Monday, June 27, 2011

CBAIS - Day One 

Ways and Teachings in Navajo - I attended a workshop this morning on "Engaging Diverse Entrepreneurs in Web 2.0." One of the most interesting take aways in the workshop was a small handout at the end as folks were already leaving the room. The handout focused on the ways of learning and teaching in Diné, the language of the Navajo. The handout points out that in the ways of learning and teaching in Diné, the clan system in important. Diné will introduce themselves by naming his or her clans. The clan relationships demand respect and certain ways of interacting physcially, emotionally and spiritually. In Diné culture, this kinship is utilized to develop special teaching relationships to support the learner.

Story telling is also key Diné teaching tool that serves to united family and community. Stories are told based upon the individual's stage of growth at a particular moment. The story teller will know when to tell the story to make allowances for the difference between the stages of growth. For example, if a child lacks courage and is afraid of certain situations, then it would be the right time to share a story that shows how courage is necessary to live. The story is told with hopes that the child will gain insights. Although some stories are only told at certain times, storytelllng is ongoing in Diné teachings. Most storytellers do not expect to tell a full story overnight, rather is a continual accumulation of stories in a Diné mind that begins to develop the person as an individual and a member of the community. Sometimes, it can take many years before one can see the meaning of the story.

This takes me back to Laura Breeden's presentation earlier in the day. Laura asked us to think back to what we were doing ten years ago. Technology For All was "flying high." We had a national partner in a Fortune 10 corporation -- Enron -- and we had a plan to work with Enron to establish broadband for public computer centers across the U.S. In just a few months that vision (with Enron) was abandoned. We had to ask Ken Lay the CEO of Enron to resign as our board chair and experienced a major loss of funding. The sharing of that story reminded me that it "can take many years before one can see the meaning of the story." We are now understanding the meaning of our story.

This post was written from the "Community Broadband - Adoption and Sustainability Conference" (CBAIS) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Headed to Cleveland 

Several members of the Texas Connects Coalition team will be in Cleveland, Ohio for three days next week for the Community Broadband Conference. I will be bloging from the Conference, so check it out and check it often.
Will Reed

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