Where are we?
Why is it important?
its really important that we catch people young, and integrate the idea of data collection, open science, and critical thinking at an early age. If we're to change the way people interact with the environment, then we should catch them early.
experience with outdoor education in urban areas, very smart kids, but we take for granted that kids have a spacial or chart-interpretive ability that they don't have. We can help them develop these skills. Even in soccer, its hard to get the kids to understand the size of the field in relation to them. We thinks that maps are intuitive, but they're learned, show a kid a map and they don't have an immediate relationship with it.
Balloons place them on the map, and give them a map immediately, allowing kids to understand spacial relations, and creates a map of a place (like a school yard) that they can directly relate to.
I'm a visual learner, and maps are exciting and enticing because I can excercize that ability in a map.
at ExCiteS we've done play based learning, very tactile techniques with PlayDough. PlayDough allows each student to create and share with another student, increasing interactions, relaxes students, and lets them own the experience. Its personal.
What is most interesting is kids teaching other kids, kids teaching parents.
love the Jeff's grassrootsmapping guide, cartoons, approachable
what kind of political content will there be with this, since we're engaging kids in advocacy work.
Kids don't necessarily draw a direct connection between environmental threats and social neglect, but they have an awareness
It seems that there would need to be more site-specific work , different issues in rural and urban
but how do you introduce that to different neighborhoods?
social agency lab looked at sites that were totally demolished. and we looked at past, (Pruitt Igoe) present, and future. Temporal organizing and imagining future helps. Historical maps and understanding "what is just different" isn't political.
right, there's a future
But it moves them towards the political, because they will inherently think about motivations.
in the GRM wiki, we had a curriculum in Spanish, and did a whole series of activities based on history, current plans, and the future. We did it all through drawing maps- drawing their memories of their home, and their current homes. And so they drew these early temporary homes in informal settlements, and then current homes. and it taught a sense of scale by drawing homes, then streets, then neighborhoods.
Kate Ballard did that at Harvard....Rio
we do that with google maps, printing out the historical data and just looking at it. it gives context
It helps to put kids on a continuum, timelines aren't intuitively understood.
in Belize in August Pine Ridge, Belanca Torres is principal, took aerial pictures of school complex with Engineers without borders. Pat asked: would kids like to do this? Belanca: yeah, kids would love to school building go up.
Bracketing something you're doing to change the landscape with imagery is helpful. Documenting those changes is great.
three main reasons, beyond fun: documenting changes you're making (design documentation), documenting pollution (there's a problem), investigation (we're not sure what's going on). Investigation is the closest to play. But what do people think?
There's an aspect of revelation, seeing what you know from a new perspective
Those are valid reasons, but I've shied away from investigative imaging, but I've shied away from doing that because "why?" I don't have time to answer all those calls. The great thing with K-12 education is that you don't need a reason why, you're just teaching
Disagree, kids need context and understanding too.
there are fresh things that emerge if they have images of their life and their community.
concerned that we're using kids to get to the parents. Lots of people want to reach parents, seen architects who wanted to do this and reach parents to drive demand. But that makes me skeptical, having a hidden agenda. If someone wants to address a problem, then "oh, lets do it through youth."
that's a really good point, if you enable access to tools to allow people to see their own issues. If you let that drive the next steps, then thats great, but it can be a problem too.
sure, but building passive houses is great on a small scale, but its a part of gentrification agenda that no one quite understands.
yeah, (rubs hands together) everyone is like, how do we get grants, lets get kids in it! Thats very problematic, a kind of political community engagement. but I do edible school yard program, and kids bring stuff home, like eggplants, and then asking parents "I want babaganoush!" and I don't have a problem with that.
I am interested in bringing in modes of civic engagement, not just waiting until you're 18 to be involved in your community. And I think there is a way to bring in those models without pushing a specific agenda
at UMass, we've asked students, instead of writing a paper, "why don't you contribute to wikipedia?" and kids love it, and get engaged, and see it as more than just an assignment.
there are lots of things that are trying to be maps that aren't maps. and teaching kids scale, and mapmaking, will help them understand mapmaking, using maps, and other skills. We can engage the community and start basic, and not get into complicated issues.
We all come from different communities and school systems with different sets of local knowledge. I have kids that don't have strong skills in math and reading. We don't need to bring them up to higher concepts to make it valuable. Cameras, computers, mapmaking, its teaching a set of valuable skills without getting to higher political issues. I feel that people in New Orleans are fairly insular, and aren't necessarily seeing county, state, country... you just see your neighborhood, grow up in your neighborhood, live there. So starting with honest questions and helping kids understand their space and time, that's a lot, that's important.
in our rhetoric we talk about "oh and this can go to google" but not everyone cares about the global picture, so a neighborhood scale newsletter is valuable.
yeah, like in our first forum with a monochrome, traceable image that people can collect pen and paper contributions, that's great.
Kids aren't always aware that other people are watching them, or that they should document things for people to read later. at parts & crafts we tried to make a zine, but it was an ambitious goal to get kids to present themselves to others.
Shai Efrati got a clown to come to his class and pretend to be an alien, and ask kids to explain their neighborhood to him, and that worked. Like what Don said, making a poster, showing the neighborhood, can be a really wonderful thing
826 Valencia does that in the Mission (San Francisco) does that, started by Dave Eggers...
my experience with photography was to keep it really simple and teach pinhole photography. The kids were skeptical, like "ha, she thinks we'll get photos from these boxes" but once we came out of the darkroom, they were enthusiastic. in the refugee camp, the kids were very tired of how everyone shows them, and so they showed photos of plants, and friends, and happy things. And at the exhibition the community was quite happy. So I would say to just keep it simple and the kids will pull it in a good direction.
what I'm getting is the 1st goal should be to keep it attainable.
I agree, if its a curriculum to apply in schools, kids, especially kids getting into their teen years, they don't want to go to school because they see school as something made by adults, run by adults, where adults tell them what to do. So letting them set the focus will enable this.
In Louisiana, teachers are really over-taxed, and a curriculum can be a lot of work for them. But relating state-wide learning objectives to every day of activities is crucial, because otherwise a teacher can't sell it
It rests on you and the state to justify the learning objectives. When developing the wetlands curriculum where we are, we had to also create the teachers' curriculum... how will you teach the teachers? and we did extra work to create a chaperon program in the curriculum. And we kept it simple, and we had an agenda, like, "look at this marsh grass" and we had targets, like "you're going to look at these bugs" but we didn't quite get there, and really the value was just getting there, seeing the wetlands.
it's valuable just to test hypotheses, to see if there are trees in this lot vs. this lot. Teaching how to ask and answer questions, and hopefully this is valuable to a school system. Not everyone teaches hypothesis testing, but hypothesis testing is a part of it.
Eric opened with the question that not everyone can evaluate data, but how do you get to that? what is the accountability around understanding representation, and how do you get kids to reflect on representations?
That is a further goal, a secondary goal, we just want to get to hypothesis testing
Liz I think catarina's question is within your question, "how do we understand what questions we can ask and answer?"
lets have a followup session