To All the Changemakers Embracing New Ways of Learning


Ol and Am Egyptian

I was really intrigued by the fact that I was called a ‘junkie’ yesterday, admittedly a technology junkie but a ‘junkie’ all the same. In fact the whole family were called ‘Technology Junkies,’ on Twitter, followed by a smile and a wink. I did a bit of self-management, as I nearly did a Twitter knee jerk. But my better self, spoke to my not so great self and had a word. The word was, well words were…’This is not about you.’

I was interested as It came from a well known organisation, that talk a lot about education, they pose interesting questions on Twitter for the Twittersphere to talk about. One of the questions was about how teachers use technology in the classroom, it was an interesting question. I answered it, I am not a teacher but I guess I feel I can talk from the position of facilitating with our kids. I wanted to answer it because, I/we use technology a lot. We love it. I wanted to share the brilliant sites we use and what we gain from it. So I did, I told them that we use Skype, Sole’s, Ted Education, Youtube, Google, Pinterest, The Khan Academy, you name it we use it.

The kids hack their learning they create trees out of boxes and make the most amazing hand-made cards, aprons and sculptures, make Egyptian costumes and paint their faces so that they look like cats (see the picture above). Actually the list is endless… Thank you Pinterest.

They talk to the world and discover where other kids live, how they live and they see children in various countries mirroring their own smiles back to them, whilst they frantically try to figure out on the map where the other children are located. Thank you Mystery Skype.

They ponder amazing BIG QUESTIONS and make movies in order to answer them, or write stories, or make paintings. Thank you School in the Cloud.

They make up dance routines, they watch wonderful performers, sing loud songs whilst washing up. Thank you YouTube.

They mull through scientific concepts, like how do volcanoes work? What are germs? Why do some buildings fall down and others not during an earthquake?  All this they learn through beautifully illustrated cartoons and lovely sounding voices. Thank you TED EDUCATION.

The list goes on and on because there is so much out there and it is all accessible and it is wonderful.

They also get bored of the computer. They go for walks, ride bikes, make cakes, flick mud, chase cats, read books, argue, play, cook dinners, write letters, wash up and climb trees etc. As the world and all its beauty is just outside our front door, they live lives that are not solely technology focused.

So I was curious as to why when talking about technology on Twitter the word ‘junkie’ came up. I don’t think the word ‘junkie’ should be used, ever. Because it conjures up a sad image, of a failure, a person that can’t survive without their fix. Then it got me thinking as to how open and accepting the world is out there, especially in the field of traditional education towards technology, how open are the doors? How fast are schools catching up with what is going outside of school?

How are kids that hack their education viewed, like our kids? And then my beautiful cockney grandmother Nell popped in to my head and she said ‘Don’t look sideways gal, you are doing a great job, just keep on at it.’

I thought about all the amazing people out there paving the way for future learning, trying their best to move things forward, racing ahead and opening up the world for generations to come… I thought, to all those people out there in the face of technophobes, or changephobes, keep on going because you are doing a great job!

The ebook ‘Unschooling’ is available here you can be pre-order your copy now, right this minute…if you feel like it!

  • ellenrowland says:

    The Key, like you said Lehla, is “this is not about you”!!! Who knows why someone would use such a strong word like junkie, but whatever you triggered in them is only about them. I fight with myself on this all the time when faced with other people’s judgements because I’m super sensitive. You are doing amazing things with your kids and inspiring others. Technology is an awesome learning tool! XO

    • Thanks Ellen, and in all truth people often say things and don’t mean them to be so harsh but I guess I am really curious as to how people show up. I find that there is a lot of resistance and judgement around unschooling and so of course I will always bang up against people’s criticism. I read something something the other day that was so inspiring, it said something like ‘in 15 years it will not matter what he or she thought of you and your choices around how you raised your kids but what will matter the most is what your kids think of you’ and that in the face of peoples judgments keeps me feeling very positive and inspired. And the fact that my daughter said to me whilst driving back from the shops the other day ‘Mum, can I just say thank you, I want to say thank you for the life you are giving me’ When hearing that from my daughter, being called a ‘junkie’ melts away like ice in the sunshine…Ellen I would love to meet you! x

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