Day 3 is officially in the books! A recurring theme this week has been to start the morning with a brain tease and today was no different, except we did not actually go over our responses. Perhaps this was a good thing, as this one challenged me the most out of any so far this week. I did tweet it out earlier; feel free to give it a try!
There were a few key focus areas for today's class: systems thinking and looking at idealism verses realism. With systems thinking, we watched "The Water of Ayole," which is a story from Togo in West Africa. The focus was on, you guessed it, water. A quick background ... at one time, women would carry up to 80 pounds of water from the river back to their village, which was 10-12 miles a day. And this water was not healthy. In fact, 1,000 or so children died annually, some due to Guiana worm. The state eventually got involved and installed water pumps, but did not train villagers on how to use them nor repair them. So when they broke, there was no one to repair them. The systems piece comes when there was a review of the 'why' here and changes made.
It was a moving video. I encourage folks to watch it, as my very brief summary does not do it justice, other than to tease it to encourage you to watch it. My main take-a-way from it was that technology alone does not solve the problem. There is much more that is involved, primarily buy-in from stakeholders and an ownership of the system and/or process. Otherwise, it will fail, as you will see in the video.
We also spent some time this morning talking about idealism and realism. It was fun to work with Brad and Travis on crafting our school based on a idealist educational philosophy. Our school ended us being an independent study, growth based school, where scholars would come and go as they please to learn what they wanted to learn. Why? Because every aspect of life has been achieved by perfection, meaning everything we create is perfection and every obstacle is overcome by perfection. This school hones those skills to be perfect, with teachers serving as mentors, guides, and facilitators. It would be the ideal for a self-directed learner, though it may not work for those who need a structure to follow. Or who need to know the expected outcomes.
I actually thought I was more of a realist as we started the day, but do believe I am more of an idealist. Not that I am perfect, but that I do not need structure to grow. I grow because I can and because I am driven to do so. I do believe that we are in control of our future and we need to take ownership for the now and the then.
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.