Around the world this holiday season, many families are gathering together to share food and give thanks. Yet amidst these moments of togetherness and gift giving, there are many reasons to remember those who are less fortunate and in need of our assistance as well as prayers.
This photo by Marcus Bleasdale provides a small glimpse into the world of child soldiers in The Democratic Republic of Congo, “one of the countries with the highest numbers of underage soldiers in the world.”
This image of Jose, a member of a street gang in Cartucho, the most brutal quarter of Bogota, Columbia, captures a mirthful smile in a situation which many people would likely find hopeless and overwhelming.
Many people continue to champion the phrase “the world is flat,” yet what does this concept and the reality of direct connectivity to millions of other human beings around our planet mean for us and the students in our classrooms each day? I believe one of the things our digital “connectedness” SHOULD mean is that we are meaningfully tied together to better understand, support, and act with others across our towns and cities, as well as across our planet. There are few information sources better suited to helping us connect with authentic voices as well as images from around the world than the website Global Voices Online, and few websites better oriented toward helping entrepreneurs in the developing world than Kiva.
Put into the perspective of these images and others in the 14 image gallery, don’t ongoing debates about political appointees and high stakes testing in the United States seem relatively silly and distracting from the real issues which beset us as human beings occupying space and breathing oxygen on this fragile planet?
In his closing keynote at the NECC 2007 conference in Atlanta, Dr. Tim Tyson related the story of how over a period of seven years junior high students at his school gradually changed the focus of their digital storytelling projects (films/podcasts) from a lower-level Bloom’s taxonomy approach of “tell me, tell me” to a completely different level of direct marketing for meaningful advocacy on issues that matter in our world.
As 2009 dawns, let us follow the lead of those visionary students from Cobb County, Georgia. Let those of us blessed with relative affluence and material plenty not make the mistake of thinking we have received such wealth to hoard and keep it to ourselves. Rather, let us take seriously the responsibilities which come with great gifts, and resolve to use all the resources at our disposal to inspire and move generations of people to action in the service of humankind.
Yes, the world is on fire.
Let us seize the day.
Linktribution for these UNICEF images: Janine Mendes-Franco’s post “Haiti: Photo of the Year” on Global Voices Online,” Bryan Schaaf’s post “Unicef Photo Of The Year Features Haiti” on the blog “Haiti Innovation: Choice, Partnership, Community,” and Barbara Hans’ article “Walking Barefoot through Misery” on Spiegel Online.
Linktribution for “World on Fire” video and donation link: Karl Fisch’s posts “Give Until It Feels Good: Join Team Shift Happens on Kiva,” “Kiva Update and a Not-So-Modest Proposal,” and “World On Fire.”
Consider joining “Team Shift Happens.” Consider showing the above photos and video to your students when they return to class after the holiday break, and asking if they want to join and make a difference via Kiva as a class.
Small ripples can combine to make big waves.
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On this day..
- Book Review: The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross - 2016
- Advice for Teachers Starting with Classroom Blogging - 2015
- Creativity, Connectedness and the Adjacent Possible - 2014
- Exploring the Hobbit on iTunes University and Course To-Dos - 2013
- Nook Tablet Plays Enhanced eBooks - 2011
- Directly Download the Playing with Media enhanced eBook to your iPad! - 2011
- iOS Apps for Productivity and Fun: The List! - 2010
- Learning about Scratch Basics (a podcast interview with 7 and 10 year olds) - 2010
- If you like Moving at the Speed of Creativity... - 2009
- 4 Year Old Perceptions of Christmas - 2007