Friday, April 7, 2017

Ottiya: Children, Educators, & Creatives as Co-Creators



Up until recently, I was on a standard path to do research before I decided to take a leap of faith and step outside of the boundaries of academia.
As a former teacher, curriculum designer, and researcher, I realized that there was and continues to be a huge gap between research and practice for creative learning and education. The world of international education continues to be dictated by standardized data, assessments, and competition, but what is better for humanity and also what is more valuable in the creative & innovation era is storytelling, creativity, and sharing. 

International standardized assessments are unable to capture the hopes, dreams, and anxieties of students, educators, parents, and others in the ‘education ecosystem’. It is dangerous to rely on standardized data--incomplete information--to dictate education policy decisions.
How can we uplift the voices of the stakeholders of education who really matter most--especially children and educators--and set them on equal footing with leaders and influencers in creativity and education? How can we promote cross-national dialogue and sharing about what teaching, learning, and schools are really like all around the world? What if everyone--young and adult and expert and amateur-- became co-creators, collaborators, and facilitators of this conversation? I like picturing this alternative and more organic vision for int’l education with the image of a community garden where everyone can get involved in deciding the seeds we want to grow and the tools we want to use to nurture a garden dedicated to learning & education.
For the past eight months I have been working on an international education magazine that shares what creative teaching and learning is like with over twenty contributions from ten different countries. This past week, we began crowdfunding to jumpstart the project. Many people share the vision of our project, but it’s been very difficult to find actual backers of the project outside of my circle of friends and family. There are many reasons for this such as a lack of understanding of crowdfunding and also a kind of bystander effect that someone else will back the project. I think many people think that likes and shares on social media would translate into actual financial support, but that’s not the case.
If there’s anyone in this group who is interested in our project so that we can take what we most cherish most about learning--something personally meaningful, creative, and fun--and share that with countries all over the world, I invite you to check out our project & consider supporting financially. 

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