differed in two key areas: target audience and length of the in-residence program. The RDVP assisted entrepreneurs with launching new ventures whereas the GSBI focused on aiding award winning social enterprises with scaling up their impact and reach. The GSBI social entrepreneurs spent two-weeks in residence while RDVP entrepreneurs spent nine-months in-residence. Both programs drew upon the academic resources of their institutions as well as seasoned professionals from Silicon Valley as mentors and lecturers. In addition, both the GSBI and RDVP used an online collaboration platform (wikis) to facilitate ongoing support and networking.

August and September were the most intense months of the year. I spent the first two weeks of August in residence at Santa Clara with the GSBI social entrepreneurs. The latter two weeks of August were devoted to finalizing the orientation schedule and preparing for the arrival of the Digital Vision social entrepreneurs. The objective of the RDVP orientation was twofold: begin to establish social ties between the social entrepreneurs and learn about the 15 projects to be developed during the nine-month period.

Aside from exposure to the inner workings of world-class universities and the Silicon Valley innovation-machine, an objective of the in-residence component of the RDVP and GSBI is to construct a global network of technology oriented social entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneurship is a lonely endeavour. One of the most common comments voiced by participants in both the GSBI and RDVP was isolation: the entrepreneurs felt like lone warriors in the war against poverty and injustice. They battled endlessly and tirelessly to expedite social change yet were seldom lauded for their efforts and were sometimes even criticized for the noble work they were doing. The social entrepreneurs selected to attend the GSBI and RDVP have intense drive, passion, and an incredible knack for mobilizing scarce resources. These individuals could have achieved great wealth and influence if they had pursued more traditional career paths, but they have elected to devote their talents to society at large.

From September through July, I devoted most of my time to the RDVP.

In 2006/early 2007 my time was divided between two main activities: advising and mentoring the social entrepreneurs and developing and executing the program curriculum.

The 2006 – 2007 class is comprised of social entrepreneurs that represent 11 countries (Brazil, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States), speak at least 15 languages, and have an average of 12 years work experience and two university degrees.

An advisor and mentor

MB
Please can you give some more details about your work as an advisor and mentor?

KC
At least three or four times a day, I had spontaneous advising sessions with one of our social entrepreneurs. Some of our entrepreneurs were shy and lingered by my door waiting for an invitation to talk while others were bolder and confidently strolled right into my office. Questions ranged from input on business models, to partnership strategies, to needs assessment techniques and often, funding sources and approaches. Often times the entrepreneur simply wants to announce an achievement or share news of the completion of a milestone. Given that these entrepreneurs hail from more than 15 emerging markets, are developing solutions based on diverse technological platforms and for a variety of social challenges, the conversations were rarely dull.

These entrepreneurs have also left their home countries, social networks and comfort zone. Cognizant of this, I kept my door open so that I was always available to provide them with the support, kudos, advice, or encouragement they needed to be successful. Although it was sometimes difficult to concentrate or finish everything on my to-do list with constant interruptions, these interactions were by far the most rewarding part of my job and they were the primary reason I joined the DV Program.

With my background in marketing and business development, I focused a great deal of my time assisting these social entrepreneurs with crafting their elevator pitches, value propositions, and fund raising presentations and strategies. The concept of an elevator pitch was foreign to most of our entrepreneurs, many of which are technologists or engineers. When asked to deliver an elevator pitch, one participant in the GSBI noted that they do not have elevators in their home city in India and he had no idea what this phrase meant. Almost all of the RDVP and GSBI entrepreneurs are seeking partners, funds, and resources from Silicon Valley- an area where elevators are plentiful and attention spans are limited. Elevator pitches, therefore, are key. During the RDVP orientation, I led a workshop on crafting elevator pitches, or a one minute description of the value proposition behind the social enterprise. This workshop was reinforced by an incredible half-day workshop organized by one of our strategic partners, SAP, which focused on clearly, concisely and effectively communicating your message in Silicon Valley.

During the first half dozen or so RDVP seminars, I asked the entrepreneurs to practice their elevator pitches. We also required the entrepreneurs to put their pitches in 60 words or less for the 2006-7 RDVP brochure.

All of this work seems to have paid off. Shashank Garg – one of the RDVP’s social entrepreneurs – noted that the discipline of describing his venture and solution in 60 or less words greatly assisted with a proposal he submitted for a World Bank Development Marketplace Award . Shashank, and his wife Isha, are working on a very exciting mobile integrated disease surveillance system project 1.

Shashank is an incredibly talented technologist from India and was one of the initial developers of the Simputer. Isha is a medical doctor on sabbatical from St. John’s Medical College in India. Shashank recently submitted a proposal for a global competition. He commented that the proposal required him to explain his project in only 700 characters – punctuation included! He said that the elevator pitch training was essential in enabling him to concisely explain his project and write a compelling proposal for the World Bank.

Development of the Digital Vision Program

MB
Please can you give some more details about the development of the program curriculum?

KC
2006/2007 was an exciting time at the DV Program. After five years of continuous activity and rapid change, we decided to step back, reflect on, and refine the program curriculum. During this process, I met with our alumni, mentors, and partner network to determine which set of resources and activities would be most effective in accelerating the development of our social enterprises. I first defined a successful fellowship and the set of deliverables that the program would expect from the social entrepreneur at the end of their fellowship. I then developed a curriculum, which was structured, yet not overbearing.

I complimented the traditional weekly seminar speaker series with weekly workshops. In addition, I added twice quarterly specialized training courses developed and delivered by our partners, established project teams, and enhanced the mentoring program. After the curriculum was developed, I worked on scheduling the speakers and workshops.

