Education will unite the world

How Education Will Unite the World

Everywhere we look there is division and strife. The evening news is full of chaos and heartache. How can we make it better? Will we make it better?

There is a simple solution to this complex problem and like the tide will raise all ships. Our solution to strife and discord is education!

At Global Learn Day, we seek to promote education in all areas of the world and all phases of life. Education is the great equalizer, it’s a language we can all understand.

This post is a kick off to a three part series examining how education is bring unity and peace, and what each of us can do to support this effort.

This may not be a quick fix, however it has lasting ripple effects that span generations and lead to a cleaner, brighter, and more peaceful tomorrow.

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

Thomas Paine, A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal on the Affairs of North America

The enlightening of a mind does not come from any other source than the gift of learning. A classic example of a mind made bright is that of Helen Keller. Little Helen lived in a dark, silent world. A high fever had robbed her of all connections to the life going on around her. She had no language, she had no stimulation, she had no hope!

However, hope is never truly lost. Her second chance came in the form of a dedicated tutor who worked tirelessly to release Helen from her prison. Through Annie Sullivan’s efforts, a spark did ignite and that spark became an all consuming fire!

Helen great to be an avid reader with a penchant to devour all the information she could get her hands on. It was her hands that connected her to an amazing wealth of information and ever increasing circles of interesting people.

As an adult, Helen became the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, an impressive achievement for anyone in her time period! With a gift to language and prose, Helen became a published author of several article and 12 books! Twelve books!!

Her key to the world was the same as each of us, a guiding hand that unlocks the potential of endless learning. No matter how humble the beginnings of education, the zenith is immeasurable.

As our patron, the good Ben Franklin, once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

This is our reason for this grand project that spans the global and the bandwidth of human history. It is not an investment in temporary gain, but an investment in the future of our world.

Our theme this year is “Uniting the World through Education” and that is our mission each day!

Please join our voyage of discovery and light your own little spark. This is our moment to make an impact. Won’t you join our educational mission?

If you know of an individual or organization passing the torch of education, please let us know so we can shed a spotlight on their worthy efforts. Thank you.

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strategies for keeping your brain active

How To Keep Your Brain Active After College

by guest blogger Kastle Huffaker

The real world is a tough world. Jobs aren’t easy to find, and you keep struggling to be as qualified as your competitors. Where do you go from here? How do you keep your head up above the rest? Here are a few ways that I’ve discovered to help keep my mind active and strong.

 

1. Pocket That Knowledge.

“Pocket” is this amazingly handy tool that lets you save articles, videos, and images you find as you are scrolling online. A lot of us come across something we want to read, but we don’t have the time. This is where you can “Pocket” that interesting article, or video you know you want to watch, and it saves it all. Then, you can come back later and checkmark it off your list. I use Pocket almost every day. I’ll pull up an article I want to read on my phone, and it will voice the article out loud to me as I’m doing other things.

Pocket comes in all shapes and sizes.

The best part – you can access your “Pocket” anywhere. I have the app on my phone. I use the Google Chrome extension on two different computers so I can save stuff continually throughout the day not just on my work desktop, but on my personal laptop. Building this archive of knowledge is like a mini extension of your brain, and it helps you stay aware and constantly learning. Or saving urls, and links to the places you know you want to learn more about.

 

2. Less TV, More Reading.

The average person spends over 5 hours A DAY watching television and/or Netflix according to a recent study from the NY Times. That is just crazy. Do you know how much you could accomplish in 5 hours? You could do yoga for an hour, cook up a nice homemade meal, spend a couple hours talking and reaching out to your friends, and even have time left over to read a book. The point is, TV wastes so much of your life and your time.

Don’t be what everyone else is.

If the majority of the world is spending 35+ hours on the couch watching a show, do something different. Like, when was the last time you read a book? For me, the last time I had read an actual book was from my Nicholas Sparks collection THREE YEARS AGO. That blew my mind. I wanted to change that. So, I decided to join the Online Book Club. Not only did I get to be a part of a bigger community, I also got to make a little extra cash reading and reviewing as many books as I would like. I used an hour of the time I spent watching TV into reading a book. Since I’ve done that, my brain has been more focused and my vocabulary has expanded. This is just one example of what can put you one more step ahead of everyone else.

