My post the other day shared some of my thoughts on what Central might be able to do to encourage students towards the gift of being able to think. If we go that route, and I hope we do, it’s going to be a long process to do right – and, frankly, I won’t be the main administrator of the mission because I’d like it to succeed. I’ve got some folks in mind who just might be waiting for this calling.
One of the ways I’d like to start, however, is to begin the process of shifting students from a consumption mentality towards a production mentality. Consumers, after all, really don’t need to know how they obtain goods an services – they just need to know where to get them. In order to learn how to think, we need to interrupt that never-ending process of ignorant consumption – and the best way is to become producers.
In a way, we live in a time where this is a relatively easy switch to make. The ubiquitous presence of the web, along with tools like twitter, youtube, facebook, and blogs allow people the opportunities to actually produce something – if only someone would sit down and help people grow in appreciation for the processes that open up this incredible world to people.
So, I’m thinking I’ll start with what I know. I know technology, and I know the power of networking. I can use these understanding to help students shift towards being producers in a small way.
We’ll start a Tri-boro blog – and run it like an online newspaper (that doesn’t need to turn a profit so hopefully we won’t become irrelevant in the way the newspapers are).
What I envision doing is getting together a team and teaching the the process of what it takes to run a web-site and develop content. We’ll design the template, pick a CMS, and look at the back end setup for a domain.
Beyond that I’d love to bring in volunteers who could teach the students about digital photography, the nature of the Web, and maybe even get them on a field trip to an actual data center. Heck, I might even show them how a database works. Yes it’s really geeky, but I need to go with what I know, right? The point, is that students learn how to think about what’s happening when they use the Net – from as low an abstraction point as possible.
The content of the blog could be restaurant reviews, interviews with local figures (political, athletic, business, educational, and religious), a community event board, and write ups on various news around town. Ideally, we could get a couple of actual reporters to teach students the art of observation, interviewing, and writing.
How fun would this be?
Other production ideas could be a community vegetable garden, and maybe even a “make your own clothes” club (my daughter love that). As I’m incapable of actually implementing those, I’ll just throw those out for people to pick up.
Anyway, whatcha think? I’m thinking that 7th grade would the low end of the age pool for the town blog. Would you go younger? Older?