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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5 Love Languages

Learn the Language of Love

Learning a second or third language is always beneficial. Being able to communicate with more people is always useful, and can help advance your career. Not to mention the social doors being multilingual can open.

There’s five languages, though, that are universally understood.  In some ways, they are the most allusive for most people. However, you can easily become proficient if you are willing to try. They are the love languages.

How Many Love Languages Are There?

Author, Gary Chapman the love languages. He presented five languages that cover the entire scope of human interactions. Every person “speaks” a combination of these five.

Learning which language you understand best, as well as what language speaks best to your loved one can transform your relationship.

What Are the Five Love Languages?

In his book, Chapman, devotes a chapter to each of these languages. A specific combination of these languages speak to each persons heart and steer how they show love to others.

Words of Affirmation –

Speakers of this language yearn to be praised. They need to know that other value what they do. They thrive on verbal affirmation as well as written love notes.

Quality Time –

Spending time relaxing together. Sharing a favorite activity. Planning an afternoon of uninterrupted time. All of these are the nuances of this love language. Speakers long for others to clear their schedule and focus on enjoying each others’ company.

Receiving Gifts –

This is not just a desire to be showered with trinkets or treasures. A speaker of this language isn’t focused on the money spent. Instead, they find pleasure and reassurance in the thoughtfulness, effort, and love put into choosing the gift. Even small gifts speak volumes to their hearts when done with affection.

Acts of Service –

This love language is expressed in doing not being or buying. Folding the clothes, sweeping the floor, painting the garage all make speakers of this language swoon. They live not just to be served, because most are very industrious themselves, but thrive on small actions done with love.

Physical Touch –

Like, the Faith Hill song, speakers of this language love the way they are loved.

Ooh, I love the way you
Love the way you love me
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be
Ooo, to feel the way I feel with your arms around me
I only wish that you could see the way you love me

They yearn to be loved with outward demonstrations, saying “I love you” is nothing compared to showing.

Why Learn the 5 Love Languages?

Just as speaking the native tongue while traveling will make your journey easier and more comfortable, speaking the love language of your loved one will improve your relationship. Who doesn’t want to understand their significant other better?

Since everyone speaks some combination of these languages, this has a wider benefit, too. Building relationships, understanding our neighbors near and far is a recipe for unity and peace. Becoming proficient in the languages of love can have global impacts.

How Can I Learn the 5 Love Language?

Like any other language, learning these takes study and a bit of work. The good news is it will not take you years to master.

Joining a study group or course is the easiest way to become fluent quickly. At Global Learn Day we love learning. Our mission is to bring together the One Planet, One People. We also love providing educational opportunities for all.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we are teaming up with Online Training Institutes to let our friends and followers learn these special languages for FREE!

Coupon Code LOVE will give free access to the 5 Love Languages Mini-Course until February 14th! Give more than a gift this Valentine’s Day, give the gift of understanding and better relationship by learning to speak the oldest language in the world–the language of love!

 

 

 

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why everyone needs a pen pal

Why Everyone Should Have a Penpal!

Did you ever have a pen pal as a kid?  Maybe it was a school project. Do you remember your pen pal’s name?

Having a pen pal is a powerful experience. Long before the Internet, pens and paper connected people and cultures that would never cross paths otherwise.

Why Everyone Should Have a Pen pal

Having a pen pal is not just for kids anymore. Access to the Internet does not make pen pals obsolete. Here are some of the benefits.

Learn Something New

One of the best reasons for connecting with someone far away is to learn something new.  By writing letters and asking questions, you will learn first hand information.

Learning is a never ending process. Pen pals give you the opportunity to learn more about your own interests. Who knows what other interests and information you will discover from your pen pal!

The More You Know, the More You Grow

Learning something new isn’t the only benefit. As you learn, your brain grows and changes. These changes improve the physical makeup of your brain.

It’s not just your brain, your mind changes, too. Learning and exploring open your mind to new ideas. It sparks curiosity, which leads to more learning.

