This summer, students and teachers at Amity High School in Woodbridge, CT read the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. The Facebook Cliff Notes version of this says:
A Malawian teenage, William Kamkwamba, taught himself how to build a windmill out of junk and bring power to his village. He then went on to build a second, larger windmill to power irrigation pumps. He did this all from books he read in the library.
A slightly longer version can be found in this Ted Talk.
This could be a great starting point for a discussion of colonial and post-colonial literature, perhaps starting with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, followed by Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. This could then be followed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun”. Those looking for other forms of accessing some of this might want to watch the movie, “Half of a Yellow Sun”, or Adichie’s TED talk, The danger of a single story . Yes, I realize that Conrad’s Congo, Achebe and Adichie’s Nigeria and Kamkwamba’s Malawi are very different places, but I’m guessing some important things could be discovered.
Perhaps part of that lesson is that what we make matters, and how we make it happens matters. The bigger question is why. Perhaps it could lead to discussions of business ethics, or even deeper into existential questions.
I might start with Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
To me, this is what it all boils down to. The problem is, that in our post-modern secular world, if you start talking about the Bible, God, Prophets, and commandments, you are likely to lose a lot of people. What might this be like in today’s post-modern secular world?
If you were to choose a few videos that grappled with these bigger questions, that go to the core of your existence, what would they be? What would you want people to watch? Would it be some of these TED talks? Talks about creativity?
There are a couple that I would suggest. I might start off with the abridged version of David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech, This is Water. This challenges us to think about who are neighbor really is. Yes, it starts off with the privileged white college graduate as a neighbor and doesn’t get to issues of racism and post colonialism, but it is an important start.
Once you have started thinking about having a little more empathy for those around you, the next video I would watch might be Validation. We need to find out how the people around us need validation and start there.
Without really thinking about those around us, about loving God and neighbor, we may end up just building bankrupt casinos ruining the lives of customers and vendors as we try to make American great again.
What videos would you recommend? What do you make? How do you make it happen? Why?
Normally, when asked what I make, I would say blog posts, in addition to other poems like poems, or hard cider. Yet this is only my fourth blog post of the week, behind my average of a post a day, and it does little to catch up with a full week with no blog posts while I was out on Cape Cod, and an expected dearth of blog posts while I am at Falcon Ridge.
On our way out to Cape Cod, we stopped at the 2nd BIG Tiny House Festival in Concord, MA, that my middle daughter helped organize with her friends from Miranda’s Hearth. At one of the tables there were #WhatIMake cards and colored pencils. Take a blank card, draw what you make. Leave it in the box of completed cards and take a different card. Connect with other makers.
This week has been #BreakWeek in the #CLMOOC I’m somewhat participating in. Being offline at the Cape left me less connected or involved that I would have liked to have been and I was hoping to use #BreakWeek to catch up. There’s been a lot of talk about postcards in #CLMOOC, very much like the #WhatIMake cards from Miranda’s Hearth. At some point, when I feel like things are better under control, I hope to join the postcard project. I hope some of my friends at Miranda’s Hearth will too.
Some of the stuff in #CLMOOC has been about ‘Animator’ and various other tools for creating animated GIFs. People have talked about Paper by Fiftythree. Unfortunately that is iPhone only. Someone else mentioned Sketch on Android. I looked briefly at Sketch and similar sketching and animation tools for Android and for laptops. Sketch has the ability to collaboratively sketch, and I think it may have timelines as well. Seems like a nice digital parallel to the postcard and #WhatIMake projects.
Another project that has caught my eye is #CLMOOC #DAILYCONNECT: THE CONNECTED POEM. I would love to spend some time in the connected poem, or perhaps set up a few connected poems myself. It uses Titanpad which appears to be based on Etherpad. Both are worth exploring.
I typically leave pages I’ve been browsing up to come back to them later and perhaps write about them a little. Often I try to connect them to different themes. I’ve been trying to avoid getting too drawn into the political fray, but I have been wondering if “You have sacrificed nothing and no one” will be the “Have you no sense of decency left” line from the 2016 election. Various people have been writing about it. Ezra Klein wrote, Donald Trump’s slander of Captain Humayun Khan’s family is horrifying, even for Trump. The Washington Post had Backlash for Trump after he lashes out at the Muslim parents of a dead U.S. soldier.
I’ve been getting into some discussions about Trump and religion. On Facebook I shared Opinion: Denying the Imago Dei: The triumph of Donald Trump. It was written by Ian Markham, Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary.
We should always recognize that when we talk about human lives we are talking about men and women who are made in the image of God. People are of infinite value. This debased and coarse language is totally inappropriate; in fact, it is wrong; it is sinful; indeed it is evil.
I often also point people to 7 conservative Christians who are not supporting Trump. There are lots of good comments there. Another window I had open was TRUMP ANNOUNCES HIS DEBATE ESCAPE PLAN. Not a lot of content there but it voices something people are talking about. Also, If Politicians Had Man Buns has some funny pictures.