3. Keep Connecting.

The biggest mistake I made was not keeping connections after college. I found myself lost in a world where I didn’t really know anyone who knew someone who could push me in the right direction of a great job. So connect! Connect with like minded people who work in the same industry or job as you. Collaborate and share ideas. If you are a software engineer, connect with more engineers. If you are a web designer, find other web designers. But if you hate where you work, search out what your dream job is. Then find the people who are already living that dream, and just talk with them. Figure out how they got to where they are now, and start learning what they have learned!

Leverage yourself.

The brightest and best resource that everyone keeps talking about is LinkedIn. This is your go-to online world to network and speak with people you can’t meet in person. Join groups, comment on posts, start discussions. The more you put yourself out there, the better feedback you will get. Plus, LinkedIn is your online profile and resume. Once you start continually showing value in what you say, and who you talk to, people will start to notice. Recruiters are on LinkedIn for that very reason, to find someone like you. What do you have to lose?

 

Keep your brain alert and alive by learning and growing. Be a better version of who you want to be.

Kastle Huffaker is a 25 year old cancer survivor who loves blue and is all about positivity. She runs a small photography business and does graphics & website management for a local tractor company. She is also starting up her new business Virtual Kastle.

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Did curiosity kill the cat?

The Curious Case for Curiosity

The old saying that “curiosity killed the cat” has been used as a cautionary tale for generations. The take away being, go with the flow and follow the rules if you want to survive. In an age that prizes digital data and measurable outcomes, curiosity seems to be an enigma relegated to mad scientists and those prone to daydreaming. However, curiosity is essential to true education.

What makes an education true?

Is it the ranking of grades and scores, the completion of levels and requirements, or the meeting of standards and accomplishments? Actually none of the above are education. Each is a way to measure a finite amount of learning in a prescribed program, they are the framework for justifying the completion of a degree or attainment of an award–in a word, school. School may be where an education begins, but it is never where it ends.

The goal of a true education is not just to impart facts but to ignite the spark of learning that builds a habit of lifelong learning in the ever growing passion to know and understand more. This is why true education begins and ends with curiosity, because curiosity is infinite in nature.

What Does Curiosity in Action Look Like?

The Wright brothers are the picture of ingenuity and achievement.  When they finally made their successful flight, a friend remarked to Orville that he and his brother would go on to be shining examples of what can be achieved even without and special advantages. Orville reproofed his friend by responding, “to say we had no special advantages … the greatest thing in our favor was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.”

The encouragement of curiosity, especially in the realm of intellectual pursuits, must be the first aim of all education because curiosity not only prepares the brain for learning, but makes all subsequent learning more enjoyable. Enjoyable learning leads to a lifelong love of learning something new which is not only good for the brain but essential to a successful career, especially in the 21st Century.

How Do We Encourage Curiosity in Education

The encouragement of curiosity must always be accomplished apart from assessment. This is more difficult in our current educational system, but not impossible. Giving students, and ourselves, freedom to be bored and also to potentially fail opens to door to a curiosity driven endeavor.

Here are some practical ways that curiosity can be encouraged in the classroom, homeschool, or personal learning environment:

  1. Allot unstructured time with no expectation of what gets completed
  2. Create a makers space with a wide array of materials and no instructions
  3. Allow the pursuit of personal interests
  4. Practice self-directed education
  5. Use open ended projects
  6. Try something new, turn a routine on it’s head
  7. Explore the world of cultures, foods, traditions, and societies
  8. Encourage questions to be asked
  9. Question the answers

 

Are you a curious learner? How do you encourage curiosity in your home or classroom?

*Please join the discussion in our Friends of Global Learn Day Facebook Group!

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E-learning in India leading to a better future

How Is E-learning in India Creating a Better Economic Future?

India is an emerging economy that is rapidly growing. Unfortunately, unemployment rates are outpacing the soaring expansion of its GDP. In a nation with a large rural population and many calling for educational reform, India stands poised at a crossroad.

The number of well educated graduates is steadily increasing, however many are unable to find suitable jobs. If India wants to get ahead and solve its job crisis, a change must be made.

E-learning may be the way out. A new platform of education with ever expanding capabilities mean limitless opportunities. The digital age of exploration is launching India onto the world stage.

