If you haven't watched one of Esther Wojcicki’s Tedx talks, this audio interview in the Huffington Post will give you an overview of her educational reform efforts around student-led learning and blended learning. She stresses that trust is absolutely vital in order for these real-world projects to work. The teacher must trust that her students want to learn in authentic ways and are capable of showing mastery in ways other than simply passing tests.
Mrs. Wojcicki, a high school teacher, begins her talk by explaining the meaning of the term "moonshot" and its origins with the space program. She goes on to argue that education needs a moonshot, in which students take the lead in meaningful, real-world projects. It's easy to see how an ambitious Kiva microfinance project could function as the moonshot that she advocates.
This PDF is a guide for students who are interested in starting a Kiva club at their schools. It explains how to recruit fellow students, assign roles, set goals, and share their accomplishments with other Kiva U clubs around the world. I think this would be a great way to encourage your students to take the lead for true student-centered learning.
Dave Smith, a Pennsylvania middle school teacher who has raised thousands of dollars for Kiva projects, shares with us why Kiva is so important to him and the impact he believes he is having on his students in the world. This video is professionally produced, and very motivating. Students are also interviewed, and they describe proudly the people they are helping and what they are learning.
There are 372 members in this Facebook group for educators and students interested in learning more about creating projects with Kiva. Of course, you will need to join the group in order to post and interact, but you can browse the posts first to decide whether or not you'd like to join the group.
A memoir by Bob Harris, former well-paid international travel writer, tells the story of how he discovered Kiva and decided to use the program to better the lives of impoverished people around the world. This would be a good read for any of your students or their parents.
If Kiva and microfinance are new to you and your students, this short video does a great job at explaining the basics in very simple terms. The narrator is very animated and speaks in a way that will appeal to teens. It's a good place to start for a basic overview of what Kiva does and how the loans are made.
This is the place to start if you're considering starting a Kiva project with your class. The site explains several learning benefits for the students, and provides lesson plans for high school classes and presentations you can share with parents and administrators. There are also links to video documentaries and "real classroom stories."