Friday, March 30, 2007


There's no television here at the homestead. Now, I'm fine with that. Still, to get a quick fix, I started watching clips of The Daily Show. Now, don't get me wrong, I watch other shows and get my news from other sources. Still, I like to laugh. The movie above ties nicely to Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone which I finished last night.

I found the book compelling and difficult to tear myself away from when other tasks required my attention. I think more to its credit was the fact that I also had to make a conscious decision to pick the book back up again after I'd been away from it for any time. Once, as I was sitting down to begin a new chapter, I actually said aloud to myself, "All right, I'm going to enter this world again."

It speaks to Beah's translation of the pain and inhuman acts he and other boy soldiers in Sierra Leon suffered during that country's civil war. To pick up the book was to admit you were entering a world no one in reality would choose.

Interestingly, Michael Vasquez and Elizabeth Rubin have been writing back and forth on the book over at Slate. Their conversation has planted some interesting thoughts. I'm not sure what they'll grow to become. Still, they germinate. I'm not sure where all of this is going except to say that I feel the need to do more, to educate more, to do more.

Karl Fisch posted today about the birth of a plan to move his Did You Know? presentation from viral pacivity to something that got the ball rolling toward moving the conversation of School 2.0 from minority to majority and perhaps to something beyond simply a conversation about pockets of success.

I'm all for it. Beyond that, though, is Karl's post about how to effectively roll out the soon-to-be polished version of the presentation. It's a planned convergence - consumers using producer tactics (let's all acknowledge my active processing of Henry Jenkins and move on).

My thinking then becomes intertwined. While I agree the conversation about how learning and educating should be changing, more important global applications of these tactics are waiting in the wings. Imagine a similar approach to the one Karl suggests - only it's applied to poverty or Darfur or hunger or joblessness.

How do you motivate? A stake, right? The thing is, there is everyday folk do have a stake in solving these problems, but they don't have an urgency behind them. Imagine the Gates Foundation opening a challenge to the globe where they placed all of the important data and resources about a given global or national crisis on a page or wiki or whatever and then facilitated an open forum engaging experts and invested amatuers in solving the problem.

Think of the educational implications of such a challenge. A civics class selects a chunk of data and works collaboratively to analyze and contribute to the cause, an English class utilizes the information to write to governments and other non-civilian change catalysts urging their investigation or - better yet - asking what they can do to help.

Am I thinking too big? Have I said too much? I should pull back? Someone tell me they can see the vision.

More later.

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1 comment:

Jason said...

I'm feeling it! And you know I'd collaborate with you on an interdisciplinary unit like that. My question is why not think big? I believe that many important "real" issues could be solved with "big thinking" and collaboration.