Photo by Johnny Milano for The New York Times
Hurricane Michael is yet another reminder that the next twenty years is going to bring devastation to populations of living things around the world. Coral, Polar bears, and humans too. The recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives us yet another alert about the coming changes—with a focus on major (and likely) changes by 2040. A mere 21 years in our future.
I'd like to propose that the library create a series of design events to support the creation of teaching and self-directed learning resources.
Why us? Climate change is a multidisciplinary problem, and an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration. Like many human challenges, if can be approached as an educational problem. For example: How do humans work together to ameliorate the worst effects of climate change?
I think the Teachers College community—and a much wider community of educators and change agents—would welcome an opportunity to imagine, envision, and prototype learning opportunities that could have a real impact. Also, hey, we have a learning theater...
So, I'll throw out some initial ideas below. Please add your own!
- As a nod to Gary's "Home" idea, I think that this could be an amazing subject for an icebreaker activity.
- Impact: Imagine a hurricane experience in the theater. The goal would be to focus participants of the design event on an emotional level. A gut-punch, so to speak.
- Exploring what we know: Exhibits that bring data about climate change to life. Maybe different versions of the event would have different data. Awesome existing research would support graphic visualization.
- Iterative prototyping of learning resources: Groups would be challenged to address specific (and multiple) problems around the problem of communicating key issues of climate change, and ways that individuals and communities can effect change.
- "Looking back from the future" from the Matt Taylor playbook: Imagine it's 2040. How did humans work together to help lessen the impact of climate change? More specifically, how did educators make an impact?
- Developing Systems Thinking: How can learning tools and experiences amplify each other? What are key strategic tools we need to support learning about climate change? What are the limits of specific resources for teaching? What are the limits of specific resources for self-directed learning?
- Walk away with a Solution: Groups will be tasked with archiving their work in a way that connects to previous event outcomes, and be invited to contribute to its future development. The best outcome would be self-initiated evangelism around teaching and learning resources.
Videos about the Library Design Events could be part of a greater communication plan to bring attention to the community's work and educational activism. Personally I think people around the world need to meet the amazing people who would be a part of these events—passion about learning can spark the hope and optimism we'll need to tackle this weighty issue.