Incredible connections, and sad goodbyes

This afternoon my husband and I attended a funeral for someone we had never met: Jim Gould. Well, at least, we had never met him physically. We met and collaborated and shared ideas with Jim through the wonders of technology… through Skype and blogs and wikis and chatrooms at a place called EducationBridges.

EducationBridges… a site that was created as a meeting place for K-12 educators, technologists, philanthropists and others to come together and discuss ways to improve education with technology. The conversation focused on wikis as a way to get teaching materials and knowledge into classrooms, especially those classrooms where textbooks are either too expensive or are woefully outdated.

My husband suggested to Mrs Gould (our son’s former science teacher) that she join the conversation one day when he saw her at school…she asked if her husband could join instead. Mr Gould, recently retired from the Strongsville, Ohio school system after 25 years of service, was more than happy to participate. While I never heard his voice, his ideas in the chat room resonated with common sense and good practice. It was clear that he was a capital “E” Educator…one who saw many different sides to the process (and the challenge) of educating children today. When Jim gave you the thumbs up on something you said or wrote on the site, you knew you were on the right track.

An example of a Jim Gould’s thoughtful, careful and very learner-centric approach to education can be seen here where, eerily, on the day he died, he posted this message to the site about ways to concretely take the idea of wiki texts into the science classroom. As always, he was succinct, thoughtful, and above all, thinking about the art and the craft of teaching effectively.

John and I never had the opportunity to meet this man, but we were honored to have been witness to some of his thoughts and ideas.

For all the talk that there is in the media about predators and boogey men that lurk in the dark recesses of the web, let me counter that with the realization that there are also all sorts of the wonderful, incredible people from all over the world who use these social software tools as a way to collaborate, cajoul and create in ways that could not, would not be possible otherwise. I am grateful that I had the chance to “meet” him through these tools. And I know many others from the EducationBridges site feel that way too.

Jim: you inspired people in Mexico, Kuwait, Canada, Australia and throughout the US with your words. From all of us…thank you. You will be missed but never, ever forgotten.


Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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  1. buthaina · March 19, 2006 Reply

    Dear Mrs Gould,

    First, please accept my condolences for the passing away of Mr. Jim Gould.

    Indeed, Jim inspired a number of EFL instructors from around the globe. And, I’d like to know that the list/handout of ” Ten Thoughts of How to Beging this Spring”: Jim provided lately was printed out, and shared with some of my colleagues here in Kuwait. Jim, as Barbara mentioned, will be missed in many parts of the world “but never, ever forgotten”.

    Mrs Gould, please remember that you are never alone; our thoughts and hearts are always with you.

    Kindest & warmest regards from Kuwait


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