30 June, 2008

Old Friends, New Perspectives

I just spent an exhilarating weekend with two old high school friends. One is living in Montreal and is a playwright. The other lives in India and runs a hotel and restaurant. The three of us managed to meet in London for three very short days, but endlessly enjoyable talks.
flower
Given the choice, I’d love it if we could live next door and we could actually share our day-to-day lives. Yet, it is exactly the differences in our lives that make for interesting conversation.

My jaw is sore from all that laughter and talking. My mind is filled with new ideas and perspectives. My heart is overwhelmed at knowing two such smart women.

26 June, 2008

Grenada Collage

Last in the series of my Grenada collages.
grenada05
Was trying to capture more of the gritty beauty of this place dear to my heart. Hope you enjoy the image.

Law of Adaptation IV

I come from a long line of Irish martyrs. Not saints, but martyrs (i.e., the long suffering). It is customary in our family not to state what you need, but rather to expect people to know when you are in need of assistance. Apparently, we are all born with this strange miniature device in our brains, a radar with a Richter scope, which helps us to know whether Aunt Betty is just complaining again, or really in need of a ride to the doctor’s next week.

My miniature device doesn’t always work. And, frankly, I don’t really feel the need to get it fixed any time soon. Instead, I’ve created the following list of guidelines for certain family members and friends who are shy about grabbing the bull by its horns when it comes to telling the world what it is they need:

  • State what you want clearly and politely (e.g., edit an eight page document, pick up the kids from school today at two o’clock)
  • State specifically how long (e.g., time) or how much (e.g., money) help is needed
  • State why you need my help (optional)
  • State when you intend to payback your debt in the case of monetary loans
  • Express generous thanks if I agree
  • Express graceful understanding if I refuse

Here are some more items I think are important…

No preamble

There is nothing more irritating than having to listen to the whole sad scenario of why someone needs help, before they ask you for a favour. This is an example of how a friend of mine recently asked me to lend her a small amount of money until her pay cheque came in:

"Oh God, you wouldn't believe what happened… I was in the grocery store on Monday… the line up was so long… I was standing at the cash with no money and my credit card didn't work…blahblahblah…(are you asleep yet?)… so I went the bank today…"

And, I am on the phone inwardly willing my friend just to get to the point. I know, by the tone of her voice, that she needs help, but I am not sure what she wants. And, to be perfectly honest, it would have been far less torturous if she has simply said:

"Is there any chance that you can lend me xx Euros until the end of the month? Too many bills came in this month and I'm waiting for my pay cheque to come in next week."

Two sentences. Not a twenty-minute preamble. And, then I could have said, "Sure no problem", or "Sorry, I'm overdrawn at the moment as well", depending on what my situation is.

Don't wait for the point of no return

Some disasters arrive completely unannounced. Most don’t. If you are really honest, most can be seen coming a mile ahead. So, knowing this, reach out to friends and family when the next disaster is a mile ahead, or even a half a mile ahead. Give them some time and room to help you circumnavigate the impending disaster. Don’t wait until the point of no return has come. That makes the people who have to save the situation really grumpy.

A case in point, was when a university friend of mine realised, a week before her planned wedding, that she didn’t love her husband-to-be. After discussing the situation for a while, I told her to call off the wedding. She wouldn’t; all the invitations had been sent, all details planned. Nothing I said convinced her of the futility of going through with the wedding. So, the wedding day arrives, the bride panics and leaves the groom and all the guests literally left standing at the alter.

If she had cancelled the wedding a week before, her friends could have helped her make the embarrassing telephone calls to all the relatives, and perhaps even managed to cancel some of the reservations. As it was, those of us who knew of her doubts were put in a precarious situation of having known and not having done anything to prevent the humiliating, awkward, and ridiculously expensive fiasco.

Negotiate, don't dictate

If you are really in a bind, if you have really mucked up, you are no longer in the position to dictate what others are to do to get you out of your predicament. You can only negotiate whether they are willing to help. Then you have to take what they can give.

A friend of mine, Jane, has a sister, Mary, who notoriously mismanages her life. Jane and Mary's mom died last year and they each inherited a large sum of money. Jane invested her money in low risk funds. Mary went out and bought herself a new home; before selling her present home, in a town whose major employer had just gone bankrupt. Now Mary is without a job, she has two homes with mortgages, and no money to pay the death taxes due on her inheritance.