Elearning in India

How Is E-learning Growing in India

India is currently one of the leading countries in the e-learning movement, second only to the United States. The e-learning market is projected to reach $1.26 million in 2018. As the “Digital India” initiatives drives sweeping change across India, increasing the GDP and ushering India onto the global technology market, there is an ever growing gap in jobs that will be needed to maintain this momentum and skills that are lacking in recent graduates.

Even though 65% of India’s population is under 35 years old, and mobile technology is now being used by 26% of the population to access the Internet, education in technology skills is far behind.

E-learning is hoped to bridge this gap, establish new educational opportunities for the younger generation, and provide micro-learning for recent graduates and business professionals.

How Is E-learning Changing Education In India?

The traditional, one size fits all model of education is not capable of readying students for the ever changing world of a digital, global economy. E-learning and edtech platforms are providing individualized educations, creating easily managed assessments, and increasing engagement in the classroom.

With a large rural population, India has also benefited from satellite delivered Internet for even the remotest regions. E-learning is bringing top notch, high-tech educational opportunities to students who would otherwise not have access to a modern education.

In recent years, satellite service has dropped drastically in cost. This has made Internet access affordable for an ever growing working class population. The Internet has proven to be a pathway to greater education access and intercultural relationships. For remote, rural populations, e-learning has many advantages.

One of the biggest advantages is the one on one instruction and opportunity for personalized study schedules. MOOC classes based on traditional university schedules were the first wave of e-learning opportunities worldwide, however these had a high drop out rate (80-90%). By providing microlearning that is individualized, India is on the cusp of an educational revolution for all sectors of society.

E-learning is also helping to solve the qualified teacher shortage that plagues the Indian educational system. By having broader reach, the country’s best and brightest teachers can instruct vast numbers of students, not just their local school.

How Will E-learning Create Jobs in India?

As e-learning grows in India and initiatives such as Digital India and SWAYAM platform progress, there will be a growing demand for teachers. Those who have the necessary skills for 21st century technology and business will be in high demand to disseminate instruction and close the present skills gap.

Also, as Multinational Companies (MNCs) continue to invest in India, a well skilled generation of workers will be needed to keep the economy going. By training the up and coming leaders of tomorrow, India will have a solid workforce prepared to support a digital economy.

Having a work ready population will attract greater investments and continue to raise the economy of India on the world stage. The ability to compete globally is the greatest aim of these revolutionary educational techniques. It is not enough to have the technology at a growing number of citizens fingertips, but to graduate skilled worker that know how to implement new technology to grow businesses, and adapt to a rapidly advancing technological age.

In addition to teachers, and tech savvy workers, a booming e-learning industry run by domestic platforms provides opportunities for management positions and education developers. Those skilled in developing learning platforms, leading organizations, and managing digital companies will be a great assets.

The Next Step

As our world continues to rapidly change in this digital age, the divides of the world continue to close. Building a future of economic stability, educational opportunity, and greater cooperation will help to raise the quality of life for all people.

In 2018, Global Learn Day strives to Unite the World through Education. Education is the great equalizer. It not only provides greater opportunities and higher pay, but provides interconnectedness that unites the world so we can overcome what has historically divided us.

What can you do to support this mission? How has e-learning changed your life?

For further information check out:

Changing Face of Indian Education

E-learning India’s Education Needs to Get Online

E-Learning Market in India–Challenges and Opportunities

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What can just a pencil and a notebook do?

What Can Just a Pencil and a Notebook Do?

What is the greatest treasure you could receive? Is there one thing you would risk everything to have? For millions of children, that one gift is education. The statistics on education around the globe are grim, but there is still hope. Young advocates, like Malala are fighting to open access to education for every child!

 

Who is Malala?

Malala was born in 1997 in Pakistan.  She is the second daughter of the Yousatzi family. While girls are often unwelcome additions in Pakistan, but Malala and her sister are cherished.

Her father is a teacher and was determined to give his daughters a good education and every opportunity he can. Malala grows up as a happy child who loves books and enjoys her time in school.

Why is She Famous?

In 2007, Taliban militants invade her home region of Swat and impose harsh laws, these include banning girls from school. Malala is determined not to give up her education, even though doing so could mean a death sentence.