Making it happen

MB
This work is providing breakthroughs at many levels. What makes it happen?

KC
The DV’s valued partners make this unique program possible. The partners’ technical, intellectual, and financial resources greatly strengthen the DV Program and improve the viability of individual social entrepreneurs’ projects. We specifically sought partners that shared our vision, culture, and creativity.

MB
When discussing the program curriculum you mentioned: “
After five years of continuous activity and rapid change, we decided to step back, reflect on, and refine the program curriculum
Your answer clearly outlines the direction that DV is taking to support social enterprise in the future. It may also be helpful for the reader to understand how DV actually started.

KC
“We wanted to create an initiative which both reflected the Company’s reputation for innovation in the use of new technology and delivered practical solutions to people in the developing world.”

– Tom Glocer, Reuters Chief Executive Officer in 2001

The Reuters Foundation, and Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), co-created the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford in the Fall of 2001. Professor Byron Reeves, the Director of the CSLI, met the Reuters Foundation’s Executive Director during her fist visit to Stanford. In this meeting, they discovered synergies between CSLI’s core competencies in technology development and the Reuters Foundation’s vision for the RDVP. Both the Reuters Foundation and Profess Byron Reeves, the Director of CSLI were excited about leveraging CSLI’s expertise in basic technological research and technology transfer, for humanitarian ends. The RDVP was born.

The founding Director of the RDVP is Stuart Gannes. Through his use of viral marketing, The RDVP rapidly became a magnet for social entrepreneurs who were passionate about an idea or social problem they believed could be solved using technology. I joined the team in 2004. What began as a partnership development role quickly metamorphosized into something much more dynamic and exciting position. Over the past year, I have secured two new industry partnerships, redesigned the program curriculum, conducted an analysis of the results of the program (status of our alumni’s projects) and provided one-on-one advising to more than 50 social entrepreneurs from countries as diverse as India, Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and South Africa.

Since 2001, DV Fellows have probed the boundaries of information technology services. Of the 79 Digital Vision Fellowships awarded since 2002, some 53 new media projects have been prototyped, 37 were pilot-tested or implemented, 18 were handed off, 11 were incorporated, and more than $12 million has been invested for their development. DV solutions have created jobs, educated children and improved health outcomes in 22 countries including India, Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, Kenya, and Bangladesh.

Several DVP projects have received international recognition and awards including: Stockholm Challenge (3 finalists), the World Bank’s Development Marketplace Award, Manathan Award for quality e-Content in India, the Tech Museum’s Awards for Technology for Humanity (Tech Laureate), and Ranier Arnhold and Ashoka Fellowships.

Revolutionary workshops and seminars

MB
Returning to the 2006/2007 DV program curriculum, you also mentioned the weekly workshops.
From the examples that you’ve provided about Jon Duggan and Scott Heiferman- can you please explain a little more about workshop content and where the workshops take place?

KC
Each week we covered a specific topic, first with a workshop and then a seminar. These sessions were traditionally held in the meeting rooms downstairs from the offices at Cordura Hall at Stanford University
. Sometimes one of our partner organizations hosts a workshop at their facilities, such as the case of the half-day effective communications workshop hosted at SAP Labs in October.

In the Fall quarter of 2006, we spent a week on community building. Our first event was a Tuesday afternoon workshop led by Jon Dugan, CEO of Matson Systems and an expert in community building. Jon’s four-hour workshop began with a discussion of the five elements of an effective off-line community. He then explained how these elements applied to the online world and outlined the new media tools, which were particularly appropriate for building effective online communities. His session, like most of RDVP activities, was highly interactive.

In the last two hours of Jon’s session, the group jointly outlined the elements of an effective community for RDVP entrepreneur, Steve Vosloo’s Digital Hero project.

Two days later, Scott Heiferman, Founder of MeetUp, came to Cordua Hall as one of our seminar speakers. As with many of our seminar speakers, during Scott’s ninety minute seminar, he spoke both about his personal voyage and a specific area of content. Scott led the social entrepreneurs through his journey from revolutionizing campaign fundraising as a part of Howard Dean’s online donation campaign to co-founding MeetUp . He also shared with the entrepreneurs tips on building effective communities and how he has connected more than 2 million people across the United States.

The Move to Vital Wave Consulting

MB
On 15 April 2007, Karen sent me an email advising that she had become Vice President of Consulting Services for Vital Wave Consulting, which provides research and strategic consulting services to enable high-tech
multi-national firms to accelerate growth in emerging markets. Vital Wave was a partner of the Stanford Digital Vision program and also assists social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations with strategy setting and business plan development. Vital Wave Consulting’s headquarters is also located in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, California, USA.

Karen, you are a truly energetic and proactive lady. Firstly congratulations on your new role, this sounds very exciting. What motivated you to join Vital Wave Consulting?

KC
I was extremely impressed with the Vital Wave Consulting’s founder – Brooke Partridge -, team and market niche. They were one of the few organizations that we worked with at Stanford, that truly understood the local environments in countries such as India, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines. They were also adamant about applying traditional business rigor to the social enterprises’ business plans, which strengthened them immensely.

During Stanford’s winter break, Brooke invited me to work on a short-term project in the telecom industry. Intrigued, I accepted and was quickly hooked. The work was fascinating. I managed a team from around the world – India, Brazil, Costa Rica and Seattle – that designed a comprehensive emerging market strategy for a Fortune 50 firm. The elements of this strategy included developing a product roadmap, business model, go-to-market strategy, and integrated implementation plan for SE Asia, China, India and Latin America. The time frames were aggressive, the client demanding, the intellectual challenge immense and I thrived on the experience.