Jane receives a call from Mary lamenting over her situation and the fact that her son is due to go to college in two years and she has no savings, two mortgages, no job, and a large sum of death taxes to pay. So, Jane agrees to pay half of the death taxes. But, that is not going to solve Mary's problems. She will probably lose the houses to the bank anyways. Jane's money will just disappear in that quicksand of financial bankruptcy.

I suggested to Jane that she tell Mary she will not pay half the death taxes, but will guarantee a monthly living allowance for Mary's son when he goes to college.

So, that’s it for my mini series on the law of adaptation. I don’t expect any converts, but maybe these posts will help you reflect upon how much more balanced our lives would be, if we were not stuck on bartering our time, money, and attention but, instead, just accept the ebb and flow of give and take.

25 June, 2008

Reversed Graffiti

One of my favourite blogs is written by Birdie. She recently wrote about two graffiti artists who asked permission to spray a piece on her garage door. The post and the results are interesting. Please go and read it.

My son passed this YouTube video on to me this evening.


Some of you long-time readers know how fascinated I am by graffiti, especially in cities like Berlin. It is hard to articulate why, but I have felt this way since the 70s or 80s. In the right setting, in the right moment, I find this form of art stimulating, provocative, and strangely touching.

24 June, 2008

Law of Adaptation III

Takers Give Taking A Bad Name

Everyone know what a Taker is. We’ve all met our share of Takers in our lives. Some of us have co-workers who are Takers; people who wouldn’t know what a Fair Share is, if it hit them in the face. Some of us even have friends or family members who are Takers. If they don’t steal the clothes off your back, they feel no shame at dumping all of their emotional garbage on you, or draining away all your energy with their relentless demands. Basically, Takers give taking a bad name.

Over the last weeks, I’ve been talking to friends and family about this concept of give and take as a way to adapt to life’s circumstances. It is very obvious that all of the women I have been talking to are uncomfortable with the concept of taking. The idea of asking for help, stating what they need and when, is paramount to asking them to participate in some deviant form of sex. Actually, they probably would prefer the later.

Here are three examples of circumstances that my friends cannot master on their own and when I made a suggestion of asking others to help, they initially rejected these possibilities. Only after much discussion and persuasion did they agree to seriously consider acting on the suggestions.

Case 1

My dearest and oldest friend (meaning we’ve been friends for 35 years now) immigrated to New Zealand about four years ago. They (she, her husband, and two children) set a goal to come back to Europe to visit family and friends in 2010. Now, with the weak American dollar causing havoc on their jobs and financial situation in New Zealand, she fears they will never be able to afford a trip back home. I suggested to my friend to ask her friends in Germany if they would be willing to help them pay for train fares or B&B costs during their stay here. If I know they will be coming in two years time and start setting a bit of money aside now, then I am sure I can save up a few hundred Euros to help them. I’d far prefer to do that and be able to actually see them after so long, than never see them again because Europe is just so expensive.

Case 2

A friend of mine lives on her own. She is experiencing a nasty summer flu that’s left her running from her bed to the bathroom for days now. I offered to make some soup for her or do some grocery shopping. She insists that she has enough in the house. Only after more probing, does she admit that she has not had anything warm to eat in days.

Case 3

My sister is keeping care of our dear uncle, who is dying. She sits for hours each day holding his hand and inwardly, spiritually helping him to breathe. She is missing her boys and her home. I suggested that she ask my brother and his wife to come down and give her a few days rest. I suggested coming over from Germany to give her a week’s rest. Once again, as in the other two cases, much persuasion is needed to convince her that even though she feels personally responsible to stay by my uncle’s beside, there are other people out there willing to help.

In all three cases, the person in need, initially, felt great resistance to asking for help. They would prefer to continue along their path of isolation, illness, and emotional strain, than admit to those who love and care for them they need a helping hand. What would you do in the above-mentioned situations?

I think we all have to start reflecting why we are not able to indicate our needs; not knowing whom to ask, or when, or how is just not smart. It doesn’t make sense. When was the last time you asked someone to help without feeling embarrassment, shame, or desperation?

23 June, 2008

Law of Adaptation II

One of my favourite stories is the following:

Many many years ago, a rich Englishman partakes on a sunset cruise on the Hooghly River, east of Kolkata, India. The party is a lively affair with music, dance, laughter, and much alcohol. While standing at the stern of the boat, he notices something floating on the surface of the river. He bends over the railing to get a better look at the object and his wallet falls out of his jacket pocket. The slightly drunken Englishman tries desperately to grab at the wallet, only to fall in the river himself. His cries for help goes unnoticed by the crew and people on the boat.

