Robert Paterson has put together many of his thoughts on social software and societal reform in an excellent synthesis entitled, “Going Home – Our Reformation. Rob’s article begins:
I was in a meeting this week with a group of “educators”. We were talking about Communities of Practice. I mentioned blogging several times in the meeting. At the meeting’s end, one of the participants approached me and said, “Every time you mention blogging I get annoyed. It is only a fad and will never affect education.”
I believe that it is not a fad. I believe that Blogging, and its wider family of Social Software tools, will not only affect education but will shake our entire society to the core. I believe that our descendants will look back at its arrival the same way that we now look back at the advent of the printing press.
He continues with a number of current scenarios that show the desperate conditions we have created, and then goes on to show how targeted, local initiatives can get us out of this mess. The future that Rob sees for Prince Edward Island could happen almost anywhere, and he describes the kinds of grassroot projects that are possible and feasible. Rob’s description of the new schooling model is an example:
The School Revolution — As with seniors, the revolution in PEI schools did not happen as a result of any deliberate project to transform schools. What is happening is that a series of projects designed to engage children have taken hold. This work did not even take place in the regular school day but in the afternoon. The afternoon has become a place where children can do the one thing that they really love. They choose and then the community tries its best to find people who can take them to a place of great expertise.This idea had its start in two areas, Theatre and Sport. Theatre PEI began a community program in the afternoon to awaken kids to the thrill of theatre. At the same time, Sports PEI began a similar program to offer the average kids more opportunity in sport. All this work was organized and expanded by the use of local blog sites that were designed to engage the local community. The resources came from adults who lived close by.
Take some time to read Rob’s article and see if it makes sense to you. Either way; please make a comment. This is just the beginning and Rob has given us the first draft of the blueprint.
Here in Sackville, the town is going through a strategic planning process – once again. Our downtown is in decline, due in part to competition from the nearby Trans-Canada Highway development of fast food restaurants and drive-through shopping. The new highway also makes it easy to go to the big box stores and shopping complexes in nearby Moncton. Much of the discussion that I have heard to date is focused on the symptoms, not the root causes of the decline of the community. Instead of debating the problems for another decade, we now have some concrete examples of what we can do in Sackville (The Commons Network; The Media Revolution; Local Food Networks; Seniors College; and The Consulting Revolution) . Rob’s examples provide a starting point to initiate conversations on how to create our own future.
Thank you Rob, now it’s up to us.