Our very first OEG Voices podcast guest is Open Education Global’s newest staff member, Kristina Ishmael, Director of Primary & Secondary Education.

This podcast done primarily as a test of our recording and publishing setup, but also as an opportunity for people to get to know about Kristina. Listen now!

As you can hear, Kristina brings to OEG a wealth of enthusiasm and experience in teaching, policy, and OER advocacy.

At the time of this recording, Kristina was in her second week of work with OEG. Not only that, she had just relocated to Portland, Oregon from Washington, DC, a move completed in the middle of a pandemic. That says a lot about her.

Previously, Kristina had worked for a year leading the #GoOpen project as the K-12 Open Education fellow at the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. She notes in the podcast how in one year, this project saw the number of school districts who adopted OER increase from 40 districts to 110.

This was followed by her position as a senior project manager supporting OER portfolios at New America, a civic organization and think tank.

“I have to say I never thought I’d be working for a think tank. I’m a former classroom teacher and will always be an educator. But here I was, working on education policy leading some great work leading OER awareness across the US”

Kristina’s perspectives are rooted in her experience as an early childhood and elementary teacher of bilingual students in Omaha, Nebraska. This led to her role as a a Digital Learning Specialist for the state of Nebraska, leading professional learning and advocating open resources for school librarians.

Her work includes changing “hearts and minds” about the value of OERs from both an organizational and budget standpoint, but more so at one of encouraging teachers to have more say in the selection of resources, to not be reliant on what publishers provide.

She shares her interest in taking her work to a global level, with some early focus on countries actively involved with the UNESCO OER Recommendation.

In this conversation, Kristina shares her approach of engaging educators with “little steps to make big changes.” In her previous work, she describes how “sometimes a better entry point was working with one textbook in one grade level, one content area, and trying to build up from here.”

You will also hear Kristina’s strong interest in antiracist education and advocating for teaching materials that show inclusivity and representations for all learners.

Her advice to us in the challenging climate we are in now is “be very gracious with ourselves and with others.”

And she has more podcasting chops than her host– Kristina produced and hosted Revise, Remix, Redesign, a PreK-12 OER podcast from New America. She suggested an idea we have incorporated into our production. If guests are comfortable with it, we meet first in Zoom to coordinate. Then we mute the microphones and connect via our Zencastr audio platform to record audio. Being able to see each other as we talk makes it feel much more like we are sitting in a comfortable cafe location together.

A “Zoomshot” of the recording of this episode

We hope you enjoy this first episode of OEG Voices. Please follow-up with comments or questions in OEG Connect (add link).

If you are interested in being a guest for OEG Voices or have a suggestion contact us via email at podcast@oeglobal.org.

The introductions and exits for our podcast episodes will always include a different selection of open licensed music. Episode 1 features “We Start” by Moby, courtesy of https://mobygratis.com made available under a mobygratis Non Commercial Licence Agreement.

This episode is also available on YouTube.