He swims to shore, and as he crawls up onto the riverbank, an elderly man comes to his assistance. Once on shore, wet, mortified at his predicament at finding himself somewhere unknown without any money, the Englishman asks the elder whether he can lend him enough money to pay for transportation back to his hotel. The elder agrees to do this. The Englishman repeatedly assures the elder he will return the money promptly.

The elder tells the Englishman not to worry about returning the money to him. Instead, he instructs the Englishman to give the money to the next person who asks him for help. In this way, the weight of the debt is passed on from one person to another, making everyone stronger along the way.

I hear this story for the first time when I am in my 20s. At that time, what impresses me about the moral of the story is how a stranger can give without wanting anything in return. This idea is invigorating. The story makes me realise that no matter how little money I have, and I definitely have very little money, I can always give to others. I can pay for a friend’s cup coffee, invite a fellow student over to dinner whose student loan hasn’t come through yet, or put a dollar in a street musician’s hat.

In my 30s, I happen to hear another version of the story. One in which the social economical discrepancies between the Englishman and the elder is highlighted. The Englishman is relieved to be able to get out of his disconcerting and embarrassing situation, but it is questionable whether he is able to understand the extent of the elder’s generosity. For the sum of money is small for the wealthy Englishman, yet large for the poor elder; thus painting a situation that is similar to the social economical situation existing between England and India at that time.

In my 40s, a time when my children were still young, the moral of the story became a parent/child analogy. We may have been raised in different cultures, circumstances, or eras as our children, yet we can still share our wisdom with them.

Now, in my 50s, I wonder whether the story isn’t a strategy for growing old. That, when it comes to aging, even the most powerful will occasional be put in situations of needing help, and the most humble of us, in a position where we can lend a hand. And this asking for help and giving what we can, is a smart life strategy. Though the practice of give and take is smart, it is also difficult to comprehend because it is non-linear. When we need help, we must learn to ask for it in a manner and of those that are able to give. And, we should learn to give equally in this manner. We can’t always give from those we take.

Having been raised in an Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Canadian family and society, this concept of give and take is hard to me to fathom. Instead, I’ve been raised with philosophies such as the survival of the fittest, the strong helping the weak, and one hand washes the other. From my momentary point of view, none of these philosophies is applicable in facing the ever-changing challenges we must adapt to in old age. Maybe they were pertinent the first 50 years of my life, but they it is questionable whether they have now become outdated.

22 June, 2008

Law of Adaptation I

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the society I live in, and many of the western societies I have visited, social economical structures are based on the premise of “the survival of the fittest” and not on the law of give and take. This whole thought process started after reading an article by Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician, called, Pinnacle of Adaptation.

While sitting in a café yesterday, I jotted down some of the points that I would like to write concerning this notion of giving and taking, which I call law of adaptation. If all goes well, these musings will produce a few posts. The premise of my law of adaptation is, if I given the gift of a long life, I must learn to live a balanced life. Certainly, more balanced than the one I am now living. This means, first, an examination of what is askew in my life, for my intentions are good, but the practices are lacking.

Some of this has to do with the disparity between what I’m told (sold) and what I now believe to be a more humble realistic representation of a life well lived:
life_chart

And this is how I think the mass media splits up and covers the pie of life’s priorities:
pies01
The life we most “Fervently Pursue

Whereas, actually, if we were honest…
pies02
This distribution would indicate a “Healthy Attitude

Enjoy your Sunday.

20 June, 2008

Difficult Times

This week has been difficult, work-wise. Do you know the feeling when the stars are out of alignment? Well, that it what it feels like this evening. Everyone is asleep. My mind is swirling with all sorts of unimportant thoughts. I have to sleep. I can not.

Outdoors the cars go by honking their horns. This has also been a week of little interrupted sleep. Turkey, Germany, Italy, Germany wins of this week mean caravans of screaming fans and loud boat horns and car honking until two or three in the morning.

Maybe the lack of sleep and the work stress are somewhat related.

17 June, 2008

Greatly Missed

moo_post_yoga16

A tunnel, unexpected. The carriage lights
we didn’t notice weren’t on prove their point
and a summer’s day is cancelled out, its greens
and scattered blue, forgotten in an instant

A Tunnel, by Paul Farley

Maya’s Granny was a woman I got to know through her blog, but never had the privilege to meet in real person. She’s been having difficulties with her health since last winter and sadly suffered a heart attack and died two days ago.

