September 8, 2009

eduFire: Real-time Web learning

Guest post by Katrina Heppler

Want to learn a foreign language from the comfort of your home? Want to meet up with fellow students around the world? Or are you a teacher or trainer who wants to share your knowledge for a fee in an online setting with live interaction?

In this 4:50 video interview, founder and CEO Jon Bischke shares details about his new company, eduFire (tagline: “Live video learning”), an online platform that provides learning on subjects from A to Z by teachers around the world. More than 5,000 instructors are teaching more than 30,000 students. About two-thirds of the students are in the United States but word is quickly spreading internationally. Continue reading

July 8, 2009

Social by Social: Handbook launched!

Amy Sample WardI am relishing in the feeling of hard work completed and the excitement for all the work ahead.  What about? Social by Social: a practical guide to using new technologies to deliver social impact — the handbook I co-authored about using social media and communications technology to change the world!

NESTA commissioned the work and the Social by Social team was comprised of Andy Gibson, Nigel Courtney, David Wilcox and Professor Clive Holtham and myself.

Why Social by Social?

There have been so many developments in communication technologies over the past few years, affecting so many aspects of our lives and working patterns, that giving shape and meaning to the chaos has become nearly impossible.

‘Social by Social’ is a term we’ve invented to make sense of what we’re talking about.

The word ‘social’ is often used to imply all the various work that goes on in the public and third sector, and by individuals, to improve the world around us, care for each other, create value for communities and tackle the problems and inequalities of the world.

(Social enterprise. Social conscience. Social problems.)

And ‘social’ is also used by technologists and the media to refer to the new two-way communications technologies available via the internet and digital technologies. Communications that create society, strengthen relationships, support social interactions.

(Social media. Social networks. Social infrastructure.)

This book is a map of where these two words meet. It is not limited to the fashionable trends in social media and ‘web 2.0’; nor is it specifically aimed at people in the social sector. It is about how these new tools for social interaction are changing our society, and how those of us with a social conscience can use them to do more good.

‘Social by social’ change is about using new technologies to bring people together to make their world better. This handbook is a starting point for working out how to do it.

New technologies are changing the way we engage communities, run companies, deliver public services, participate in government and campaign for change. These new technologies are available to all of us. And they offer us an amazing opportunity to change our world.

You can read the handbook online for free or order your hard copy today!  The online version is completely commentable and we are eager to continue the conversation with you!  To dive in, visit:

June 11, 2009

A public RSS reader for you!

Amy Sample WardWhen it comes to nptech, or nonprofit technology, there are more blogs and organizations and resources than any one person can find, let alone keep track of!  I’m no exception.  I’m overwhelmed daily, just like everyone else, by the amount of information that’s available from, for and about our sector of technology and social benefit. 

So, my response is simple: I want to share my RSS reader with you. What’s in my brain can be in yours!

Amy Sample Ward’s Version of RSS



This is just a starting place. There are other places you can go to find more blogs and resources as well, like Alltop and even WeAreMedia. So, why did I do this? I want to help support those just starting to investigate the options of social technologies for social change work, as well as give something back to those already invested and contributing to the community. Opening up my RSS reader (well, except for my mom’s blog and that kind of thing!) is something I have wanted to do for a while because it

  1. provides an opportunity for me to offer a bit of value back to the larger tech+change community that is so valuable to me
  2. is aligned with my core values of collaboration and sharing
  3. creates a chance to improve this collection of feeds by and with my community

Continue reading