The Bigger Picture

Using Elluminate for Online Collaboration and Professional Development

There is so much happening this week and it started with John Pilger, in the flesh at a Q&A session. I am still buzzing, but wish I had gone on Saturday AND Sunday instead of only one session. This was very exciting for me, as I have enjoyed his work for many years. As well as this the Global Education Conference is happening right NOW, as I type – 24-7.

This is such a huge event and last night was a lot of fun as well as informative. The image above is from the first keynote session Creating a Culture of Peace Through Global Education: Some Lessons Learned by Ed Gragert from iEARN. Check out the link for the recording of the session and see some inspirational ideas to connect students around the globe involving them in the world they live in, while opening their eyes at the same time.

The world lights up at the Online Conference, Nov 15, 2010

Both of these events that I attended,  person and online, in touched upon, or more like embraced, what is so important about being a teacher. We aren’t just here to teach mathematics, the arts, science, languages and other disciplines, but also to open children’s minds to the world. We are truly successful if we teach them ‘learning to learn’ and give them a hunger to go further.

In this digital age, we have so much more access to truths as John Pilger put it. Our media is often a delivery vehicle for those in power in any kind of government, so social networks and social media is key for accessing such truths.

You can watch any of John Pilger’s videos on his website and while there isn’t John Pilger tweeting persay, the release of his next film is something people can choose to follow. If you don’t know who John Pilger is and you care about the world’s injustices, then click here and check out some of his films.

Twitter and John Pilger films

People like John Pilger and organisations such as iEARN give me hope. Our world is a crazy mixed up place with far too much suffering. The films I saw on Sunday night, with the Q&A, brought tears to my eyes more than once. Someone in the crowd felt hopeless about it all and expressed this a number of times. In particular the media coverage of a limited pool of events bothered him. The old what’s the point scenario, when the media doesn’t help and in fact can hinder access to truths at times. To say all media is like this, is not a truth either.

But almost simultaneously as the man lamented about our world the wheels were turning to release Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now free. I truly believe this wouldn’t have happened without outside pressure, and a lot of this pressure comes from us, your everyday folk. I didn’t hear about it first from the ‘media’ as in newspapers and the like. It was from one of my tweeps on twitter. There is no doubting that  governments are able to apply more pressure, but who pressured them? One of my good friends, who enjoys Pilger’s work, said Pilger was preaching to the converted. While that is true a lot of the time and a valid point, some of the converted get out there and try to do things. Every bit counts, isn’t that what we teach our kids. Funnily enough when I was excitedly telling my students that I saw one of my heroes the night before they said he had been on Oprah. I am not a fan, but if that is true (I haven’t checked), he really did reach out to new demographic, and perhaps hit a nerve here and there.

Aveces uno tiene el mundo a cuestas... / The World Behind you..

Aveces uno tiene el mundo a cuestas... / The World Behind you.. by foxspain licensed under CC by A

When my students master a skill or show insight or curiosity or blow me away with a completely different approach or thought process I often say “Maybe one day, with your mind and skills you can help to save our world”. I hope that the students I teach stop to think about the big decisions being made and how it impacts our environment and people around them when they are out in the grown-up world. I want them to enjoy learning and to be independent and critical thinkers.

How is AoD? Two classes, two completely different paces, but more on that next post. I just wanted to blog about the great things happening out there and people who inspire me. The group who got this Global Conference going are amazing. It was so exciting to watch the world light up last night. And John Pilger, the world needs more John Pilgers.

The two films I saw on Sunday at the Hanoi Cinematheque

Breaking The Silence: Truth And Lies In The War On Terror  An inquiry into the “war on terror” and its affects on “liberated” countries.

Palestine Is Still the Issue  An assessment of the problems endemic to the West Bank and Gaza.