Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Today - David Risher from WorldReader.org on "Books for All"

Join me today, Tuesday, January 8th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com interview with David Risher, co-founder and CEO of WorlldReader, a US and European non-profit whose mission is to make digital books available to children in the developing world, so millions of people can improve their lives. Worldreader uses e-readers, existing mobile phone infrastructure and declining technology costs to put a huge range of digital books in their hands. As of November 2012, Worldreader has wirelessly distributed more than 245,000 African and international e-books to children in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, and the children spend up to 50% more time reading than before, with some reading up to 90 books in a single year.

I'll be asking David about the impact of their work and the differences he sees between a techology-simple program like WorldReader versus more complex digital device programs like OLPC. I'm also interested in his thoughts about opportunities technology provides for peer learning, the impact of western-style schools in the developing world, and the multiple practical aspects and challenges of WorldReader. I hope you'll join us or listen to the recording.
Former Amazon.com executive David Risher has loved books for as long as he can remember. They were his only way to explore the world as a child, they were what he studied in college, and they were what attracted him to Amazon in the first place. So when he volunteered at an orphanage in Ecuador and saw a padlocked building with books piled up above the windows, he had to ask what was going on. “That’s our library,” replied the orphanage’s leader. “But I think I’ve lost the key.”  The girls had lost interest in the library’s books, and new books would take months to arrive– if they ever arrived at all.
It was a defining moment for David. E-readers like the Kindle were just coming to market– in fact, he had been using the earliest version as he traveled to help with his own young daughters’ reading.... [A]n idea took seed: Widespread mobile phone technology availability, the falling costs of e-readers and the power of letting children choose books to read could transform lives throughout the world. With that, Worldreader was born. (from WorldReader.org)
Date: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://www.futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2013-01-08.1706.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and an audio mp3 recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/worldreader.mp3 as well as at the http://www.futureofeducation.com show archive.
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and conversation is at https://mightybell.com/spaces/19115.

As Worldreader’s Co-Founder and CEO, David Risher is a lifelong reader who knows that books have the power to change lives, just as they have changed his. He has been at the forefront of technology for more than two decades, first as a general manager at Microsoft and later as Amazon.com’s Senior Vice President for Retail and Marketing, responsible for growing the company from $16 million to $4 billion in sales. David later taught at the University of Washington’s Business School where he was elected Professor of the Year, served as president of the Board of the Benjamin Franklin International School, and is a member of ESADE Business School’s International Advisory Board and the International Advisory Board of Catalonia.

David has a comparative literature degree from Princeton University and a MBA from the Harvard Business School. In 2011, he was named a Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellow and a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur.

On reading:
“Growing up, books were my way to explore the world. We can make it possible for children everywhere to do the same.”

His Favorite Books:
As a kid: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
As an adult: The Odyssey

Follow David on Twitter at davidrisherWR

Worldreader: Books for All from Worldreader on Vimeo.

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