I think Cisco is on target with their ad campaign that celebrates the human network. I was reminded of just how important the people side of things is when I had the opportunity to sit next to Walt Ratterman on a recent flight from Atlanta to Portland, OR. He is the power behind SunEnergy Power International, described this way on its web site: “SEPI [as a 501(c)(3)]develops and implements humanitarian renewable energy projects in remote, rural parts of the world. It is the mission of SunEnergy Power International to promote an increased quality of life in remote, rural regions of the world through the use of renewable energy.”
He was on his way home from Senegal where he had been working with local folks to install solar power generating equipment for schools across that nation. Beyond the details, I met a man who has great technical skills and knowledge. In and of itself, the technical conversation around solar was interesting. But it was what he was doing with his knowledge and skills to help real people do real things that made his story so powerfully fascinating.
So – how are learners using their knowledge and skills where you and yours live and learn? I sure hope it is for more than getting good scores on tests and passing from grade to grade. They need to do more, and the world needs them to do more.
The emphasis is mine. I really like Jim’s thinking, and it dovetails nicely with the thinking that I have been doing lately on the types of things we should be learning and teaching with our students. It’s key here, too, that Jim mentions the brilliance of this man within his solitary discipline, but then expands upon it by showing that it’s simply not enough to just be good at that.
The question he asks is perhaps the most important idea driving me right now.