Saturday, April 26, 2008

Act Locally

Here it is, already the end of the month and I'm just answering The Big Question for April--which is actually a great illustration of my answer. I procrastinate! I always mean to get around to doing things...

So, the question on the table is what would I like to do better as a learning professional. At the risk of sounding corny and at the risk of giving myself yet another thing to feel guilty about, my answer is that I want to use my talents to help my community.

I live in Bay View (a section of Milwaukee, WI) and there's a lot of talk about our schools, especially the local high school. While there are plenty of good things occurring at the school, there are also low test scores, high drop out rates, and bad attendance. Most parents in the neighborhood send their kids to other high schools, whether private or public ones in other parts of the city and county. Not a good sign. So what can I do? I have no idea, but I can't help but think that if I truly care about education, this would be a good place to invest a little of my time.

This probably doesn't mean that I'd jump in and start analyzing curriculum or designing instruction. However, I could attend public meetings. I could join a committee. I could share my passion for learning.

Of course, as a procrastinator, I'm a champion at creating excuses. I'm sooooo busy. I have school papers to write. I have projects for work that I could be catching up on. I have dogs to walk. I, I, I.

I need to get involved.

On another, but related topic, I've been thinking about the power of the social networks forming for ISD folks. For my final paper in Learning Theories, I'm focusing on Web 2.0 technologies applied to Communities of Practice. I'll probably mention LearningTown - a ning site that went up not too long ago. There are fabulous discussions going on. Lots of networking and sharing. Thinking about my own goal as a result of this month's Big Question, I wonder whether there may be ways to bring a community like that together on a volunteer project. Like the monthly Big Question, what if there were a monthly Big Project. Everyone contributes to a final product that would benefit public education. I can just imagine the mess this would involve, the risk for failure...a whole slew of roadblocks. But what if...

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