In October, we held our first advisory boards for Flipgrid, including partners from our Discovery Library and educators from our community. One board focused on diversity and inclusion, and the other on accessibility and inclusive design.
We were compelled to have deeper discussions with members of our community about what they see in their own learning communities, helping to develop a more thorough understanding of their lived experiences. We can read the tweets and watch your videos, but to understand the motivations behind those stories, we wanted to listen more closely to how you navigate those experiences.
Our members arrived at the table with inspiring stories about students and even their own children discovering their confidence. They came with big ideas about how to make content more engaging and accessible, trends they pay attention to, and intimate hopes that command us to do the best we can for each of your learning communities and for every child on the planet.
Please help us in welcoming each of these devoted educators and partners as your new board members:
On the Flipgrid Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board:
Ramesh Laungani is a biology professor at Doane University in Nebraska who began #1000STEMWomen, a video advocacy project for females in science.
Luis Oliveira came to the United States from Portugal at the age of 9 and teaches English language learners today in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Al Thomas is a creative consultant in Texas with a focus on digital learning and creativity integration.
Yaritza Villalba writes her own curricula to teach social studies for over-aged, under-credited students in Brooklyn, New York.
Once an English language learner herself, Fely Garcia empathizes with her students as a former ESL junior high teacher and current ESL strategist for her colleagues at La Joya ISD in South Texas.
Longtime educator and international speaker Holly Clark recently released her latest book, “The Microsoft Infused Classroom,” and continues to consult with classrooms on blended learning.
Nam Ngo Thanh is a former elementary educator and current tech adviser in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Darrell Flowers also joins us from the Microsoft team as a support engineer.
Three years after her second son was born with Down Syndrome, Julie Hertzog founded in 2006 the Pacer’s National Bully Prevention Center, an advocacy organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for students with disabilities.
Jinnie Spiegler represents ADL Education, an anti-hate organization that helps educators build safe and equitable teaching environments.
On the Flipgrid Accessibility and Inclusive Design Advisory Board:
Jen Giffen is a teacher librarian and former digital literacy consultant in Ontario, Canada.
Inspired by her son who was nonverbal as a toddler, Christine McKee is a former teacher and emerging tech consultant in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.
Matt Jenkins is a deaf educator in England whose area of focus is British Sign Language at The Deaf Academy in Exmouth, United Kingdom.
Shandrick Tasby is a special education elementary teacher who also focuses on behavior management.
MIE Expert Chris Gerrard has been working as an additional support needs teacher in Glasgow, Scotland, for nearly 20 years.
Ben Tamblyn joins us from the Microsoft team as the Director of Inclusive Design.
Kate Briggs is the founder of Made By Dyslexia, a global charity that has partnered with Microsoft to help the world better understand dyslexic thinking.
Joanna Sanders and Ana Radmilovic represent Let’s Talk Science, a national, charitable organization in London, Ontario, that prepares Canadian youth for future careers and citizenship demands.
Emily Bluementhal is the Educator in Charge of Teaching and Learning at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, serving learners of all ages and abilities through inclusive programming.
About the Discussion
Each meeting commenced with warm introductions followed with best practices and suggestions around diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility enhancements. Below is a collection of themes from our introductory gatherings. The boards will meet again early next year.
Flipgrid: There were considerations on sound filtering and translations, keyboard shortcuts and alt text, and a look at different communication stickers and symbols.
Discovery Library: Partner descriptors and improved searchability, more Topics of the Day and student-created content.
Community Programming: More student-faced content, multilingual resources, and more frequent panel discussions.
Thank you to each of our board members for their time and dedication to empowering voices everywhere. Our community guides our mission to empower every learner on the planet to share their voice and respect the diverse voices of others. Now more than ever, we are incredibly proud to work and ideate alongside inspiring educators from around the world. Thank you for all you do!