This short-term project blossomed into a full-time, executive-level position with Vital Wave Consulting and I am extremely excited about this new shift in my career.

MB
Can you please provide an insight into the work you will be involved with?

KC
My activities at Vital Wave Consulting will be twofold: build the consulting practice and deliver strategic consulting services to Fortune 500 and non-profit clients.

My first task is to build the infrastructure and team to deliver consulting services. And a stable of qualitative consultants from Vital Wave Consulting offers services in the areas of market intelligence (e.g. – market sizing and forecasting, segmentation modelling and profiling), Business intelligence (e.g. – value chain analysis, business modelling, competitive landscape) and Strategic analysis and business planning (e.g. – business case development and analysis and detailed business planning). For each of our primary offerings, I will develop toolkits – templates, lists of resources and an example of a high-quality deliverable – which the consultants and analysts will use to facilitate consistency in client deliverables and quality levels.

I will also be assembling a global team of consultants and analysts, each of which will have a particular functional (e.g – finance, marketing), industry (e.g. – information technology, telecom, public sector) and/or geographic expertise. Through the Stanford and Santa Clara programs, I have a wealth of contacts in emerging markets and have already brought a Stanford Digital Vision alumnus on board to head our Indian operations.

In addition to building out our consulting services infrastructure and team, I will be focusing on delivering consulting services to our clients. As the Vice President in charge of consulting, I have oversight of all of our client engagements and am ultimately responsible for an on-time, on-budget, satisfactory delivery of consulting services. In my first month on board with Vital Wave Consulting, I visited Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico and managed the delivery of three client engagements with input from consultants and analysts across the globe. Late night and early morning phone calls have become the norm and sleep a luxury.

MB
Will this new role be very different from your work at Stanford?

KC
The primary distinction between my current role and my work at Stanford is the nature of the client. At Stanford and Santa Clara, I advised technology-oriented social enterprises. At Vital Wave Consulting, the vast majority of our client base is Fortune 500 companies. That said, the basic work, assisting organizations with accelerating technology usage in emerging markets, remains the same. In both cases, an effective strategy must be based on a solid understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic context of the particular market along with business rigor to be successful. I believe that high-tech multi-nationals can learn a great deal from social entrepreneurs and visa versa and luckily, I am in a unique position to be able to facilitate these learnings for everyone’s benefit.

MB
Again, many thanks for providing some space in your very busy days to take part in the Digital Eves interviews and for the final closing questions it would be interesting to hear any words of inspiration you have for others.

Role Models and Personal Inspiration

MB
Who were/are your role models?

KC
I am lucky to come from a family of very strong and accomplished women. My grandmother, mother and aunts have been, and continue to be, excellent role models for me.

When I was fifteen, I wanted to go to Washington DC with my high school political science class. The trip was organized by a non-profit organization and donations made to cover our travel expenses were tax deductible. My Mother, therefore, said I could attend if I could raise the funds to cover my expenses. It cost some $1,000 for the week long trip – a fortune for me at the time. I confided to my Grandmother that I couldn’t go to Washington DC as it was impossible to raise so much money. My Grandmother frowned, told me I was foolish to let such an incredible opportunity pass me by, and said we would figure out a strategy for raising these funds. My Grandma, mother and I brainstormed and came up with a thermometer which showed how much money I needed and how much I had raised to date. My Grandmother then went with me while I went door to door soliciting donations at companies in my hometown. It was extremely intimidating to walk into an office building, present my thermometer and ask for funds, but Grandma was waiting, so I had no choice.

In one office, the receptionist sent me in to talk to her boss – he was a gruff looking man in a suit. He never once looked up as I introduced myself, held up my thermometer and gave my one minute pitch. Without looking at me he threw a dollar bill on the floor. I looked at the dollar and fled his office in tears. When I told my Grandma what had happened, she was appalled that I had been so disrespectful as to walk away from a donation. Having grown up in the depression, she was not one to ever turn her nose up at a donation, no matter how small the amount. She demanded that I return to the office and apologize for my rude behaviour. I told her no, I couldn’t possibly do that. She looked me square in the eyes and said “you can do it Karen, I know you can” I had no choice – Grandma was more intimidating than the mean boss. I returned to the bosses office, apologized for my rudeness, thanked him for his donation and picked the dollar off of the floor. As I was walking out of the door, the man called me back, asked me to show him the thermometer and tell him why I wanted to go to DC. He then took out his checkbook and wrote a check for $100. I went to DC that year…..a few years later I raised triple the amount and went to Spain for a school trip. Now anytime I am dreading entering into a difficult situation, I take a deep breath, think back to my Grandma saying, “you can do it Karen, I know you can” and push open the door and conquer.

MB
Karen, it is heart warming that your family are at the roots of your inspirational work. Are there any particular books, films or songs that inspire you?

KC
One of my favourite books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. A good friend of mine gave this to me when I joined the Peace Corps and I have read it hundreds of times. Dr. Seuss so accurately captures the fact that you shape your own destiny, that the road is filled with ups and downs, and that you will fail and get into a slump, and it is hard, but you will pull yourself up and move forward as he concludes, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So….get on your way!”

MB
Can you define any pivotal moments? – i.e. moments that told you that you were on the right track in terms of the work you’ve undertaken and the choices you’ve made during your career.

