All posts by Kirsten Winkler

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST.

The Education Foundation’s Facebook Guide for Educators

One could argue that Facebook is the original social network for education when we look at how the company had started out originally. Nowadays, however, this role has clearly been taken by Twitter and vertical networks like Edmodo and others. Still, Facebook started as a social network for Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard fellows, and this means that up to today there is some education DNA left.

On the other hand, Facebook has built up a quite bad reputation when it comes to security and privacy. So how can teachers make use of the world’s largest social network and all of its tools and features in school without jeopardizing the students safety?

There have been projects like Inigral, an application for colleges and universities, to (re)turn Facebook into a more learning friendly environment but what about teachers and students who want to use the “plain” version of Facebook without extra apps?

And that’s where Ian Fordham and Ty Goddard, co-founders of the UK-based Education Foundation, come in. Together with Wellington College and the London Nautical School they did some deep research, testing and workshops at the Facebook HQ all of which have led to a free Facebook Guide for Educators.

The guide wants to show educators in schools, colleges and universities how to

  • support subject teaching across the curriculum
  • support out of school hours learning
  • encourage informal social learning
  • enable easy communication between students, teachers and parents
  • support the development of digital citizenship skills

Besides the obvious features that all of us use on Facebook, there are a lot of “hidden” gems that are often overlooked as they seem to target users coming from the corporate space, not education.

The guide explains how teachers can use Facebook in a number of ways, including how to run projects based around Timeline, set up Groups to share resources, create Events for exams and deadlines, and enable language students to speak to peers overseas. The guide also addresses ways to overcome the challenges of using Facebook in school environments, including confronting some educators’ cautiousness about social media’s potential as a learning tool.

If you want to have a deeper, practical look into how to make the most out of Facebook timeline with your own class, I recommend reading my article from September 2012 about an Amsterdam-based grammar school that set up various interesting Facebook timeline projects for the history classroom.

Though the Facebook Guide for Educators was developed based on experiences in the UK, it is of course useable for teachers across the globe. That is one great thing about social media, it is global and hence has a big potential to connect learners and teachers through the different platforms, Facebook is an example for that.

You can download the free Facebook Guide for Educators here and you should also take a look at all the other activities of The Education Foundation.

Cursopedia – Why European Clones are Inevitable

If you are writing about the global startup scene you often come across the notion that all of the innovation happens to take place in the US whereas Europe, especially Germany, is going to clone the successful concepts, build a local version and hope that one day the US company is going to acquire its European clone in order to get its foothold on the other side of the pond.

Continue reading Cursopedia – Why European Clones are Inevitable

Babble Planet becomes Pili Pop – launches iPhone App

Get our latest Startup List: Language Learning Europe, featuring 80 Language Learning Startups across Europe.


Pili Pop (formerly Babble Planet) is a Paris-based startup that specializes in creating applications for young learners in the ESL space. The first version of their app for iPad showed some promising traction. With 50.000 downloads in 37 countries and 1.5 million English words mastered.

Continue reading Babble Planet becomes Pili Pop – launches iPhone App

EDUKWEST launches EDUKWEST Europe

When I started EDUKWEST in August 2009 I always had the goal to cover global trends in education technology. Of course due to a better funding and startup support ecosystem the US often took the mainstage in our coverage.

Sure, there have been highlights like Mendeley, busuu and babbel.com that were able to make a global impact in terms of user adoption, innovation and ability to raise money but in general the European edtech space was not really that exciting.

But something has changed in the European education startup scene. Over the past couple of months, maybe six to eight, I noticed that not only new startups are popping up again but also that the ecosystem seems to get a boost through events like Startup Weekend, Edtech Europe or investors and incubators like Macmillan Digital Education / Digital Science and Edxus Group.

Therefore I decided to launch EDUKWEST Europe. True to our mission statement “on the search for better education” we are going to dig ourselves into the European Education startup scene, trying to find the most promising players early on.

Also true to the European Union, this blog is going to feature articles in multiple languages. For the launch we are going to concentrate on English, French and German but more languages are going to be added over time.

Needless to say, I am pretty excited about this new blog and to cover the European EdTech startup scene in closer detail from now on. Of course, EDUKWEST is going to stay and cover the rest of the globe.