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Episode 145. Saturday March 25, 2023, 12:00 noon Eastern

What is the future of education? Thousands of people have been pondering that since the start of the pandemic three years ago. The guests and hosts at Silver Lining for Learning (SLL) have been pondering that since March 21, 2021. In this three-year anniversary edition of SLL, four magnificent prior guests of the show, Sophia Mendoza, Paul Kim, Kiran Bir Sethi, and Maxim Jean-Louis, will reemerge for one hour to share their perspectives on education during the next three to five years. Please join us for what is sure to be a most enlightening show.

More about our guests below the video



Sophia Mendoza (bio), who began her career at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as a kindergarten student, is now director of the Instructional Technology Initiative where she oversees the implementation of instructional technology across the nation’s second-largest school district. Mendoza says it’s important to her to give back to the district that opened so many doors for her. She is an innovative, systems-level collaborator with over 20 years of experience as an education leader in L.A. Unified (which serves 589,000 students). Mendoza leads the implementation of computer science education and digital citizenship programs across 1,300 schools. She is committed to cultivating leaders and learners ready for a growing digital world. As evidence, Mendoza was named a NextGeneration Leader by EdScoop and CoSN as well as 2018 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. In addition, she received an ISTE Impact Award honoree for 2019, an honor that recognizes her work in establishing strategic partnerships and programs that expand instructional technology opportunities for all students, such as collaborations with Common Sense Media and Note that she also received awards in 2022 for Best Overall Implementation of Technology, Best Overall Implementation of Technology, Latino Technology Champion of the Year 2022.


Dr. Paul Kim is the Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. An education technology entrepreneur, Dr. Kim leads initiatives involving the design of learning technologies, educational research, and community development. In a trans-disciplinary project aiming to promote innovation and competition by constructing a Programmable and Open Mobile Internet (POMI 2020), Dr. Kim designs and implements mobile technologies and social learning environments.

In 2009, Dr. Kim founded Seeds of Empowerment, a 501(C3) non-profit global education incubator for social innovations leveraging mobile technologies. Under his direction and leadership, Stanford undergraduate and graduate students carry out mobile-social educational research and development in real-world classrooms and virtual learning environments. Some of the student-initiated projects he has helped develop and sponsor include the multiple award-winning TeachAids, a global HIV/AIDS education NGO, Adina’s Deck, an award-winning internet safety education program, SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment), a mobile platform that has been implemented in over 20 countries, ROSE (Remotely Operated Science Experiment), and 1,001 Stories, a global micro creative economy project. These and other Seeds of Empowerment initiatives have been recognized in global competitions sponsored by organizations including the Sesame Workshop, WISE by the Qatar Foundation, the Marvell 100K Challenge, Vodafone, etc.

Dr. Kim has dedicated himself to international development through education and information technology strategies and has advised Saudi Arabia’s national online education initiative, the national evaluation of Uruguay’s One Laptop Per Child project, Rwanda’s national ICT planning, and institutional advancement efforts for numerous universities. Dr. Kim serves on the Board of Directors of WestEd, the Committee on Grand Challenges in International Development for the National Academies of Science, and the advisory committee for the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate. Dr. Kim was born in South Korea and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Technology from the University of Southern California in 1999.


Kiran Bir Sethi is a Designer who became a Teacher, a Principal who grew into an Education Reformer and subsequently morphed into a Social Entrepreneur. A trained Graphic Designer, she uses the language of Design to develop not only curriculum innovation, but also community-based Social Programs. 20 years ago, she founded The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, aimed at all-round development of children. As their website says, “Over the last 20 years, Riverside has designed, implemented and shared a unique user centered curriculum … which focuses on quality of learning AND student well-being. … The school has regularly been honored for its academic achievement as well as its unique philosophy of ‘Doing Good AND Doing Well.’ In 2009, Kiran launched Design for Change to instill an I CAN mindset in children. It asks kids to feel any problem that bothers them, imagine a way to make it better, do an act of change, and share their story of change with the world. It is today one of the world’s largest movement of change, led by children— impacting over 2.2 million children and 65,000 teachers in more than 60 countries. (Her TED talk and other videos are given below)


Maxim Jean-Louis is President – Chief Executive Officer of Contact North | Contact Nord, Ontario’s Distance Education and Training Network, headquartered in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Prior to arriving at Contact North | Contact Nord in 1996, Maxim worked in senior management roles for over 15 years at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada’s open university. At Contact North | Contact Nord, Maxim leads a team of 300 staff supporting the delivery of education and training opportunities from the province’s 24 public colleges, 22 public universities, and 250 literacy and basic skills and training providers to Ontarians in 600 small, rural, remote, Aboriginal and Francophone communities through 112 online learning center covering 1 million square kilometres. These local online learning centres are equipped with web conferencing, videoconferencing and audioconferencing distance delivery platforms, as well as computer workstations and high-speed internet for students to participate in their synchronous and asynchronous courses. Support services are available in English and French. Maxim is author and/or coordinator of major publications in the area of online learning and distance education and has been a participant / presenter at major conferences on distance education and alternative forms of delivery, such as the International Conference on Distance Education (ICDE) and the conferences led by the Canadian Association of Distance Education (CADE). He is married with two adult sons and lives in Sudbury, Ontario.