KC
In mid-2000, just months after winning Telcordia Technologies’ highly competitive CEO Award in recognition of significant business success and exemplary teamwork, I handed in my resignation. My boss was astounded; I had just made one of the largest sales in my region to an extremely difficult customer and had been selected to participate in Telcordia’s leadership development program designed for high-potential, succession candidates. Although I loved the challenge and intensity of my role as Associate Vice President, Strategic Accounts, I was craving a new adventure. Just months later, I was enrolled in a doctoral program at Tufts University. I had finally found a way to merge my unique background in grassroots economic development and the high-tech industry: my research was based upon the intersection of development, technology and business. In late 2001, my old boss called me – he said that he didn’t think I was crazy anymore as he had just laid off the last member of his team and was likely to leave the company himself in a few months. The timing of my departure had actually been excellent as I was sheltered from the fall out associated with the dot com bust. Furthermore, my doctoral research had focused on developing the high-tech market in developing countries, a major area of emphasis for high tech companies – including the RDVP’s partners and Vital Wave Consulting’s clients.

MB
Karen, your enthusiasm and drive shines through your words – your energy is truly contagious. Thank s again for providing an insight into the positive and proactive work of RDVP, discussing the exciting days you will have building up your consulting practice with Vital Wave Consulting and your own personal inspiration. It is a great privilege to share these thoughts and words with you.

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1Shashank Garg, Mobile, Integrated Disease Surveillance System: http://shashankgarg.blogspot.com/

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 19, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Judy Breck – How online education helps to save one child at a time

Judy Breck

Author and Internet pioneer who is convinced that ignorance and terrorism will be ended by global connectivity.

Judy summarises her own career path in her Brief Bio as follows:

  • Generalist

  • New Yorker and Texan

  • Blogger

  • Author of 4 books about internet knowledge for learning

  • Led creation of largest Internet collection of open content learning links 1997-2001

  • Before 1997:
    mentor, web author, desktop publisher, deacon, painter, politician, copywriter, debate coach, teacher, amateur of the sciences

I first found Judy by following a Carnival of the Mobilists link from the OpenGardens blog to Judy’s Golden Swamp blog.

GoldenSwamp.com is dedicated to explaining and showcasing one particular golden emergence: that of an open content network of what is known by humankind available in common to each person on earth.

A brief definition of the Golden Swamp:

  • Do you think the Internet is a creepy place?
  • That idea is a main cause of the failure of learning in the digital age.

  • The freshest, most authentic knowledge is now on the Internet.

  • Schools have not embraced the global virtual knowledge ecology.

  • The established education industry has instead spent the past decade filtering Internet learning out of our kids’ lives.

Judy is a prolific and enlightened blogger. Not only does she produce the amazing Golden Swamp blog but, she is also on the team of Howard Rheingold’s blog at Smartmobs. As well as Judy’s blogs, her articles and books should be mandatory for everyone involved with education, Internet usage and technological development.

Judy’s articles include ‘Education Unwired‘ and an early plea for website quality published by the New York New Media Association in 1996 called ‘Unkinking the Communication Hose’.

In summer 2006, in the Education Technology Magazine, Judy published the article ‘WHY IS EDUCATION NOT IN THE UBIQUITOUS WEB WORLD PICTURE?

An extract from that article follows:

You may believe that education does not belong in the open chaos of the emerging Internet. But thinking that misses a wonderful new cognitive order of learning that emerges from the chaos of connected knowledge. Education should be right in there with the other major elements in the ubiquitous mix of the Web world. The openness of the content within the Internet is a change for learning that is as complete as the invention of phonetic symbols was for language. But that is getting ahead of our story.

Judy has produced four insightful books about using the Internet as a tool for learning

  1. The Wireless Age

  2. How We Will Learn in the 21st Century

  3. 2004, Connectivity – the answer to ending ignorance and separation (Can you hear me yet?)

  4. 2006, 109 Ideas for Virtual Learning

Ajit Jaokar met Judy when he visited New York in 2006 and soon after that meeting we were both delighted that Judy agreed to take part in the Digital Eves project.

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MB
Judy, with such an amazing portfolio of blogs, articles and books it is difficult to know where to start the interview. One of your blogs that I read with great interest was called “
The End of Awful” . That blog was published on September 11,2006 the day after your 70th birthday. One particular sentence really struck me – “I do not think terrorism can survive everyone in the world learning from the same page, sharing that experience in the commons, and creatively mixing and mashing their cultures.” This is one of the most insightful statements I’ve ever read. Please could you explain a little more about your theories on how networks and connectivity will end ignorance and terror?

JB
My Christian faith teaches me that each one of us owes no master other than the God who is Love and forgives us. My political convictions begin with the individualism that broke loose in ancient Athens and was expressed by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote in the American Declaration of Independence: all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. My experience with education has demonstrated that the deepest flaw in schools today is the lack of trust in other people’s children.

The mischief the leads to terrorism and the tyranny always gets its traction by suppressing the individual. Ignorance is a condition that allows tyranny to move into power, and indoctrination that lets the bars down for terrorism always comes from the top down.

Almost suddenly—over a period of barely a decade—the planet is wrapped in wires and beams that are about to connect everyone to everyone else, and each of us to a grand commons bountiful with everything known by humankind. Think about this:

Only individuals can participate in the Internet connectivity. All the power flows from individual nodes. There are no hierarchies. This empowerment of the individual is amplified by the end of isolation where terrorism can incubate. Longer range, it will be the end of ignorance that will bring the global golden age of liberty.

Each of our own children and all of other people’s children will learn from the commons. Ignorance will end globally—and will end in a way that has never happened before. American kids will not be taught one version of history while Iranian kids are taught another. Kids from all over the world will study from the commons, learning history from the same virtual pages. And there is more. If there is disagreement the new generations will be connected with each other as individuals, not isolated. They can confer and collaborate. They can decide which pages of history too are true; this is already happening on Wikipedia.