Her blog is filled with warm loving tellings of her family, funny antidotes of her life in Alaska, and outrageous rants about love, life, politics and everything in between. Maya’s Granny helped many of us bloggers find our voices, she shared so much of her life with us and she will be greatly missed.

14 June, 2008

Short-term Strain

While looking through a filled journal this morning, I cam upon the saying,

Short-term pleasures often result in long-term detriment. Whereas, choosing short-term stain can lead to long-term benefits.”

I don’t know where I tripped across this saying. I don’t even remember writing it down. So far, June has been a choosing of short-term strain. My sanity rests on the knowledge that, come the end of June, two of my four work commitments come to end.
grenada04
Come the beginning of July, I will have more time on my hands. Idle time, to indulge in leisure pursuits. Time to expand my brain, move my body, and rest my spirit. Ah, the joys of anticipation.

13 June, 2008

Grenadian Theme

grenada03
This is another in my Grenadian theme collages. I'm making them up as possible postcard motifs to sell in Grenada. So far I like the motif with the woman and this one. I don't favour yesterday's collage at all; it just doesn't hold together. Oh well, it was a good try.

12 June, 2008

Sand on my Flipflops

grenada02
This collage doesn't make much sense. The world that I am living in at the moment is far too confused, so I thought I'd retreat to those things I like the best... see if you can guess.

11 June, 2008

Serendipity

Here is something to delight in. If you are having one of those cold stormy days, turn on some music and move your mouse across the screen and enjoy a childlike wonder in the movement of colour.

P.S. Change size of lines by clicking on mouse, change pattern by clicking on circles lower left hand corner, change background in circles right hand corner.

10 June, 2008

EM Fever

I don’t know how many of you know or love the power of football (soccer for you guys in North America). It is one of those few areas of the collective European Union lifestyle that is not convoluted politics, but simple and pure passion. Luebeck, Germany, all of Europe is in a fever because of the UEFA European Football Championship (in German, EM for short).

The championships started a few days ago. Germany has played once so far. They won the game against Poland, and the fans celebrated the team’s victory loudly, by driving through the streets with their air horns and drunken screams until four in the morning. (Oi!)

When it comes to football, everyone, fan or no fan of the sport, gets caught up in the jubilation. You might be able to avoid or discount the magic of Christmas if you are Scrooge, but you can’t help but to be drawn into football.

This is a film trailer that perhaps captures for a moment how people feel about this sport.

And, how are we celebrating the EM? Rather nicely, thank you, considering the fact that we don’t own a television and we are not really fans of the sport. We just let ourselves get swept along with everyone else.

As of Thursday, the next time Germany is to play, the entrance area and inner court of our apartment building will be transferred into an EM football arena. The building is an old (1890s) wealthy merchants family home. The entrance to the building was built to allow for horse and carriage to go through to the back warehouses.

The game will be projected onto a large screen mounted on the side of the building, industry bbq fired up, picnic tables and benches rented and set up to accommodate the people in our building as well as plenty of others colleagues, friends and family members. It promises to be a fete of the sorts we normally do not see, in our rather quiet existence.

09 June, 2008

For Chris

grenada01

This collage is for Chris in Grenada. The beautiful woman in the photo, isn't her, but the feeling of motif, hopefully is.

08 June, 2008

Internet Safety VII

(this is the last post of this series)

A few months ago, I was asked to give an ESL terminology course at a school for occupational therapy (OT). I didn’t really know anything substantial about occupational therapy, but I did know something about scientific terminology, I speak English, and I knew some excellent Internet language tools and Web 2.0 applications. What I lacked in knowledge, I hoped to compensate in methodology.

Since the students were nearing the end of their program, they all had extensive knowledge of OT practices. Ironically, it turns out that the students (20-30 years younger than I am) didn’t know anything substantial about Web 2.0 applications (e.g., 80% of the students didn’t know what a blog was, only one person had read a blog). Which was a shame, because I hoped to get them to use these tools to build a bridge to the large English-speaking OT community out there.

It took me a few weeks to figure out how to make the students feel comfortable enough with the media to work well together. It also took me a few weeks for me to take myself out of my comfort zone (i.e., a media saturated world) and meet the students half way with some photocopied lessons and magic markers in hand. There is only a few more weeks left to the course and it has been a great learning experience for me.

It struck me recently that this situation of students being media shy is a reversal of the situation most teachers are faced with these days. It is probably far more typical for students to want to use media in classroom learning and the teachers are the ones who feel overwhelmed by these expectations.

