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Council gives Chalkle $19,000 to develop its own social network

Sep 18th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured Article, Features, News, Student Features


CO-FOUNDERS: Linc Gasking (left) and Silvia Zuur.


COMMUNITY education start-up Chalkle is the biggest winner from a recent council funding round.

Chalkle is a social education programme, which encourages teachers to share their skills with the community by delivering evening classes.

The $19,000 grant given to Chalkle will help them develop their own social netowrk platform.

The programme currently organises classes using US-based website, but Chalkle hope to use the grant money to develop a Wellington-based social network platform.

The $19,000 allowance was approved by the Wellington City Council grants subcommittee last week, and was the largest amount given to a single business.

Chairperson of the grants subcommittee Councillor Stephanie Cook said that “Chalkle is a fantastic new organisation that has huge potential in a range of ways.”

Ms Cook said although the amount seemed big compared to other grants approved during the meeting, the council regularly pays comparable amounts to organisations that benefit Wellington, such as Kaibosh food rescue.

Chalkle CEO and co-founder Silvia Zuur said their long term goal is to make Chalkle truly accessable to Wellingtonians and that developing their own software platform is a step in that direction.

Ms Zuur said they were already committed to building their own platform and did not rely on the grant, but it had helped with the process.

“Wellingtonians have a crazy thirst for learning,” said Ms Zuur.

Ms Cook said the grant was approved for a number of reasons, one of them being government cuts to night classes in 2010.

“Engaging young people has been a challenge for us over the years,” said Ms Cook. She said that Chalkle was a group of “amazing young people” intending to benefit Wellington in new ways.

“They’re a business with a social conscience,” said Ms Cook.

According to Chalkle’s website: “Anyone can be a chalkle teacher — you don’t require any formal qualification, just an enthusiasm to share your unique hobby, skill, trade or area of knowledge.”

The new social media platform is currently in development.


Chalkler Carolyn mixes stargazing with compassionate communication


FROM winter stargazing to non-violent or compassionate communication, ‘Chalkler’ Carolyn Bates has attended over 20 classes in the past year.

Carolyn is one of 3500 Wellington people who attend classes on a regular basis for both self-development and professional development.

She heard about Chalkle through a friend and her most recent one was an introduction to WordPress.

“It covered an awful lot in a short amount of time,” she said, adding that it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Chalkle is a Wellington based social enterprise that has created the new approach to adult learning through networking.

It is education without the bank-breaking fees and the long term commitments.

The concept was formed over a cup of coffee between co-founders Silvia Zuur & Linc Gasking after discussions about friends wanting to gain practical skills outside of formal education.

The first classes, ranging from basic life skills to agriculture and environment, started in July 2012.

The name is a made-up verb that comes from the use of chalk on blackboards and street art to share ideas.

Their mission is to connect people who want to learn with people who want to teach, through affordable one-off classes where the teachers set the price.LWMheadshot

Wellington Chalkle curator Liz Willoughby-Martin, right, said it was an innovative way of looking at adult education.

“There’s a community of teachers and learners who have in the last year taught everything from WordPress to worm farming, from nonviolent communication to permaculture to Spanish lessons and Spanish cooking.

“It’s kind of a massive range,” said Liz.

“We really feel like we’re enriching the life of Wellington.”

Liz, who has been to many classes herself, says they are held all over the city and the costs range from free to a small fee.

“The idea is that it’s not a physically based system, it’s instead a more networked approach to education.”

“Learning can take place and does take place at any place, at any time.”

MossIP400xSpiceRack Social Media co-founder Raquel Moss, left, is one of those teachers.

She recently held her first class on WordPress, an online blog and website content management tool.

It was an introduction to the website, starting with the basics, and had a one-off cost of $26 per person.

“I, as the teacher, set how much I would like to be paid per head and I choose a minimum amount of people and a maximum amount of people,” says Raquel.

She was introduced to Chalkle from a former colleague who suggested it would be a good idea given her extensive knowledge of the website.

“I was tutoring her how to use her WordPress site and she said: ‘You’d be really great at doing a Chalkle class’.”

The two-hour class was held at the Enspiral Space with a group of 11 sitting around a boardroom table on their laptops listening intently and asking numerous questions.

Those interested in attending classes sign up on Chalkle’s web page and from there can register for as many classes as they want and suggest ideas for new classes.

If Chalkle receives enough interest about an idea from Chalklers, they find a teacher and organise a class.

Chalkle expanded beyond Wellington in May, with a new Horowhenua division set up in Levin by community centre Te Takere.

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