About Sheela Sethuraman
Educational Designer, Podcaster, Film-maker, Technologist
Sheela got her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Govt. College of Technology in India. Curious to learn about the power of media to inform and persuade, she decided to do a master’s program in Film and Video Production at Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC), India. Aside from learning the nuts and bolts of film-making, she also came to appreciate the intricacies of telling a good story.
New opportunities beckoned. After completing her master’s program in Education Technology from Michigan State University, Sheela joined CAST, a premier R & D organization in Massachusetts. There, she designed products that teachers could use in classrooms to scaffold and support students with diverse learning needs. She also conducted workshops and presented at national and international conferences on the importance of creating ‘universally designed’ curriculum. As Director of Technology, Sheela managed a team of smart and creative developers to help build new technology platforms for deploying our products. At CAST, she got an opportunity to participate in various important forums that have helped change the landscape for learners with disabilities – Web Access Initiative, DAISY consortium, Open eBook Forum and National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
After many exciting years at CAST, Sheela decided to charter a new course. Social media was in its early stages and she wanted to be part of the action, learning first-hand how these various new media tools and technologies could be used to bridge digital divides and expand learning opportunities. She founded Eduweave and took the “digital storytelling” curriculum model to India to work with young girls in disadvantaged communities. UNESCO partnered in this effort. The girls had access to technology centers, but did not have any training in using computers in innovative and creative ways. The workshops gave them a voice and the confidence to take ownership for their learning. Sheela came back energized from the trip and motivated to use digital storytelling in a different context. She got a perfect opportunity with the South End Technology Center’s summer program.
Meanwhile, she also established a collaboration with Stanford University’s Center for Social Innovation. They launched an Internet-based podcast show called ‘Design for Change’. She now has an opportunity to exploring organizational and leadership models in a quest for replicable and scalable solutions with social and environmental impact. She speaks with accomplished social entrepreneurs from around the world who have received recognition from Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship or the Skoll Foundation For Social Entrepreneurship. Whenever possible, Sheela seeks out educational organizations – since there is much to learn from just talking with the experts.
From Here On
Eduweave is now poised to produce more multimedia content, review more educational products and more importantly, build innovative platforms for learners and educators. Sheela have a particular interest in designing tools that foster process skills and strongly believe that social media and audio-visual formats can be useful in strengthening our science education teaching methods.