Four intense hours! The auditorium at the University of Santo Domingo, the first university in the New World (founded 1538) was jammed when we began and was still about half full when we ended.
Carlos set the theme for our March 22 TEDx: Education, Innovation and Social Inclusion. My assignment was to talk about how teachers and administrators at César Chavez Prep Charter School in DC and I are broadening our students’ experiences so they become more comfortable with “others.”
Some of the ways we are accomplishing this are:
- Video-making – in particular, “digital storytelling,” Digital storytelling, which combines illustrated, personal narrations into short videos. Our eventual goal is to use digital stories as a way to quickly tun strangers into colleagues during Skype conversations with peers.
- Bringing experts into the classes both in person and via Skype.
- Partnering with another school/class in a worldwide event which includes action and Skype conversations.
Carlos arranged for Kites to be part of a two-day digital storytelling workshop with Angie Diaz of Plan International Dominican Republic. She brought videographer Celestino Gonzales into the mix and I added Peter Marsden and Karine Welsh and their Chavez Prep sixth graders into the game. We set off at 6:30 a.m on March 21st for the Community Technology Centre in Pedro Corto, four hours away.When we returned that night, Celestino started editing. By the time of my TEDx talk the next day, his video was ready and I had stunning proof of the power of shared excitement. (Video)
Angie also lectured at TEDx, Celestino taped the four hours with two video cams, and Carlos was everywhere, running the show…and then at 6:30 the next morning, we climbed in the Plan van again and returned to Pedro Corto to finish our workshop….and back that night. OUr eight-hour commute.
Then to Haiti for the weekend with Carlos and his wife, Laura, a human rights lawyer. Eight hours each way, followed by a half-day workshop at Collegio Escuela Nueva enroute to the airport and my flight home.
Oh, I forgot to mention visiting El Lìmon, a mountain village off any grid that was wired with electricity 16 years ago by then-Cornell professor of community development, Jon Katz, who continually evolves like creating a wi-fi network that covers 2-3km around the village. Carlos’ Stanford project involved documentary making in the village.