As most 10 years old boys, Brandon has a great love for animals, but not in the way you would expect. He is passionate about saving his favorites — our closest cousins among the Great Apes — from captivity!
Back in 2009, Brandon decided he wanted a chimp as a pet. Being curios if that is possible, he decided to research and learn more about these amazing animals, but what he found out caused a change of heart — instead of getting one as a pet, he decided he wanted to help save those held in captivity!
Since then, Brandon has been successfully raising awareness about the bad conditions in which chimps held in captivity for biomedical and other research live. He continually raises money to organize adoptions and transfer for such chimps to the Save the Chimps Sanctuary using his Make a Chimp Smile blog.
Brandon recently spoke at the TEDxYouth@TampaBay conference organized on Universal Children’s Day on November 20, 2010 (see video below) and is actively engaged with people and organizations that are interested in helping these endangered species!
“Had I the heavens embroidered cloths, Enwrought with gold and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet; But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” ~ W.B. Yeats
“And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson
Recently, I ran into a blog post from a middle school teacher who asked his students to explain how would they reform school. A noble idea to be commended! — you might say. That’s what I thought too, but then I saw the answers, including:
- Better cafeteria food with real ingredients
- A monthly educational field trip
- iPads, netbooks or laptops in classes
- More freedom in terms of leaving to use the restroom, eating a snack or getting a drink of water, etc.
Something feels wrong! Of course, there were some great ideas in the complete list — like more electives, feedback instead of marks, and community service once a week — but somehow the list suggested that all of the problems with the current education system can be resolved if we buy few iPads, stop making kids suffer with a full bladder till the end of the lesson and throw in a field trip or two?!
Looking at the list made me remember a lesson I learned in my career in software development — and somehow always forget and need to re-learn: Users (don’t!) always know what is best for them! Sometimes it takes someone from outside to notice what they’re doing wrong and show them alternative ways.
Learning to unlearn is the highest form of learning. ~ Buddhist proverb
At its very core, education is an innate expression of curiosity; a longing to understand and be part of the world; a manifestation of purpose and passion that every person carries within them. ~ Carey Elizabeth Smith, Co-Director of the Body Therapy Institute*
I’ve been troubled lately with the question “How do we learn?” I don’t mean specifically how kids learn in school, or how adults learn at a new job position… I’m rather curious how do we learn anything in general!
I know self-organization is possible! After all we know that life emerged from the chemical soup that was Earth ~ 4 billions of years ago — through nothing else but self-organization at molecular level. I guess something must make this Universe inherently capable of self-organization at many levels.
But to see self-organization including people with completely different backgrounds — at any level you can imagine: from education, to skills, to profession, to culture! — come together to organize an event like TEDxUBC was a mind-boggling experience for me!
TEDxUBC is few things! It is a quest to figure out how should secondary, post-secondary and lifelong learners be prepared for a world moving fast forward at breakneck speed? It is a conference that brings educators, business people and enthusiasts to share their ideas about transforming education. It is a movement to stir the public and various institutions into action to implement those ideas. It is a bunch of passionate people coming together to change the world in their own little way!
The premise of my previous article was that today’s world values participation above consumption and the new economy of attention selects those who engage with others and not those who focus on earning and spending money.
As I mentioned at the end of the article, though, there’s one more aspect about this view of the world that I didn’t cover. It is an aspect that I am most excited about and would like to lay it out here!
In a peculiar twist of random events converging to an unexpected outcome — which will become obvious below 😉 — after writing the article last night, today I got to watch Carne Ross, the first ever “freelance diplomat”, speaking at one of TED’s partner conferences, the Business Innovation Factory summit last year.