Thank you, Michelle Luhtala, for 100 edWebinars and more!

100th Webinar GiftIn July 2010, Michelle Luhtala, Department Chair of the New Canaan High School Library, presented her 1st webinar on edWeb. In November 2019, she presented her 100th! 

Over the course of 10 years, edWeb has presented over 2,200 “edWebinars” that have had nearly 2 million views. The edWeb community has grown to more than 700,000 educators in 185 countries. It’s not an overstatement to say that none of this would have happened without Michelle!

As the founder of edWeb, in 2010 I was struggling to figure out how to get more engagement on our social networking platform. Educators loved the idea of a social network dedicated to education, but came looking for something to “do.” In March of 2010, I attended the CoSN conference and circled a presentation on the agenda that Michelle was giving on using social media as part of the New Canaan High School library program. Her presentation was the last session of the last day, and I almost skipped it! 

When you look back and see how lucky you were that you took one fork and not the other, it’s amazing. As I sat listening to Michelle, and learning about the innovative ways she was getting engagement with students in her library program, I said to myself, “Every librarian in the country should hear this presentation!” That gave me the idea to integrate webinars with our social network. I went up to Michelle after her presentation and asked if she was interested in working with me on the idea, and she said “Yes!”

Michelle and I worked together to create Emerging Tech for School Librarians, an online professional learning community that hosts monthly webinars, and provides CE certificates for educators who attend live or watch the recording. edWeb now hosts over 100 online communities that host “edWebinars” for educators from preK – 12, in partnership with leading education organizations who sponsor and help us host the programs. We thank Mackin for their generous support of the Emerging Tech program!

Our sponsors make it possible for us to provide much-needed professional learning for free, and they also help us recruit the most innovative educators to present on edWeb. edWeb now hosts over 300 live edWebinars a year and over 1,800 are available to view on-demand.

An important reason for our success is how much educators enjoy sharing their best ideas and practices with their peers. We’ve had over 1,700 educators share their knowledge on edWeb. They love the experience, so they come back to do more.  And when Michelle Luhtala says “the best way for me to learn how to do something is to make a webinar about it,” she really means it!

Lisa Schmucki and Michelle LuhtalaFor me personally, it has been an amazing journey to grow edWeb with the help of many passionate, dedicated, talented educators, and first among all is Michelle!

We’re 10 years into the edWeb story, and every day I look back with gratitude for my teachers and all the people and experiences that have brought us to today, and who help us continue this rewarding work into the future.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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