Making a positive contribution to this world

I have just been looking at the video from PBS “New Learners of the 21st Century”

Watch the full episode. See more Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.



There were a number of important points made in the video and much that was to be admired in the contributions by the likes of John Seeley Brown but the thing that stuck with me was the statement by Richard Koshalek director of the Hirshhorn Museum that was about how the empowerment of digital media was enriching the experience of education for children and will allow them in the future “to make a positive contribution to this world”.

That statement, about making a positive contribution reminded me of a lesson that I was giving many moons ago. I remember talking about how destruction is really so easy to do. It was one of my teacher-type morality speeches after a child had destroyed another child’s work.

I remember standing in front of the class and saying that it might take a lot of love,time, energy, experience, passion and belief to produce a great work of art or a beautiful building… but it can be ripped apart or destroyed in what seemed like no time.

I wanted the children to think about how difficult it is to create and how easy it is to destroy. Richard Koshalek’s statement made me think about the wider implications of what we are hoping for in educating our children. At best surely it is that they can make a positive contribution to their world and hopefully to ours.

In your classes there may be architects of promise, artists of genius and filmmakers who will excite and take our ideas to a new height of experience.There may also be others whose contribution to society is one of destruction.

The big question therefore remains… how do we get our children to make a positive contribution to their world and hopefully ours and are we equipping them with the learning possibilities that will allow them to achieve rather than destroy?


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