Yet, essentially, the learning process remains the same. We, as parents and educators, must create a learning situation where our children feel comfortable and encouraged to learn. Often, this is at the cost of removing ourselves from our own comfort zone since we must respond appropriately to what it is our children need.

I remember being fascinated by the concept that present-day teachers no longer have to just teach, they have to learn. One of the shortcomings of our educational system is the focus on teaching our teachers how to teach, instead of teaching our teachers how to learn. Our teachers must guide our children as they partake on a journey of learning experiences, rather than just focus on preparing them to preform in standardized tests.

The reason this is so, is because our children already have access to of a wealth of information. I am not just talking about facts they learn in their school curriculum, but also through books in libraries, shows on television, sites on the Internet, computer games, etc. They know so much stuff, but it is only through experiencing learning in context to their world, that this information can become knowledge. If personal contextualized experiences are missing, then information will not become long-term learning.

The most effective way of helping our children in their learning experiences is not to tell them what to do, but to share with them our own learning experiences. If you are a parent and you want to help your children, then start using the tools they are using already or will be using soon. Use the tools meaningfully and appropriately to communicate, present, document what you know in life.

07 June, 2008

Summer Evening

lily02

The fair weather holds. A joy to walk along the canal and watch the children jumping in to the pond/public swimming area down the street from us. The water is too murky for my tastes, but that doesn't take away from the beauty of the scene.

06 June, 2008

Summer Breeze

summer_beach

We, in northern Germany, do not usually "do" summer well. There is something about the Baltic Sea breeze that tends to bring in a lot of grey cold weather, or, on occasion, scorching heat. We rarely get much in between. That is until May of this year. Let it be said that we have had the most spectacular sweet summer weather I've ever experienced in the last twenty-six years of living in Germany.

05 June, 2008

Dawn Points

summertime
Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

East Coker, by T.S. Elliot

Many years ago, as a young adult, I became enamoured by T.S. Elliot’s reading of his work, Four Quartets. I would listen to his reading of East Coker especially often: all the while following the ebb and flow of his voice with the written words.

My uncle, Peter, who stayed with me for a weekend at that time, wondered what drew me to these poems. We went out to dinner one night and talked about the meaning of words, their power, and how Mr. Elliot’s voice haunted my days.

I’ve just heard from my sister how my uncle-dear is struggling in this life, and I wish him a dawn wind out at sea. This is what he wishes. He has shown me, how we are all beginners when it comes to dying and that this is good so, since death truly is a beginning.

04 June, 2008

Internet Safety VI

(This is the second to last article in this series.)

It’s been fun to write about how parents and educators can act as leaders in our children’s use of digital media and the Internet. Today, I am going to write about Internet-safe practices for the 10 to 14-year-old age group.

This is not a topic that I am comfortable with, for I have no pat answers, I don’t feel that I can make any sweeping statements (usually love those), or that I can give advice that might be applicable to the mainstream. It is a situation though that is very near to my heart and with which I am currently struggling with. For, you see, I have a thirteen-year-old daughter who is challenging my parental wisdom and skills in a manner that my eighteen-year-old son never did, when it comes to wanting free access to the Internet.

My daughter is more challenging than her brother, just because my son didn’t spend any time in the Internet until we got a DSL connection at home about 2 ½ years ago. There is also a difference in their personalities that contributes to the situation. My son is a very reserved and private person when it comes to verbal communication (a diplomatic way of saying he doesn’t talk much). I tend to say, he is an active, but silent participator in our family unit.

My daughter is just the opposite: an active and vocal contributor to our unceasing domestic chaos. Her interest in the Internet is influenced by her older brother, fellow classmates, friends, and, to a lesser extent, her parents. Up until about six months ago, these Internet activities were:

  • The occasional YouTube session of watching “Who’s Line is It Anyways?” (You have to understand that we don’t have a television in our household, but embarrassingly, we own six computers.)
  • Playing (wasting time) online games for her one-hour gaming allotment (3 days/week). Her favourite sites were (online J&R games, zefrank programs, and the stardoll.com site).
  • After she turned twelve, she was allowed to play one hour of WoW (World of Warcraft) once a week. The first six months or so, she could only play in accompaniment of her father or brother. This was a precaution we took because the “tone of voice” on the game chat between the players can get nasty when new players don’t play well and cause their group to lose a game challenge.

The time she spent in the Internet was restricted, the content discussed or approved. She also, occasionally needs to research information for school homework, but that is so minimal it hardly bears mentioning.