Of course optimism in public affairs and learning always comes back to what you think of other people’s children. That question is seldom discussed publicly. I recommend it for personal reflection. If you believed in your heart that a child in Kenya, or Mongolia, or the rougher part of your own town has unalienable worth and the potential to make major contributions to the future, my guess is you would have been a rare person in generations before the 21st century. Perhaps the most interesting thing that will happen in the next decade or two, is we are going to find out just how well other people’s children will do. They will have the greatest equality of opportunity to learn in human history. I believe in them. Do you?

MB
I do believe that there is a bright future for all the children of the world and that bright future will depend upon people trusting each other. However, the future will also depend upon us – the current ‘generation of grown-ups’ being sensible trustees of the planet.

JB
By believing in other people’s children I am getting at something different than trusting each other. Believing in other people’s children is seeing the potential of an emaciated Darfur child as equal to that of your own toddler. It is not assuming at any level in your own thinking that blacks cannot succeed or that Arabs are innately violent. It is proper human nature to see the potential in your own child. But what I see as a fundamental problem with the way we did education in the 20th century is that schools could become mechanisms for isolating and dismissing groups of other people’s children.

The old saying goes that you can only save one child at a time. We can only believe in other people’s children (or our own, for that matter) one by one. It is the individual that has worth and that has potential. The digital and mobile age gives us a way to deliver learning to one kid at a time.

MB
Perhaps we ‘grown-ups’ need to find the best ways to work together and grow technology that is easy to use and freely accessible whoever you are and wherever you are – and making sure that it’s available to all children. Which, I believe, is pretty much in alignment with your philosophy and the philosophy behind this book – celebrating the achievements of individuals to inspire others to find their own pioneering pathway.

JB
I am not disagreeing with what you say. One child is an individual. That is the key. Yes, grown up individuals are the key too, of course. As to getting grown-ups to work together, this has proven exceedingly difficult when it comes to the education industry. I ranted a bit about that today (20 October 2006) on this GoldenSwamp.com post: – How to do laboratory science in the 21st century

MB
That post is an excellent example of some of the ‘challenges’ to open learning. With your kind permission, I’d like to include it in this book.

JB
Certainly, you have my permission to use this post.

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How to do laboratory science in the 21st century

[post from the Schools We Have Now category at Golden Swamp.com]

This morning the New York Times has a story on the front page that is ten years old in its timing. It asks—as if it were newsworthy—whether virtual science is a good way to teach high school students. It seems the vaunted College Board has decided to challenge the online labs that provide experiments in mixing chemicals, dissecting tissue, and other expensive and now rare on-hands school laboratory traditions.

Maybe in 1996 these would have been worthwhile questions. But in the meantime here are some changes virtual science has caused: Detailed, realistic online labs have replaced NO labs that students would find in many schools. Virtual experiments offer experiences considered too dangerous to be done in a brick and mortar lab. Lessons using tissue spare the lives of experimental animals. Virtual experiments offer a broad range and variety of levels of difficulty impossible in a classroom full of kids.

Nonetheless complains, “Trevor Packer, the [College] board’s executive director for Advanced Placement [:] “You could have students going straight into second-year college science courses without ever having used a Bunsen burner.”

In 2006, using a Bunsen burner is an insurmountable obstacle for teenagers in failing schools, developing countries, and places with strict fire codes. With today’s technology you could easily do a virtual Bunsen burner lesson on your mobile phone screen. Yet the vaunted Gray Lady New York Times, who probably carried a story about Robert Bunsen’s burner invention in 1855, is giving front page coverage to going back to 19th century schooling. Here is some flavor of that from the NY Times article:

John Watson, an education consultant who wrote a report last year documenting virtual education’s growth, said online schools had faced lawsuits over financing and resistance by local school boards but nothing as daunting as the College Board. “This challenge threatens the advance of online education at the national level in a way that I don’t think there are precedents for,” Mr. Watson said.

The board signaled a tough position this year: “Members of the College Board insist that college-level laboratory science courses not be labeled ‘A.P.’ without a physical lab,” the board said in a letter sent to online schools in April. “Online science courses can only be labeled ‘A.P.’ if the online provider” can ensure “that students have a guided, hands-on (not virtual) laboratory experience.”But after an outcry by online schools, the board issued an apology in June, acknowledging that “there may be new developments” in online learning that could merit its endorsement. . . .

[And what does the accrediting industry itself—of which the College Board is a prime example— show when it measures online labs?] On the 2005 administration of the A.P. biology exam, for instance, 61 percent of students nationwide earned a qualifying score of three or above on the A.P.’s five-point system. Yet 71 percent of students who took A.P. biology online through the Florida Virtual School, and 80 percent of students who took it from the Virtual High School, earned a three or higher on that test. “The proof is in the pudding,” said Pam Birtolo, chief learning officer at the Florida Virtual School.

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MB
The above post does demonstrate very well the complexity in getting grown-ups to work together and the need for educational pioneers.

As this book is about considering what events in a person’s life inspires them to become a pioneer, the other evening, whilst browsing through the links at judybreck.com , I found an interview you made at KTSM-TV El Paso, Texas in April 2001 , shortly after publication of your first book “The Wireless Age.

It’s a great interview and you talked about the Remote Sensing Sites at NASA and the new ‘ABCs’ of education’

A-Accessibility,

B-Better and more compelling and

C-Comprehensive.’

The ABCs are an accurate summary of the features needed for a truly open and empowering Internet and I wondered what were the key events in your life that inspired you to become a pioneer of Internet/Wireless Internet education?

At this point Judy sent me one of the ideas from her book 109 IDEAS that describe how she became involved in the Internet education area. To read Judy’s own words I’d suggest that you buy her book but below is my understanding of her journey:

Has Judy Breck viewed more web pages with learning content than anyone on earth?