Letter Writing Is a Dying Art

What was once common practice is now a dying art. Writing letters has been replaced with email, Skype, and texting. These are all efficient and helpful in many ways. However, modern technology is lacking the human touch of a hand written letter.

While pen pals do not have strictly use a pen, it is a nice touch.  The bonus is your handwriting will improve with practice. Writing by hand also stimulates brain connections that make your brain better.

Start a Global Collection

Pen pals are a great way to start or add to a collection. The easiest collection to create is stamps. Stamps are essential to get mail from one place to another. They also tell the story of their country of origin. Celebrities, common plants and animals, geographic features, holidays, and historical events are all featured on stamps.

If you are looking for something a little different, you could try a tea exchange. Tea bags are light and easy to enclose in a letter. Now that is a delicious project!

Get Some Real Mail

Seems like there is continually more mail in the mailbox. However most of it is not anything you really want. Bills, advertisements, and catalogs make up the bulk of each delivery.

Having a pen pal can put excitement back into getting the mail. Now when you open an envelope, it will have pages you actually want to read and savor.

The Human Connection

Pen pals can grow into great friends. Even if you never meet face to face, lifelong friendships are possible.  We are more familar with this type of friendship because of social media. However, letter writing pen pals enjoy a privacy that cannot be found online.

Cross culture friendships build understanding.  Understanding each other leads to a new peace. It also encourages cooperation.

Northern Ireland has been torn apart with misunderstanding and conflict for generations. To help end the strife, programs have been developed to bring young people from both sides, Catholic and Protestant, together in a neutral location to just get to know each other.

Knowing leads to accepting.  Once you can see your similarities, it is harder to focus on your difference. Globally minded people see what unites us.

How to Find a Pen Pal

Finding a pen pal may sound difficult in a world that is so interconnected yet very isolating. There are still many ways to get yourself involved in a pen pal project.

It’s All about Who You Know

Start thinking of friends or family who have connections in another part of the world. Perhaps they are business contacts or college friends. However they know each other, this is an easy way to find a pen pal.

Missionaries are also a great resource. They can serve as pen pals wherever they are stationed. They can also find locals from their mission field who are interested in being a pen pal.

Websites to Use

If you have exhausted your personal connections and still haven’t found a pen pal, there are website that can help. Here are a couple to try. Each of these offers a slightly different pen pal experience.

  • Snail mail Penpals: This site will match you with a pen pal that has similar interest. It’s a traditional pen and paper pen pal set up with a twist. Participants craft and send creative mail for pen pals to enjoy.
  • Postcrossing: This is not a pen pal service but you could find a pen pal here. Postcrossings allows you to send postcards around the world to random people. In return, you receive postcards back. Talk about global mail!
  • Global Penfriends: This website will match snail mail and internet based pen pals. It is free to join. Global Penfriends is open to all ages. It allows you to search by interest and age group.

There are many more pen pal sites on the web. For more information. Visit our Pinterest Pen Pal board.

Have you ever had a pen pal?

 

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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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Global Learn Day Edtech

7 Edtechs to Try in 2018

It’s a couple weeks into 2018. Have you made any resolutions yet? Picked your word for the year?

New Year, New Opportunity

January offers a fresh start, even if it is in the middle of the school year for the northern hemisphere.  Technology is advancing and changing at record breaking speed.

While it is hard to keep up with every change, it’s important to be open to learning something new.  Trying out a new platform not only will enhance your learning experience but expand your brain.

Whatever your goals for 2018, add these 7 edtechs to the list.  Learn something new this year!

7 Edtech Applications to try in 2018

WeVideo–Do you like watching a movie? Have you ever wanted to make your own? WeVideo is a simple to use film editing platform that even young children can use. Don’t let it’s ease of use fool you though. WeVideo creates such amazing results that it is used by businesses to create marketing films.

Flipgrid–Flipped education is turning school on its head. Flipgrid is taking it a step further by using collaborative technology and film editing software to reach every student. In the Flipgrid classroom, student discussion runs the course not teacher lectures. The creative tools give every student a voice.