It is getting late, and I won’t make it through all the open windows, but I thought I’d highlight two last articles I have up. I was talking with my eldest daughter whose classmates are now hearing “weird dad” stories. I pointed her to Impression Formation in Cyberspace: Online Expectations and Offline Experiences in Text-based Virtual Communities in which I am a case study. There is also an article which I believe I originally found from my middle daughter, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett And Oprah All Use The 5-Hour Rule :
Top business leaders often spend five hours per week doing deliberate learning.
While I’m not keen on the business focus, I think it has an interesting point which expands upon nicely.
More continuous connected learning later…
the voice of the world”
”Epic Night! Featuring Rufus Wainwright + 1500 Singers [who] sing HALLELUJAH!”
a LIVE node on the network
as we Reciprocate with Gratitude and Generosity.
each of us reached out to a few (five?) unconnected nodes and connected up with them,
perhaps through poem, song, or
Escargot Mail (Without the Garlic)?
When I get busy, I typically leave windows open on my computer; webpages I want to bookmark or write about, documents I haven’t finished and will save later. Ongoing conversations in instant messenger programs, and so on. Eventually, it gets to the point where I just have to close out everything I’m working. Sometimes it is because things stop working. Sometimes it is simply because I need to tie things up. Today, it was a little bit of both.
I am starting vacation and I want to have as clean a slate as possible. There was a lot to close out, because it has been a particularly challenging week, mostly because of #CLMOOC starting and because of Pokemon Go.
I’ve saved all kinds of thoughts and links in various documents, and some of this needs to come together into a blog post. First #CLMOOC
The starting point for CLMOOC is this page. It isn’t too late to join in. One way of joining in is to simply jump in. CLMOOC is divided into Make Cycles. The first Make Cycle is around getting to know one another. Make Cycle #1: Make with Me: Who Are We?
An important part of CLMooc is the connections, reusing and mashing up content. Some of the posts that jumped out at me, not in any particular order, included Ronald Rudolf’s variation on Jennifer’s Poem, RON LEUNISSEN’s reuse of art-cards, Jeffrey Keefer mind map in Who Am I? A CLMOOC UnIntroduction (which inspired some of my writing this past week), Sarah Honeychurch’s Who am I this month? and Deanna Mascle’s<./a> Notable Notes: Exploring Identity with/in #CLMOOC. For those exploring mapping, Deanna’s post points to one of Jeffrey Keefer’s post, one of my posts, and several others. I also want to highlight Kevin Hodgson’s poem about vocal harmony in a world of so much disharmony in the world around us.
Deanna’s comments about my post hit on another big topic for me this week, Pokemon. She provided a link to two great articles, 14 reasons #PokemonGO has a future in education; or, Why #PokemonGO deserves the thoughtful, creative, attention of schools and teachers and Pokémon Go Has Created a New Kind of Flâneur
Another really important article, I thought, was Ezra Klein’s Pokémon Go isn’t a fad. It’s a beginning.
Meanwhile, at work, we’ve been talking a lot about Pokemon. In a blog post, Pokémon Go: In, Near, and Around the Health Center, in Mark Masselli’s LinkedIn post, Pokémon Go and Community Health, in a Facebook Album, Pokemon GO at CHC, and in various news articles: PokeMon at CHC New Britain and
Pokemon Go gaming craze has players getting outside to find Pikachu.
So now, I’m heading off to vacation. I’ll see what is available for Pokemon on Cape Cod. I’ll stop at the 2nd BIG Tiny House Festival in Concord, MA on the way, and hopefully, I will get time to read, relax, and maybe even get more writing done.
As I drive, I’m listening to a Librivox recording of Evelyn Underhill’ Mysticism. Her comments about the phenomenal world and the transcendental world, that which is around us that we don’t normally see, makes me think of the various Pokemon characters that everyone is busy capturing in Pokemon Go. I think of it in terms of the networks and super-networks we are part of and how they shapes who we are. How does the network of roads, of food distribution networks, of electronic communications, of our social connections all connect with one another and shape the way we live and learn?
All of this is part of a spectrum of the phenomenal, the electronic, the social, and the transcendent. There is also the aspect of hallucinations, whether drug induced, or induced by other means. How do we know the validity of our perceptions, both of those things we receive and those that we don’t notice?
The section of Underhill’s Mysticism that I’m listening to right now is about introspection and the practice of contemplation; how you put yourself into a space where you can observe the transcendent. It seems to relate very well to levelling up in Pokemon Go or related augmented reality games. It seems as if the same applies to connected learning; practicing of being connected, of think about how our connections shape us and those around us.
So, I am spending time levelling up in my augmented reality games. I am spending time in contemplation. I am exploring my connections online and the learning opportunities they relate to.
For my CLMooc friends, how does this relate to your learning?