An Interview with Myscha Theriault Dickinson

Why did you decide to create MTD Worldwide?

I spent a good deal of time teaching overseas in places like Micronesia and the Arabian Gulf. It didn't take long to see how little information is available on the under - represented people of the world. Children in Micronesia, for example, are often unable to find their islands printed on the maps in their schools' textbooks.

As I continued my research, I realized a great need for educational materials correctly depicting peoples of lesser known areas. The more research I did, the more I discovered there are many countries forced to buy materials from other cultures to teach their children. Their own heritage is left out, or plays a very small role in the materials.

Other teachers have also expressed dissatisfaction with available materials. Resources relating to the Middle East are even harder to come by. Kuwait was the first country I visited in that part of the world. In fact, I lived and worked there for over a year. I looked for materials to help me use my Kuwait experiences in the classroom and found there were none.

Given the continued importance of the Middle East, the critical need for mutual understanding among our peoples, and the lack of materials available, I began with elementary level resources on Arabic culture. From there, I moved on to other world regions and cultures. The classroom materials we have developed - and continue to develop - at MTD Worldwide are our way of giving teachers the best possible tools to acquaint students with the under represented people of our world at a time when this knowledge and understanding are essential to us all.

The truth is, launching these products is more about doing the right thing than anything else. The lack is huge and the need enormous.

Are the free online samples representative of MTD's entire product line?

We believe so. You'll see from the sample learning modules that not only are our resources comprehensive and well integrated, they're also fun. That's because I, and others with MTD, have extensive classroom experience. Our materials are created by teachers, for teachers, with children in mind. We know that learning can and needs to be fun.

We've utilized our understanding of what teachers need for practical use in the classroom and have done our best to fill that void. That is, and will continue to be, the primary design philosophy of every educational resource MTD provides.

How are your materials so affordable?

Most large publishing companies are forced to operate with an extremely high profit margin. Because we are smaller and working in cyberspace, MTD Worldwide can meet the need for educational materials on subjects not usually of interest to big publishers, even though those topics are often of extreme interest to many teachers around the world. We know the demand for these materials will become more vital to everyone as the twenty - first century progresses.

Besides the efficient use of the internet to distribute our materials, we've successfully controlled costs by eliminating many of the traditional corporate overhead items. Key personnel telecommute, eliminating the need for expensive offices. Creative outsourcing of many services is also a necessity. These and other less expensive business practices provide the most impact per dollar spent, and the significant savings are passed on to our clientele.

What brought such a remarkable team together?

I know I can safely say love and enthusiasm. The entire team is dedicated to this project and maintains focus on student learning and classroom teacher needs at all times. MTD Worldwide is our way of combining our interest in world cultures with our love and enthusiasm for learning. The internet model is our way of sharing that love and enthusiasm with others.

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