Malala becomes an underground blogger for the BBC, relaying information about the conditions in Pakistan during the Taliban rule and ensuing fight for freedom. She uses the name Gul Makai to conceal her identity online.

Over one million people, including the Yousafzai family, flee from their homes as Pakistani fighters sweep into the region to push out the Taliban. In the midst of this, the New York Times does a feature piece on Malala and her father because of her blog posts. The pair discuss there fight for education for every girl.

The Taliban is forced into the more rural areas of Pakistan and Malala’s school reopens. She is happy to be back but wary of her growing notoriety. In 2011, she receives the Pakistani National Youth Leader award.

Almost one year later, on her way to school, a masked gunman boards her school bus. He asks for Malala by name then shoots her in the head, shoulder, and neck. Two of her friends are also injured.

Malala is critically injured and flown to a hospital in the United Kingdom to recover. While world prays for Malala’s recovery, she undergoes multiple surgeries and months of therapy.

When Malala recovers and is released, she has found her purpose in life and her new home. Her family set up their new home in Birmingham, England.

What is Malala fighting for?

There are 130 million girls out of school due to laws prohibiting their education or life circumstance. Malala is fighting to get that statistic down to zero!

In her campaign, she has met with numerous heads of state, presidents, and world leader. Malala spoke at the United Nations on July 12, 2013. She promised to celebrate her birthday each year by bringing attention to the plight of girls around the globe.

In December 2014, Malala became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This highest award of distinction is not the end of Malala’s work but the beginning.

What is the Malala Fund?

Established in 2013, the Malala Fund works to promote education access. The fund has a threefold purpose: Advocacy–Investing–Amplifying

  1. Advocacy- Malala fund seeks to shine a light on the crises worldwide preventing girls from being educated. In addition, it shows the difference a secondary education can make not only in one girls life but her community, country, and world
  2. Investing- Through the Gulmakai Network, the Malala fund provides support and funding to education champions in developing nations that are working to open school doors to girls.
  3. Amplifying- The Malala Funds works not to just tell her story, but the stories of millions of girls just like her. Through blog posts, the stories of girls are told in their own words.

Learn More:

To learn more about Malala and her fight or to support her with a donation, please check out the links below:

I am Malala Memoir by Malala, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala a picture book of Malala’s story for younger children

Malala.org Malala Fund information and blog

Malala is not only a famous Nobel Peace Prize winner, but a student at Oxford, and a millionaire who has donated over a million of her own dollars to educate girls everywhere. Though her life has been transformed by her achievements, she seeks to let her achievements transform the lives of millions of girls just like her. As she has said, “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not, it is the story of many girls.”

How has Malala’s story touched or inspired you?

 

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fun ways to learn phonics

5 Fun Strategies to Develop Phonics Skills

Phonics Skills are the backbone to all reading.  There are workbooks, DVDs, music CDs and videos all devoted to teaching phonics to young children.  Many of these are great, but for some children even the best of these isn’t enough.  Everyone has their particular learning style and for many young children the method that works best is a tactile, hands-on one.  We have been teaching subjects like science and mathematics like this for years.  But have you ever considered teaching reading hands-on?  Well, you can and here are five ways how.

 

  • There are two basic sets of rules for phonics, the long vowel rules and short vowel rules.  These rules are represented below by combinations of consonants ( c) and vowels (v)

Long vowels:

        • cv- Whenever a vowel comes at the end of a word or syllable it is long as in the word “he.”
        • cvce – This is the magic “e”  or silent “e” rule.  The “e” makes the preceding vowel long but is not pronounced, like in “cake.”
        • cvv—Two vowels went walking and the first one did the talking.  The first vowel is long and the second is silent.  Think “sea.”

Short vowels:

  • vc—With the vowel before the consonant, in words like “at,” the vowel becomes short.
  • cvc—Same as the rule above. The middle vowel is short as in “cat”

Now, here’s the hands-on part.   Create two signs on typing paper or index cards, one for each set of rules.  Then purchase or make flash cards with a variety of short words.  Explain the rules and then show how a sampling of words, one for each rule, follows the rules.  Then have your child sort the remaining cards according to rules.  Sound out the words together.  This turns rule memorization into a game instead of a chore.