About six months ago, my daughter asked us whether she could set up a profile on a national high school student community: sort of like Facebook, but only for 12-18 year olds. No adults are allowed. They also need an email address to use the site.

I wasn’t so thrilled with the idea. My husband, a WoW fan(atic), was neutral on the topic. He gets the online thing, but not if there is no gaming. His WoW activities have more to do with gaming than they do with social interaction.

So, my daughter and I had to battle things out amongst ourselves. We asked my son to contribute to our discussion, as a neutral, but informed, moderate. These are the guidelines we worked out:

  • She could put a photo of herself on her profile page, if it was in no way provocative (my stipulation)
  • Her profile can only be accessed by her friends (her suggestion)
  • There was a six-month trail period, to see how much time she tends to spend on the site (her brother’s suggestion)
  • Copies of all her emails and message announcements are forward to my email account. I will not read the emails or messages; just register their quantity or frequency (my stipulation)

The reason we created a trail periods, was so that we could eventually talk about the amount of time spent on the site. This is because her brother thinks the only real risk of being a member of this site, is the amount of time you waste. One or two of his friends spend hours every day doing this.

I stipulated that her emails and message announcements be forwarded to my email account for two reasons. First, it is a matter of trust. I am trying to trust my daughter. She’s trying to trust me. I’m trying to live up to her trust. The emails come through my account, I register this fact, and then I throw them unread in my trash.

Secondly, it has to do with the potential danger of my daughter encountering a perpetrator or bully. A friend of mine, who worked for many years in a shelter for abused women and children, once told me that the media was fond of supporting the myth that most perpetrators are strangers. When the reality is most often otherwise; most victims know their abusers. Certainly, the friends and acquaintances I’ve known who suffered abuse or rape nearly always fell into the later group.

So, my reasoning for forwarding the emails is, if my daughter is running into a dangerous situation, maybe just maybe, she’ll tell me, or maybe I can see the signs of obsessive activity though an increase in correspondence, or maybe, hopefully, she will be able to avoid the situation right from the beginning. I just don’t want her to feel alone with the situation.

Also, I do wonder whether setting up a system of checks and controls has other pedagogical uses. I really have no idea. This is very dark swampy ground I’m navigating through. I can’t imagine what it must be like for my daughter.

P.S. Thank you to my daughter, for reading this article and giving me her permission to post it.

02 June, 2008

Internet Safety V

Much to the contrary to popular practice, media literacy is not acquired by sitting hours (days, weeks, months) in front of a television screen, or computer monitor playing computer games, or creating a profile on Facebook and collecting “friends”. It is about interaction, communication, and presentation. It’s about creating content and discussion. Here’s a video, that admittedly goes too far in making it’s point, but that is British humour for you:

In my childhood, literacy was about learning to read and write. If I were to define these activities in our children’s world, I’d say that media literacy is about consuming and creating: consuming information and creating content. As parents, we have the responsibility to supervise and encourage our children to participate in both activities. When they are young (3-10 years), it is more important to stress the creative direction (i.e., creating content). Later on, the consuming/informing part will grow in significance. But hopefully, not to a degree that it overshadows the creative part.

Last Friday, I held a lecture at the Universtity of Kiel about this topic to teaching students. One of the presentations concerns storytelling methods, techniques, and technologies. My message to parents and educators is to see the process of creating content as just storytelling. A skill our children very much need.
Storytelling is, for most young people, best told visually, orally, or in movement or dance. Only a small percentage of people on this earth, can write down their stories on paper with the same beauty and fluidity as they can tell the story through other means. It is unfortunate, that our schools still concentrate highly on written text. It is, of course, vitally important for our children to learn to read and write. I am no disputing this. I just think that we should offer our children more opportunities to explore and express their world through other means.

There is a wealth of Wed 2.0 applications, tools, and services for free or for a minimal charge. For those of you wanting to know about the range of possibilities, I’d suggest starting here:

The best starting point is commoncraft videos
Other videos you can find in TeacherTube or YouTube
Good educational blogs (1, 2)
RSS links to various tools (1)
Online Dictionaries (1,2)

The reasons for doing this can be found in what all of these leaders of education are saying:

If you wish to know what sort of projects you can make with your children, write me an email (address in sidebar). Include your children’s ages, interests, school level, and present use of media. I’d be happy to send you some suggestions.

01 June, 2008

Back to Collaging

elder

Ah, a stolen hour of peace and quiet. Time to spend listening to various podcasts. And, yes-oh-yes, slap dapping a collage together. What a joy it is to meander through this sunny Sunday. Now, I am off to my café.