Education and Skywalker Ranch

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by: danah boyd

Yesterday, i flew up to Skywalker Ranch to meet with a bunch of people who think about/work on issues around education.

It was held there because it included folks from the George Lucas Educational Foundation (and was put on by the Institute for the Future and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation). OMG… drool. That place is just ridiculously gorgeous! There were gardens and a lake and vineyards and all things pretty northern California. PLUS there were original life sabers and other movie memorabilia. Mega drool.

On top of being in an idyllic setting, the meeting was quite engaging. It was very school-focused and a small group of us came to the realization that schools need to start serving the tension between ego-centered, personalized, individualistic society and globalized society. There used to be scales – people would be part of local communities, broader communities, nation-states, etc. Networked society is altering the relationships between people and communities are suffering because of the lack of cohesion, social norms, etc. When we think about education (especially when we talk about its role in relation to civic life), we need to stop damning technology and start engaging with the shifts that have occurred in the architecture of sociality. We started toying with what that would mean as a design criteria for educational infrastructure. (I was trying really hard to think of optimistic ideas for formal education but i also realized how much i still detest the bureaucratic nature of public schools.)

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