 

  • Word families are another way to teach phonics and boost vocabulary.  Make a simple wheel game by using two circles cut from poster board.  On one circle cut out a small window and write the word family next to it (-at, -an, -ug, etc.).  Around the other write letters that when placed before the word family ending create a word.  For instance, for the –at family write b, c, f, h, m, p, r, s, and v.  Just make sure you are creating child friendly words.  Place the window circle on top of the other and push a brass fastener through the center.  Now you have a wheel.  Spin the wheel and create new words.

 

  • Have your child illustrate her first book.  Fold a sheet of typing or white construction paper in half forming a card.  Using short words that are easy to sound out and the child’s name create a little story with one sentence on each “page”.  (Example: Mary ate cake.) Have your child sound out the words, with your help as needed, and read the sentences. Then, have her draw a picture of what she just read on each page.  Kids love having their own books.

 

  • Plays Guess that Letter.  With your child facing away from you, trace a letter on his back.  Have him tell you which letter you just traced.  It may take a couple of tries but once kids get the hang of this game they love it.  Next, switch places (you may need to sit down to make it easier for your child to reach your back) and tell your child a letter sound, like “ah” for short “o.”  Have your child trace the letter that corresponds to the sound on your back.  This is a game that is sure to result in giggles and learning.

 

  • Find that letter!  Write each letter of the alphabet on an index card (to make this even more hands-on create tactile alphabet cards using items that begin with that letter, like cotton balls for “c” to create the letter) and place them in a large shoe box.  Shake the letters around to mix them up well.  Then say one of the letter sounds and have your child dig in the box to find the correct card.  You can advance this game by giving your child a short word to spell and having her find the correct letters and, using clothes pins, clip them to one side of the box in order.  Best of all, once the lid is replaced; everything is safe and sound for next time.

 

Phonics is a great tool and once the world of reading is unlocked for your child the potential for learning is endless.  With a little creativity and basic art supplies, you can create a learning experience that will last the rest of their lives.

Do you know fun ways to learn phonics?

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How far would you go for an education?

How Far Would You Go to Get Educated?

How far would you travel?  How hard would you work?  If the journey were nearly impossible, would it be worth it to you?

A recent viral photo showed a Chinese boy encrusted with icicles after he walked nearly 3 miles to school in below freezing temperatures. He is seen smiling ear to ear with red, wind battered cheeks and snow stuck to his hair and eyebrows.  His little hands are calloused, swollen, and red from hard work and harsh weather.

 

Why did he do this? What could motivate a 9 year old boy to endure such perils? He wanted to take his final exams.  He wanted to learn, grow, and succeed.

This young man demonstrates the worth of an education.  While millions of children with easy access to education groan about the work they have to do or the time spent studying. Children like Fuman realize education is a precious gift.

A Voyage of Learning

Each October, Global Learn Day circumnavigates the globe via the internet and virtual world. We value education and celebrate learning. We invite others to join us. Do we realize how much education is worth?

We are each on our own journey.  Every step, every moment is different. What unites us is the desire to learn.

The World in Numbers

Though efforts to end world poverty and spread access to education are making a difference.  Ten percent of the world’s population still lives in extreme poverty.  In addition, 15% of all people are illiterate.

While Fuman is celebrated as a poster child for determination, he is also a sad statistic that shows how much more work needs to be done.  He and his classmates are up against unimaginable odds.

Many of these children are raising themselves, as parents leave to find work elsewhere. They are traveling numerous miles on foot through harsh terrain, and harsher weather; mostly without adequate clothing to brave the elements.

There is no heat in their school room.  Their school supplies are just enough to get by. Yet they are the lucky ones. A stunning 58 million children around the globe have NO access to education.

How Far Will You Go?

In response to Fuman’s photo, 2.1 million yuan (Over $335,000 USD) poured into a charity for Fuman and his classmates.  Each child is reported to be receiving proper clothing and school supplies.

This is touching, but it isn’t enough.  How far will we go?  It is going to take continued effort and awareness to solve the global education crisis.

This is our mission and our duty. At Global Learn Day we seek to unite our One Planet, One People through education to bring about a brighter future for everyone.

If you know of a charity that is helping spread the light of education please share it with Global Learn Day so that we can share it with the world. Together we build a brighter future, one student at a time!

How far would you go for an education? 

Have an inspirational story? Share it below!