One of Judy’s defining moments in terms of her goal to help to develop the internet to improve learning and make it accessible for all happened in the summer of 1996 when she discovered the Internet.

The inspiration happened in the unlikely setting of a luncheon at the Art Director’s Club of New York. With an ugly text based vision projected onto a home movie screen standing on a tripod, Judy discovered the Internet. Since that time, it is quite possible that she has viewed more web pages of learning content that anyone else.

What follows is a brief description of her journey.

Teacher to MENTOR

From High School to Wall Street and the Whitehouse connection.

Frustrated by the established attitudes to education Judy left her job as a high school teacher in the early 1960s. She had viewed this as the coward’s way out. Yet, it was this frustration with the education system and the route that she has taken that has defined the work ethic and values that are have made Judy the inspirational thought leader and educational activist that she is today.

From 1968 to 1992, Judy worked as a Wall Street law firm secretary for Thomas W. Evans, a gentlemen who was a law partner to Richard Nixon. Judy was hired by Evans initially out of Texas to work as a member of Nixon’s national campaign staff.

Evans also worked to improve education as a national leader in private sector educational efforts and wrote two books about schools. In the role of Education Chair for President Reagan’s Private Sector Initiatives group, Evans founded and led for six years a White House sponsored national and international Symposium on Partnerships in Education. Later he was invited by the Board of Trustees of Teachers College Columbia University, where he served as chairman for several years.

This environment, as Evans’ secretary, was a great incubator for Judy and gave her a great insight into the activities around the development of education. From 1982 to 1992, Judy was given the role of Co-ordinator and played a major role in a MENTOR program that Evans founded and headed in the New York City public schools. The MENTOR program was managed from Judy’s desk at the law firm and consisted of “pairing law firms with high schools—eventually climbing to 45 pairings in New York and replication of the program in 20 states“.

Whilst working as the MENTOR program Co-ordinator, Judy visited may schools and met many staff members of whom she says: “A lot of these people became heroes to me, but I was once again appalled by what was not happening for learning in schools.”

Implosion of the Education System to the Cyberschool Cascade

When Evans moved from the role of partner to counsel, Judy left the job, she held for over 2 decades. Again, she needed to decide which direction to take. Another defining moment happened in 1992 when Judy read Lewis J Perlman’s 1992 best-selling book School’s Out [School’s Out. Lewis J. Perlman Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st ed edition (October 1, 1992) ISBN: 0688112862]. Perlman said computers were going to cause the education system to implode. Judy decided she wanted to help.

She cashed in her pensions and purchased best quality computer hardware and software. During the first four years (which Judy describes as ‘fairly abortive‘) she learned a lot about computers but lost touch with the education scene, which was her real passion. It was during this period that the Internet began to emerge as a powerful medium and by 1995 Judy developed a “small desktop multimedia business and was producing brochures, booklets and illustrations for print“.

When Judy bought a ticket for a luncheon meeting of the Art Directors Club of New York – another defining moment occurred. Judy got her first glimpse of the power of the Internet. Her own description best sums up this experience of what she saw and how she felt: “an old fashioned home movie screen that stood on a tripod. What I could see on the screen, between the heads of the many people at the crowded luncheon, was very ugly text. The connection was intermittent. My life, though, was changed“.

It was at this point that Judy realised that the Internet could be a better platform for students to acquire knowledge and enjoy education in a way that was much more successful than the lack lustre attempts made by schools.

Judy soaked up information like a sponge and in August, a few months after the luncheon at the Art Director’s Club, she wrote a ground breaking article called The Cyberschool Cascade. In Judy’s own words: ” the article describes some events in the early migration of knowledge into the Internet. I have some pride in the fact that much of what I said there has happened. My enthusiasm for the Internet has only increased over the years since I first wrote about the cascade.

Judy submitted the article to WIRED in the autumn of 1996 and in the winter of 1997. WIRED did not respond to Judy’s submissions and the article is published for the first time in the Appendix of Judy’s book 109 IDEAS.

The journey to 33rd Street

By autumn 1996 Judy became a keen Internet enthusiast beginning early exploration into websites at her multimedia studio. By attending the small exhibitions at the time, she also learned to look for work via Internet sites like Monsterboard.com.

Judy applied for a part-time writing job at JUMBO!.com but Dick Firestone advised her that she was not needed at that time. Judy kept his e-mail address anyway. Judy contacted him again a few weeks later about some work that she couldn’t handle at her studio and when he responded he told her, “you are my favorite writer.” These were the only 2 emails that Dick Firestone and Judy exchanged until Dick Firestone rang Judy in March 1997.

He needed her help urgently ” to write instructions “a grandmother can understand” for downloading files from the Internet”.

Judy hurried along to the JUMBO!.com offices which were situated in a “small building on 33rd Street in the shadow of the Empire State Building“.

Dick explained more about the job to Judy and between them they decided she was the right person for the job because as Judy says: “I had not the slightest idea how to do the downloads and was old enough to be a grandmother

This was a great experience for Judy as writing the download instructions gave her insight into the structure of the Internet and websites. From her entry into JUMBO! to her exit when the dot com bubble burst Judy said “there was never a moment I did not feel like I had found nirvana. This was home and heaven at the same time.”

The Homework Channel

In April 1997, Dick Firestone asked Judy to become the senior editor and creator of the homework channel for JUMBO! This was a joyous moment for Judy and she has her own thoughts on the fateful events and good luck that made it happen but she certainly viewed it as a “perfect assignment“.

It was this “perfect assignment” that lead Judy to seek out and post superior links to knowledge in the Subject Sampler pages on the GoldenSwamp.com website that is still live today.