NewseumEd–This is an extension of the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  It’s virtual collection delivers primary sources right to your tablet, laptop, or phone. More than just a database, NewseumEd is packed with tools and classes for educators.  This is a must use for teaching students, and yourself, about history and discerning factual news.  There is even an EDIDEAS section for learning more about current events.

 myOn-myON is not just a program, it’s a “literacy ecosystem.”  The virtual library of interactive books teaches children to read while engaging them to keep learning by reading. myOn’s adventure isn’t only for students, the site offers professional development for teachers as well.

Quizalize–Quizzes are a part of education that will never go away. Move out of the way notebook paper and pen, though, Quizaline offers a new platform for quizzes that helps both teacher and students. Quizaline tracks students’ progress, provides a means for differential instruction, and gives students instant feedback. Make your quizzes engaging, fun, effective, and authentic.

Sway–Is a program with so many applications.  An ultra modern and slick answer to Powerpoint, Sway also generates high quality newsletters. Get students writing, or teach yourself a new skill for business. Sway is enjoyable and useful for all ages.  like other popular edtech, Sway works through collaboration and access anywhere technology.  Imagine the possibilities!

FluentU– FluentU offers an immersion experience that comes to your classroom. Image being able to take your students into the heart of everyday life in your target language. This platform offers high quality videos to enhance the learning experience and keep students engaged. Even better, FluentU can be used anywhere (including at home) and it tracks students progress.

What are your goals for 2018? Here at Global Learn Day, ours is always to never stop learning and find better ways to connect the world.  These edtech applications can do both.

What edtech would you recommend?

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5 Essential Habits for Lifelong Learning

Learning is essential to survival and growth. It is a lifelong process that should never end. Want to be a successful lifelong learner? Check out these five essential habits!

Education champion, Charlotte Mason, taught that a good education was built on good habits.  This method works for anything you are trying to accomplish. If you want to succeed, begin by working on your habits.

Woman studying to be a lifelong learner

Essential Habits for Learning

Set a Goal

Every journey begins with a single step, but before that step there is the goal. Imagine embarking on a voyage of a lifetime but not knowing where you were going. How would you plan your transportation? What would you pack?  Education is an adventure, start out with a goal in mind!

Make the goal personal. What do YOU want to learn?  There are plenty of topics that needs to be learned or should be studied. However, if you want to stick with it, having a goal centered on what you want to learn will motivate you day after day.

Make a Schedule

Life is busy. It seems to get busier everyday. Without a schedule your independent study will not happen. Just as a goal is essential, setting aside time each day or each week for personal learning is absolutely important.

Pick a time that is dedicated to learning. If you are in between topics, use this time to read and explore.  Think of skills you admire. No matter what, invest your set time in yourself by learning something new, no matter how small. Making time to learn will pay dividends in your educational journey.

Keep Records

Be it a journal, checklist, or notebook recording your learning activities and accomplishments prompts you to learn more.  Keeping records also allows you to see how close you are to meeting a goal, as well as, how many goals you have reached.

Record keeping should not be overwhelming. Do what works for you and what is easy to complete. Some people like to journal, for others a daily journal is torture.  Don’t let note taking get in the way of learning.

Find Like Minded Community

No man is an island.  To keep yourself motivated to learn, find those  who share your passion for education.  In the digital age, there are so many avenues to build community.

Facebook groups, Twitter chats, etc provide a virtual conversation on common topics.  Global Learn Day is a community of its own.  Participating in our social media outlets and our yearly celebration gives every learner a chance to belong.

Teach Someone Else

Teaching is the ultimate synthesis of education.  The old saying, “Those who can do and those who can’t teach.” could not be further from the truth. While is it possible to teach skills that you cannot physically accomplish, being able to teach anything demonstrates a mastery of the subject.

If you need motivation to learn something new, promise to teach a class to someone else.  Teaching also lends itself to wanting to know more. Students’ questions and reflections can lead to new journeys of learning.

Teaching does not have to involve being in a classroom, though. Hold a skill day at your home or local library. Write a blog or e-book.  Create an online course for platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or OLT! Inspire others through your passion to never stop learning.

Have any habits to add?  What are you learning about today?

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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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