EFF11 Moving to Global Learning Action
Education Fast Forward’s global education momentum
In sport there is a thing called momentum for a team, as well as the feeling of being in the moment for a participant. Both concepts pertain to Education Fast Forward Debates. I’ve participated in quite a few really organized education think tanks, but always felt that there wasn’t enough momentum to keep the conversation going, let alone any action happening. I think that was due to more of a one-off approach to these meetings, as well as a small group of participants. This isn’t the case with the EFF debates, and it’s all the better, too, because Education Fast Forward as a foundation can pursue education solutions full time rather than part time, and with a steadfast agenda to solve problems and not merely talk.
Education Fast Forward experienced by US education editor
Each EFF Debate is an online experience, with all sorts of invited guests from around the world, but my favorite moment is finding out with whom I’ll be locked in a Cisco Telepresence room. Last time it was education change guru Michael Fullan. This time my EFF roommate for EFF11, Mobile Learning for the Masses, was District Administration and University Business editor Tim Goral. It was his first, and he reminded me afterward that he wanted to be involved in more of them. For me, this was important to hear. Having a US, national education media person interested in getting more involved may help those of us in the US get more educators and students involved. I believe that the more that know about EFF, the more that will get involved, and the more powerful the voices for global learning awareness will be. There are no walls or boundaries here.
Education Fast Forward’s challenge
While listening and tweeting at EFF11 I, again, was in the fast-paced and rapid-fire social media conversation. There was plenty of the usual repeating of what a guest participant brilliantly said, but there was also the sharing of ideas and suggestions from many participants around the world. Quite a few chimed in on David Coltart’s (former Zimbabwe minister of education) theme. He sat between two wonderfully brilliant high school students from Zimbabwe. Coltart said that we must remember the challenges faced in the third world. As he said, the students on either side of him attended an urban school with access to Internet and reasonable access to IT efforts and IT generally—but that’s not the case for more than 70 percent of Zimbabwean school children. Most schools are in rural areas with hardly any electricity and virtually no Internet at all. So there are major and historical challenges. Teachers are in difficult situations and in his words receiving “pathetic salaries” and don’t have access to purchase computers themselves, so they often have very limited ICT skills.
David Coltart’s words, for me, hit right where I was thinking during the EFF11 debate and during previous Fast Forward events as well. His 70 percent in Zimbabwe can be amplified to most of the world’s children that aren’t learning, and teachers that aren’t adequately trained or outfitted for this century because they are still living three or more centuries behind. I know that’s where Education Fast Forward is heading, but certainly it pays to be openly forceful in demanding we get there sooner than later. For a child, or any learner, a day without learning can never be regained. My heart is heavy daily that I cannot do more than say and write it, and repeat it for anyone who will listen. I pray that EFF with its follow-up debates can bring action to the words sooner than later. I think it can. I want to believe it can. Another day has gone—how many more?
Get involved! Please check www.effdebate.org