The Knowledge Collecting Project

JUMBO!.com’s website was made up of channels of lots of different kinds of files ( for example: clipart, fonts, games, screensavers, sounds) that could downloaded from the Internet for free. The creation of the homework channel was an extension of this and created an index of the subjects taught in schools (chemistry, maths, etc.) converted into channels for those kinds of educational files.

By autumn 1997, homework.com gained a lot of traffic and even more was stimulated by publishing a weekly email newsletter. At first, the newsletter reviewed a Top 5 study pages and halfway through the project this was increased to a Top 8. Judy directed the knowledge collecting project up to May 2001. In her own words Judy describes that the creation of the newsletter made her “focus on the creative and excellent work being done in building learning open content web pages“.

In early 1998 Judy got help from the staff and by the summer of 2000 about 20 graduate students and two PhDs were working for her. Their roles were full or part time and involved finding, evaluating and organizing links in their knowledge subject specialities. Judy observes the progress when she says: “By that time we had created interlinked packets of 35,000 study subjects incorporating 150,000 open content links to study subjects. The interlinking we did caused surprising things to happen which I later realized were glimpses of the virtual knowledge ecology.

Quite a Ride

JUMBO!.com homework channel changed to HomeworkHeaven.com, NoSweat.com and finally – HomeworkCentral.com.,

HomeworkCentral.com was so successful that it got bigger than the other channels of JUMBO!.com, which were sold along with the JUMBO!.com name to Jupitermedia leaving the once homework channel as a website and business in its own right and soon after it became independent of JUMBO!.

The new HomeworkCentral.com Company was purchased by BigChalk.com and integrated into a new website.

BigChalk.com was absorbed into ProQuest in 2003. In June of 2004, ProQuest took HomeworkCentral.com off-line. About eight months after it went on-line in early 2000, BigChalk.com began to eliminate the management of the companies it had aggregated.

Judy describes her exit: “My exit came in May 2001. It had been, as Dick Firestone predicted to me it would be when things began to take off in the early days, quite a ride!

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MB
No matter what name on-line education gives itself, Judy has continued to watch, learn and write about on-line knowledge. That is something we should all be very grateful for and Judy provides a little more insight into the vision that inspired her to write Cyberschool Cascade.

JB
The vision I have been inspired by has changed little since I wrote the draft article of the Cyberschool Cascade that is the Appendix of
109 IDEAS. The conclusion of that article, written ten years ago, summarizes my conviction and passion:

Cyberschool is already one of the great achievements of our species, and it is not even very sophisticated yet. In a time when tribal sensitivities are deepening and multicultures are demanding their perpetuation, cyberspace is the domain of the individual. A kid caught in a dismal family, neighborhood or school can jump into a chip, to go out to the ocean and find a far horizon. We are all that kid, in one way or another. The cascade washing over the world is giving each of us the captaincy of our own mind.”

MB
Judy, having read your description of your personal journey from high school teacher to the Cyberschool Cascade and the creation of open learning content for all – your vision, conviction, passion and tenacity are clear and inspirational.

What words of guidance/advice would you have for teachers, education facilitators, and the tech gurus that are developing the Internet/Mobile Internet?

JB
It has seemed certain to me for a long time now that a global golden age of learning is dawning. I think it will be the mobile delivery of the Internet that will pull the new learning over the horizon. Education as we have known it in recent decades will greatly change, or perhaps disappear. The mobile device will engage the individual student directly with knowledge in its now primary location: the Internet. Once that has occurred, the task of educators will be to remake learning around that change.

Most knowledge engagement in the education we have known has been indirect, with students receiving it piecemeal through grades, textbooks, standards testing, and lesson plans presented in the classroom. Much of their Internet experience has been on shared computers. That sort of previous learning is profoundly less direct than doing a virtual Bunsen burner experiment on a mobile device in one’s hand. I think the change to mobile knowledge delivery is so fundamental and complete that it will flip education to become Internet centralized. That will be a welcome change from having the Internet held at the periphery of education as it has been for the past decade.

My guidance/advice, to the extent I am qualified to play that role, is very simple: celebrate and take advantage of the grand new mobile opportunity coming soon for all youngsters on our planet to learn from the same page and collaborate virtually in their learning. That is a golden age for sure!

MB
Agreed, that would be a golden age indeed. Judy, again, many thanks for providing some space in your very busy days to take part in the Digital Eves interviews. For the final closing questions, it would be interesting to hear any more general/personal words of inspiration you may have for others.

Role Models and Personal Inspiration

MB
Who were/are your role models?

JB
Maggie, you ask a challenging question to someone in her seventies. I suppose we now worry more about trying to be decent role models for younger people than we do about looking toward those to follow. In our later decades we also have seen the feet of clay of many of those we looked up to in earlier years. I can, though, single out as my most precious role model a man named U.A. Hyde.

Hyde was a Texas political consultant and press writer when I knew him during the 1960s. He was not a “success” by the usual standard. It would never occur to him to do something false to get that sort of success. The reason it would not occur to him is that he knew—as he told me once—that virtue is its own reward. When he told me that he said it this way: “You will lead a happier life if you know that virtue is its own reward.’

What Hyde taught me is that the fun is in putting your efforts toward making something work. Sometimes you will get rich that way. Sometimes no one notices that you made the thing work. Sometimes it does not work and you fail. None of those results are the point. The happier life is one of believing and doing.

MB
Are there any particular books, films or songs that inspire you?

JB
Beethoven is a profound inspiration me. Some how his music stirs and encourages my soul and gives me strong hope. I think part of his power is the internal perfection of his compositions. They are also not trite, not obvious. Beethoven creates a world where excellence and grandness are in charge while new ideas of worth emerge.

