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Live from International Reading Association: One Hen sparks conversation among Educators

By Ruth-Anne Renaud

After a great morning with the students at Sidwell Friends School, I had the pleasure of joining Katie at the International Reading Association for an engaging panel discussion on Friday afternoon.  The evolution of One Hen and its transformation from text to technology has spawned a stimulating conversation amongst a panel of educators and their ongoing involvement with One Hen’s curriculum in the classroom.

One Hen’s interactive website, (www.onehen.org), has been widely acclaimed for its lessons on microfinance, entrepreneurship and social philanthropy.  It was developed to promote the value of microfinance and help both children and adults find ways to participate in these important global and local initiatives.  In addition to parent and teacher resources, www.onehen.org even features interactive games where children can win virtual beads and then “invest” them on the site, matching real loans being made by Opportunity International to real entrepreneurs all over the world.

“Onehen.org allows kids to partake in the world of microfinance, teaching the lesson that even a small child can compel big change,” shared Betsy Perdue, Women’s Opportunity Network chair and a board member of One Hen, Inc..” The stories and games inspire children to learn global responsibility, and they can even start a small business, thereby putting the lessons into action.” 

Opportunity’s own commitment to One Hen and the engagement of youth in social movements are manifested in the activities and programs we continue to support.  We provide vacation Bible school programs with lesson plans on microfinance, culminating in donations applied to entrepreneurs on OptINnow; High school students form microfinance clubs and meet with Opportunity staff and international visitors to learn more in depth about microfinance while conducting fundraisers and selecting entrepreneurs to support on OptINnow; And, girl scout troops have utilized Opportunity’s resources to learn more about poverty and educate others. 

The Learning Through Reading panel also featured Sakil Malik, International Development Director of the International Reading Association. Mr. Malik described the IRA’s “Reading Across Continents” program which links high schools in Washington D.C., Ghana, and Nigeria to all read and discuss the same books. He shared that the use of technology such as video conferencing, Skype phone calls, and moderated blogging connected the students and made the distance from one country to another seem so small.

The panel was moderated by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, Education Technology Editor forEducation Week.

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