Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let's look at IVAN ILLICH again... "Learning Webs" and BIBPenpals

It has been a while since I looked at Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich.

The book can be downloaded in pieces from here and you can get a summary on Wikipedia here.

Illich called for "learning webs" ...  here is a section of Deschooling Society that is quoted in the Wikipedia article:

The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.

I find this passage from Deschooling Society helpful in supporting the efforts to use social media in schools.  That's one of the reasons why I advocate using and to connect students in different countries.

The program "BIB PENPALS" continues to need support.  Posting notices on blogs and links to the youtube channel have resulted in just three U.S. students connecting with three students from other countries.   Donations are needed to pay for a marketing campaign to:

a) put posters on walls in schools (nothing says "DO THIS" like a poster)
b) distribute pens and other advertising specialities in schools to remind teachers about the availability of hundreds of students waiting to connect on Skype and via social media (primarily Facebook) 
c) respond to the dozens of students that I hear from each week.  This would mean hiring a college student to push 

<<< Wilson

Thank you for listening (and taking time to learn about the connection of BIBPenpals to the work of educational pioneers).  For more information about Building International Bridges, the non-profit charity that aims to reduce obstacles to intercultural communication, visit   The first photo is Joe and the second photo shows Wilson.  They are students in Brazil who want tro practice English by Skype.  Their teacher, Paloma, arranged for this connection.   You can contact Joe and Wilson through Paloma at paloma_ortegas BAT hotmail DOT com.   To avoid attracting spammers, the @ has been replaced by BAT and the dot by BOT.


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