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A call for ideas: S2 and education

I’ve been asked by The Technology Source to write an article about the Second Superpower ideas and education.  TSE goes to teachers and others concerned with the institution of education.  Can any of you help me jump start my thinking on this one?  My best starting idea is that students and teachers should be blogging and using the tools of online dialogue to mobilize their own emergent point of view in schools.  I think this is true, but not particularly brillaint. Perhaps schools should be rethought in terms of cognitive and spiritual communities, linked by various communications media–and all become experimenters in the new discipline of emergent democracy.  But I don’t know, concretely, what this means.  In any case, anyone have some better ideas?? Thanks!!

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7 Responses to “A call for ideas: S2 and education”

  1. Here’s what you can do with a little video. Show the clip from CNN that prompted them to write this on their web site:

    “Some residents hoping to return to their daily routines in the capital apparently were lying low, fearing that pro-Saddam Hussein militias might be preparing more attacks.

    “But in the Baghdad suburb of Saddam City, residents took to the streets to celebrate the apparent end of the Iraqi regime. A Shiite Muslim leader told a group of 400 to 500 people, ‘The tyrant of the world is finished, thanks to the coalition. Thank God for Iraq the victorious.'”


    Then show some footage of the Second Superpower demonstrating against the liberation of Iraq.

    Then discuss the morality of torture, murder, and what kind of flexibility it takes to rationalize them. Then ask the students which of the two Superpowers they most identify with.

    Then go home, smoke a little chronic, listen to the Grateful Dead, and dream about the 60s and when you went wrong.

  2. OT! your right, we get it! 60s utopian pipe dream, check! we smoked it 😀 thank god all those berkeleyites moved on to silicon valley to help found the digital revolution 😀

    BOT 😀 i think it’s sorta been tried and discarded (or at least purchased by redhat 🙂 in the rise and fall of arsdigita! http://eveander.com/arsdigita-history that doesn’t mean the dream isn’t alive tho! many universities are placing course mat

  3. A few ideas:

    – Personal publishing could enable young people to learn more about themselves and their interests, and find their voice by telling stories from their point of view – http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2002/11/01.html#a518

    – Global connectivity might bring kids who live far apart closer (in the sense of actually caring about one another) through shared interests.

    – More and more open communities of interest will form that bring together experts and apprentices. Networked conversations will facilitate learning. There is a movement towards a more fluid, organic and self-directed form of education. I recommend reading http://seblogging.cognitivearchitects.com/

    – As networks become more permeable, kids might be allowed to actually have an impact on their community or society through their projects. Feeling relevant will motivate them tremendously. Just two examples of teens whose activities are already having recognized impact thanks to the net: http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2003/04/03.html#a862 and http://www.aaronsw.com/

    – Multiple points of authority – people will have more choice and it will be more obvious that there are many different ways of thinking and doing.

    Also do not miss Stephen Downes’ pointers at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/jim/comments?u=jim&p=94&link=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.law.harvard.edu%2Fjim%2F2003%2F04%2F08%23a94

  4. Another important thing is that in the future, learning will probably not be optional for anyone, young or old.

  5. As the saying goes, regime change begins at home.

    Encourage the kids to dialogue about how things are at their school, how they’d like things to be, and why. I write “dialogue” meaning not just top-of-head ideas, but lots of mutual sharing, until some of the changes they suggest come from a collective understanding they’ll be building. Then experiment by putting some of those suggestions into practice, and they can continue the dialogue, now learning from their own experience of how school “should be rethought”.

    For some specifics, have the kids start weblogs (you knew that). Include an open weblog for anonymous postings. Also a wiki, for them collect & organize text they like best, so that they get the experience of writing together, and the gems don’t get lost in the weblog archives.

    Throughout, also have face-to-face dialogues, some without an adult, and some with — preferably with the adult (and even the kids) facilitating in a help-them-figure-it-out-for-themselves way (as opposed to the i-am-going-to-run-the-agenda method). For more on dialogue, see Dialogue: A Proposal

  6. P.S. This time, helping you with your homework assignment is free 🙂

  7. Good comments John, starting kids in that direction – collectively – as well as individually is very important.

    I think it is really cool that they asked you to do this Jim.

    Would you consider doing it as a project? an emergent democracy happening?

    See what kind of muscle a Second Superpower may have?

    Put it to a test, evaluate, test, evaluate . . . etc.


    (just an idea. . .http://sknkwrks.dyndns.org:1957/writewiki/wiki.pl?action=edit&id=SecondSuperpowerWiki)

    Solidarity, Mark