The tweet that led to Mirka Mora.

On Tuesday evening I put out a tweet on Twitter asking if anyone had a connection to Mirka Mora. My daughter was doing a project based on her life and she would have loved to get the opportunity to interview her. Lauren O’Grady saw my tweet and retweeted it to her network . Lauren has extended her network beyond education and it didn’t take long for a response to come my way. Gina Milicia is a professional photographer who knows Mirka and she let me know that she would talk to her and be in touch.

Wednesday morning Gina rang me to tell me she had spoken to Mirka and she would be happy to speak to my daughter and the other girls who are completing the project with her.  Both of us marvelled at the power of the Twitter network to facilitate something like this. We  both agreed that there is something special about the people there; a willingness to help one another out. It’s a bit like my neighbourhood when I was growing up; people would pitch in to support one another. Twitter feels like that to me.

I rang Mirka and set things up for an afternoon phone call interview. The girls were thrilled. They never expected that they would be actually talking to the subject of their research. We decided we would use the loudspeaker function of my phone and a voice tracer device that would record the call and enable it to be downloaded as an MP3 file. I’d informed Mirka of this and she was happy to have this happen.

1.30pm came around and the interview took place. All of the girls asked questions and managed to draw out answers that related to their theme of triumph over adversity. Mirka is a very interesting and generous person. She’s an artist who migrated to Australia as a young bride from France after the Second World War. She is Jewish and related to the girls her experiences avoiding internment in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

When the girls had finished with their questions I got back on the phone to thank Mirka. She relayed to me how honoured she was to have them use her as the focus of their project and remarked on how they had asked very astute questions. She then said she would like to invite them to afternoon tea at her place as a way of thanking them! We set a date and the girls will be visiting Mirka next week.

How’s that! Pretty amazing really. A tweet goes out, it gets a response, and our students find themselves having the opportunity to meet with the person they have chosen as their object of study for their inquiry week project. We are fortunate that Mirka is such a generous soul.

I have to say I’ve been impressed with my daughter’s skills over the last couple of days. Her group set up a wiki for the project. They wanted to embed the MP3 file of the phone conversation. We were trying to figure out how to get it uploaded to the wiki when she came up with the idea of uploading to YouTube. She tried that but the file wouldn’t process. She then made a Photo Story and used the file as the audio track. This successfully uploaded to YouTube and she was able to embed it in the wiki. Here it is;

She must be learning a thing or two from her Mum! She’ll be teaching me soon at this rate.

If you’d like to, take a look at their wiki . They’d be thrilled to see some dots on their Clustrmap.

PostSecret – a favourite of mine

If you haven’t yet discovered PostSecret then you should follow the link and check it out. People create postcards on which are written secrets that they reveal to the world anonomously through this site. It’s kind of like peeking into the secret lives of others, but I think it’s reassuring as well. It helps to know that others find situations difficult. It makes you realise you are not alone and that people everywhere are grappling with finding their place in the world. Sometimes the postcards are confronting and not something you’d put up on the interactive whiteboard, so approach with caution if you are thinking of using it as a teaching resource. Nonetheless, I know quite a few adolescents who regularly visit this site and find it fascinating and helpful. Personally, I think it’s very helpful for students who feel like they don’t fit in or are grappling with difficult times. There’s comfort in discovering you aren’t alone. The postcards have the ability to evoke a myriad of emotions. Here’s a few from this week.

This one made me laugh (probably because I used to think that my cat was trying to communicate with me telepathically when I was a teenager!)

This one made me reflect on the choices we make in life,

And this one made me cry. I have a 9 yr old son.


It’s powerful stuff. Visit PostSecret. Be prepared to see some postcards that are a little confronting, but also be prepared to be touched by the experiences of others.

Lauren O’Grady has decided to take an idea from the PostSecret site and have it grow amongst the educational community. She’s asking for 6 word memoirs that you can contribute with a picture or film. Take a look at Lauren’s site and help make it grow. I haven’t posted mine yet but I will!