Taking Action

Last night two of my grandsons came to dinner with my son and me. We’ve always been able to talk to each other—even when they were teenagers—(mostly, because they were always playing some instrument, drums or sax or guitar with another teenage boyfriend of my granddaughter, so we didn’t have to talk or confront each other!).

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Maggie Doyne, founder of the Kopila Valley Children’s Home

Anyway, we had a great discussion that came from asking their help for my book. They both have jobs that they really like; the elder, Cazo, as a river guide for river boat voyagers on the Colorado and Green rivers, the youngest, Michael, as a waiter and sommelier wine steward at a fancy restaurant.

With my new conviction that it is our children—with new technology, but also with physical activity and resilience, and uncurbed imagination—it is they who are going to save our world. Hopefully, in the process they will educate us (old fogies like me, age 87) so we can help with an occasional glimpse of wisdom from some of our experiences! So I asked them please to think about ideas they knew about (like the Global Brain) or were actually doing (like teaching urban kids, who had never even seen a wilderness area; how to survive on a river boat trip and even grow to love the adventure) and to share them with me. Michael said, “But Granny, no one ever listens to us,” and I said, “No, that’s not true. People are beginning to listen, especially when you do something positive- like Maggie Doyne, that courageous girl who went to Nepal on a ‘gap’ year trip between high school and college. What she didn’t expect to see was a whole lot of orphaned children from the 1996-2006 civil war. Children without homes, or food, or love. She was outraged but also filled with compassion. She stayed. She bought some land, she found people to help her build a home, where she brought the children, fed and healed them (many were literally dying from starvation and diseases), and she started a school called Kopila Valley Children’s Home. And she is still there. And, her 3rd Graders are actually reading Charlotte’s Web. Are ours?”

 

“So please,” I continued, “think about what you’d like to see us teaching our kids; how you’d do it? What kind of space would you need? Would you just use computers or would you still teach cursive writing? Would you memorize anything for pleasure—not just for an AIMS test? In fact, what kind of education do you think we need? All kinds of questions like these…”

And, I’d like to throw these questions out to any of my virtual friends on Facebook who’d be interested in posting their responses or new questions—for discussion or sharing in my book (with their permission).

 Resources

 Maggie Doyne’s website: www.blinknow.org

Articles: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/elli45fgge/maggie-doyne-founder-kopila-valley-childrens-home-and-school-in-nepal/

Facebook page for Maggie Doyne

Educate the Children International

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Doyne/161542457201289

Shared Spontaneity

Picture 3earthstar media 

First of all, I want to thank all of you who’ve been befriending me or posting your thoughts on my Facebook page. I have two trusted friends, Laurie and Lane, who are usually my ‘virtual’ voices, because honestly I’m still living in a prehistoric age, and also I’m struggling to finish my book and prefer reading to Facebook! I just do not have or make the time to appreciate and use the Internet fully, but I’m grateful when someone prints out for me TED talks or blogs from some of my favorite educators like Diane Ravitch or Salman Khan*.

Despite the fact that I don’t text or use computers, I-Pads or smart phones, and only rarely a cell phone, I have had to absorb a lot of new vocabulary and even some new ideas—mostly, via my grandchildren. What I’m beginning to realize is that our children brought up on this information technology are active laterally (horizontally) rather than hierarchically (or vertically). They share their information, their lives, their ideas with friends all over the world via the Internet, with arms stretched out sidewise rather than down, while having information pushed on them from above (sometimes by decree) from parents, teachers, school administrators, the government, etc. The Internet has revolutionized all our lives—even mine!

 

It’s the sharing part that I like most: sharing of energies to mentor someone who needs help; working together on a project, and creating or building something. It’s the OCCUPY consciousness: a shared attitude that if we move together now, while the need is apparent, we can come to the rescue of people in trouble, as the OCCUPY volunteers did after Super storm Sandy. Or, there might be a need for a shelter, a building or a special project such as this one: the night after Martin Luther King was murdered, an activist professor at MIT, Karl Linn, gathered together a small army of MIT and Harvard students. They constructed a geodesic dome, found and enlarged photos of King and scenes from his life, hung them in the newly formed gallery in the dome, and invited people to come to a memorial service for the beloved Martin Luther King—all of this done overnight!

 

I am old enough to think we still need long-range ideas, ideas and plans for projects that require a depth of critical thinking. And, I believe in apprenticeship practice and training, and that we should visualize the consequences of such undertakings. But I love the idea of being able to respond spontaneously to a call for help or action, of being able to reach fellow helpers quickly- and MOVE!

 

To finish this thought: there is a wonderful new book by Jeremy Rifkin called The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.) He has been a prime mover in the ‘greening’ movement towards sustainability in both Europe and the Far East, and he describes in detail how we can move into 21st Century’s ‘green economy.’

 

 

Excerpted from Wikipedia

*Diane Silvers Ravitch (born July 1, 1938) is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University‘s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

*Salman Amin “Sal” Khan (born October 11, 1976) is a Bengali American educator, entrepreneur, and former hedge fund analyst. He is the founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform and nonprofit organization. From a small office in his home, Khan has produced more than 4,000 video lessons teaching a wide spectrum of academic subjects, mainly focusing on mathematics and the sciences. As of May 2013, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube attracted 1,000,000 subscribers and the Khan Academy videos have been viewed over 268 million times In 2012, Time named Salman Khan in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Forbes magazine put Salman Khan on its cover with the story “$1 Trillion Opportunity”.