MB
We’ve already seen that in the summer of 1996 and April 1997 key events happened that directed you towards on-line education for all.

From a more personal perspective where there any pivotal moments that told you that you were on the right track in terms of the work you’ve undertaken and the choices, you’ve made during your career and in your life?

JB
In our secular and relativist times, the notion of divine assurance is seldom mentioned, but at least for me it is pivotal. I do not think God hands us a timeline or map to follow as we move through life. My sense of it is that the future has not been determined: we can affect it. Through prayer God will let us know if something we are thinking about doing to the future is appropriate and helpful—or is the opposite.

Working on something you feel God wants you to do has long been referred to as a “calling.” Over the past decade that I have been attempting to help move digital learning forward, there have been a few times when I have been reassured in prayer that my goal was appropriate—felt it was a calling. Those have been my most pivotal moments.

MB
When discussing individualism you quoted Thomas Jefferson “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Are there any other inspiring quotes that have helped to guide you in pursuit of your passion for on-line education for all?

JB
There is an old saying: “You only save one child at a time.” This expression has meant different things. Some say the one child is yours, and so that child is more important than any other. Another meaning has been that though there are many children who need help it is most practical and effective to save them one at a time.

In the new mobile web era that is dawning, the mobile device brings the old saying into the digital world. The mobile is very much a one-person device, and something that is personal and carried by the person. Learning can directly reach one child at time through the devices. Children can be saved from schools that do not work and environments that hold them back by reaching to them through the mobile one child at a time.

MB
Thank you for sharing your story Judy. Your pioneering thoughts on creating tools that will transform how we can “save one child at a time” is a motto that should be in the mind of all of us.

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

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Introduction to the 21st Century Innovators

Cover page

Stars of the book

Hoping that you have enjoyed looking back at the women that have helped to shape the world we live in today. As a result of their work and the many other women (and men) who have dared to be different a large majority of us now have equal access to education, social justice and are relatively free to express our ideas and creativity.

However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels but it is time to enjoy the interviews and to see the truly innovative work of our 21st Century pioneers.

As the content compiler of this work perhaps this is also good time to, briefly, re-introduce myself and to share some more details about the concept and delivery of this book.

VEP logo - designed by Maggie Baldry

As part of the enterprise Virtual-e-perfection (VEP), I had worked with the founder and CEO of futuretext, Ajit Jaokar.

At the time of preparing the final draft of this book in September 2007, I worked for the Electrolux Group as a production planner. The Electrolux Group create innovative products for global markets. My role was one that provided support and delivery services from manufacturing sources in Asia Pacific, mainland Europe and the UK to consumer sectors throughout the world.

My daily work routine would not have been possible without the advances of modern technology (email, the Internet, mobile phones) and the fact that it is now acceptable for women to work in roles that have formally been dominated by men. For all of those advances, I am very grateful that I’m alive in the 21st Century and I am endlessly grateful to the people who have worked to put the technology and social structures in place, including the women I have paid homage to within the history section of this work.

Before becoming involved with international trade, I had worked as a technical author and proof reader for many years. However, I have never had the opportunity to become involved in the concept and creation of a more ‘human’ centred publication. I am very grateful to Ajit for giving me the impetus to create the Digital Eves concept, which, following my redundancy from the Electrolux Group in 2010, has now been re-visited as the Soft Footsteps blog,

The research of this work has been an truly inspirational time for me, not least my contact with Judy Breck, Karen Coppock and Jensine Larsen. These ladies are very busy and I am so very grateful to them for sharing their stories with me. Their energy is infectious, their commitment and focus is uplifting and their stories provide great road maps for others.

The interviews were carried out by email during November 2006 to August 2007. The stories are built around these emails, shared articles, pdf files and discussions which have been edited by myself, Judy, Karen and Jensine. Any articles extracted have been republished with kind permission from the original sources.

Please further note that, to date and to my knowledge, Judy, Karen and Jensine are unaware of this blog. I am keen to see if the world wide web will remind them of the time we spent together during 2006-7.

All three 21st century innovators have quite different backgrounds.

Judy Breck

Judy Breck

Judy Breck has a career that spans being a high school teacher to Wall Street, the Whitehouse and beyond. She has broad interests and describes herself as a ‘generalist, New Yorker and Texan’. She is a prolific blogger, insightful author and has created some great signposts for making education more accessible for all. Not forgetting that Judy has also led the creation of the largest Internet collection of open content learning links from 1997-2001.

Karen Coppock

Karen Coppock

Karen Coppock lived in Latin America for a decade and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala and Uruguay. She is currently based in Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, California, US. She is the Vice President of Consulting Services at Vital Wave Consulting and is helping people from all over the world develop their own social and business enterprises. Karen is involved with delivering strategic consulting services to Fortune 500 and non-profit clients.


Jensine Larsen

Jensine Larsen

As a young woman attending the Mount Horeb High School, Wisconsin, Jensine Larsen thrived on discussing local, national and international politics. She dreamed of a media source that would broadcast the thriving but neglected voices of women and youth around the world. As a freelance journalist covering the stories of women refugees who had fled ethnic cleansing inside of Burma, Jensine became inspired to create a magazine which evolved into an interactive media enterprise and a breakthrough interactive communications tool.

However, although their backgrounds and individual focus may be different, the common elements shared by our 21st century innovators is a desire to help make the world a better place. They are able to do this because of their intelligence, determination and energy. These ladies understand the real life changing potential in the current developments in the Internet and mobile technology. The interviews will be published in the next 3 blog posts.

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Legal bit

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in 21st century, Soft Footsteps

 

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