 

 

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What are you achieving?

New Year, New Goals, New You

Many of our readers may be coming off the high of Christmas. In the US, following Christmas there are HUGE clearance sales and then a need to purge and prepare for a New Year. I’m always left feeling a bit anxious this time of year. I find myself thinking about my priorities. How can I learn more, improve myself and bring more good to the world in the upcoming year?
 
Of course, moving into the new year, many of us tighten our budget to prep for all our new year plans. Today, here are a few ways to improve yourself educationally, professionally and personally in a low cost way!

Think of it as Global Learn Day’s New Years Gift to you, our readers.

 

1. Improve your writing game.

Hemingway App is available for free when used online. It helps you improve your writing skills, focusing on readability and structure. In fact, I used it on this blurb! This is at a 5th grade reading level, for your information.There are so many uses for this both personally and professionally, no matter how old you are. Take some time and check it out!

2. Continue your Professional Development in January.

OnLine Training Institute is running a special on Professional Development Courses for the new year. Perhaps you see a need to improve your image or your ability to make successful business connections. These courses are self-guided ways to work on those things and many more. Use code SOCIAL through January 31, 2018 for 33% off!

3. Keep up with the Global Learn Day!

Did you know we keep a Learning Resources Page updated? GLD believes education should be available to everybody and we share free learning resources on this page as a way to help you embrace your full potential!

4. Live Your Truth!

Live Your Truth is a program by Carol Tuttle to help individuals learn how to dress comfortably and confidently. You may be asking why our movement that celebrates education would include a self improvement site. This course helps you learn about yourself and in doing so many have found that they are more confident.

5. Learn a New Language!

ASL University has free online courses to help you learn a new language! American Sign Language is a fantastic and often intuitive language used widely in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities. It is also useful for parents in theaters, museums, churches and virtually anywhere Silence is Golden because it is silent. This could be your year to learn a new language!

So, what are you doing in 2018! I hope we have inspired you to try new things, to learn even more and to embrace One Planet, One People in all that you do!

Happy New Year and keep learning!

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Permission to Fail

Want to succeed?  Learn to fail!

In a competitive and driven world, failure is not accepted.  Those at the top are expected to be the best always and rank of scores is highly prized.  Education becomes a competitive sport, something to be conquered instead of enjoyed.

Making the Grade

Grades are a perceived reward for the job of learning.  As our focus on education, in modern times, has become more and more centered upon formal schooling, grades have gained importance as an indicator of what was achieved by a student or an entire school.

We equate high grades or marks with success and learning.  However, the two are very different entities. High grades may reflect a level of success, albeit they do not measure true learning. Just because the answer was correct does not mean the student actually learned.

By putting more emphasis on grades, GPAs, and standardized scores, we are creating a climate where failure of any kind is unacceptable. Success, completion, and perfection are prizes above the process of development. This degrades the value of education provided through school by seeing it as a means to an end instead of a process and experience.

Learning to Fail VS Failing to Learn

If the sole goal of an education is the right answer, how much is really learned? Every great discovery and invention has been the product of a long series of attempts, failures, questions, and reattempts.

In an anecdote relayed by Thomas A. Edison’s assistant, we can see the journey of failure needed to succeed:

I found him at a bench about three feet wide and twelve to fifteen feet long, on which there were hundreds of little test cells that had been made up by his corps of chemists and experimenters. He was seated at this bench testing, figuring, and planning. I then learned that he had thus made over nine thousand experiments in trying to devise this new type of storage battery, but had not produced a single thing that promised to solve the question. In view of this immense amount of thought and labor, my sympathy got the better of my judgment, and I said: ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.’

Edward Burger, a math professor at Williams College, has a unique approach to not only calculating grades but inspiring failure.  He requires his students to fail in order to further discussion and discovery within his class. In fact, in order to earn an A, the highest bar of success gradewise, students must learn to fail. Five percent (5%) of the final grade is based on how well students fail.

The failure in Professor Burger’s class propels students to take risks, it inspires them to ask questions and get involved with discussion even when they may not be 100% sure that they have the correct answer. The freedom to fail, gives them wings to soar. At the end of the semester, each student is required to write an essay on their failure experience and grade themselves on how well it went and what was learned.  In this way, Professor Burger is igniting the flame to continue to learn and promoting true and lasting education.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

In nurturing education for our children, community, and self, we must never put perfection and results above the process.  Learning that is authentic and meaningful cannot simply be assigned a right or wrong answer, nor is it a linear, clear-cut experience.

Giving students permission to fail, frees them from the constrains of having to perform and lets them develop innovative and creative ways to solve a problem. Even when the “wrong” answer is reached, there is great value in the step taken to get there that will feed deeper understanding and greater appreciation for the subject. In an innovation and technology driven world, failure is the key to creative success.

To become a lifelong learner, one must be willing to try and fail. As was mentioned in Burger’s essay, if you get onto a bicycle and never fall, you have learned nothing.  Like a small child who toddles and falls, we must trudge on realizing that education is not a linear race, but a sorted journey or twists, turns, and set backs. It isn’t in the success that education and innovation are gained, but in the grueling process of figuring out how to get from A to B and starting over when plan A, B, C, D, and even F backfire.

How have you failed to learn or learned to fail?

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light

Electric Education Part 2

Electricity is a blessing to education, as we explored earlier in the week.  Now let’s look at innovative ways that electricity is coming to remote places and building bridges to the future.

Innovative Supplies of Electricity

Bundles of Energy

Have you ever watched children play? They run, they jump, they seem to just never stop.  More than once each of us has joked about harnessing their energy to power a small city.  What if I told you the joke is now a reality.

Jump to It

When on a trip to visit family in Nigeria, Jessica O Matthews, founder of Uncharted Play(now Uncharted Power), struggled with the fumes from a diesel generator used to power the lights for her aunt’s wedding celebration.  Determined to find a way to solve the problem of energy sources in developing nations, Matthews got her chance in college and not only built a high scoring project with a few of her classmates for her engineering class, but founded a company.

Their first product SOCCKET is a soccer ball that is actually a generator.  It provided 2 hours of power for a lamp used by students to study in areas without electricity. Then there is PULSE a jump rope that can charge a cell phone to half power after just 15 minutes of use. Play become power.

Uncharted Power’s mission is to reach areas most in need of electricity with clean, easy to use generator options.

Shine Some Light on the Situation

Groups like Solar City are bringing brightness to developing areas of the world, including Mali Malawi, Nicaragua, and Haiti, through donating solar panels.  The solar panels are attached to school roofs or mounted on the ground. They power simple LED lights and include a battery back-up feature.

These panels allow for better access to education for children and parents, spreading not only light but hope.  A school in Nigeria that received the panels now functions as a community center at night.

Not only are the panels usable in areas that would never see on the grid electric, they are cost effective and clean–creating no harmful fumes.

Gravity Works

The GravityLight  uses a simple pulley system and sand bag to provide off the grid power anywhere.  Available for use as emergency lighting in the USA, Deciwatt Ltd funds donations of the GravityLight to those who need it most around the world.

The system provides clean energy that is much safer than kersene lamps, traditionally used in developing nations, and costs only $5! Aside from the dangerous fumes that cause health problems and make homes prone to disaster by fire; kerosene also consumes a large percentage of a developing world family’s budget–as much as 30%.

By using a clean, renewable, and safe source of light, children have more time to study and parents have more resources to provide for their family. Both help to break the cycle of poverty.

What’s Next?

With the advancements in solar and kinetic power generation, the hope of spreading light across the globe is closer than ever.  After all, who doesn’t want a magic machine to wash their clothes?

 

Electricity is only the beginning. By providing access to lighting, schools become open to adding technology. Currently, mobile phone usage is growing in developing nations more than anywhere else on the planet.

Mobile phones build bridges through providing communication to the most remote parts of the globe.  Phones are also used to increase literacy by providing incentive to learn to write and spell through texting and download information from the Internet.

No longer are remote school relegated to out of date textbooks.  Simple phones can open an entirely new world of information and learning.

It is important to not just jump on the bandwagon of technology donation, though, without the proper infrastructure and education, this technology is rendered useless. Program which can build, teach, and provide technology programs to underserved schools can be the key to bridging the gap in education worldwide.

As one school rises, so does an entire town, area, region, country, and generation.  Little by little, light by light, we can see a future where every child get to learn and poverty is extinguished.

How would you help a school in need?

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