edu180atl: laura deisley 5.24.12
When a teacher can’t see why a student is stuck, or when an interface designer dismisses the 12% of the users who can’t find the ‘off’ switch… we’re seeing a failure of empathy, not a flaw in the user base. –Seth Godin
I struggled to fight back tears this morning. Our Global Studies team challenged 170 seventh grade students to design a low-cost, innovative solution to a global problem. Today, Torrey and 10 classmates were selected to pitch their ideas to an audience of parents, administrators, faculty, students and community members. Although their 8-minute presentations were exemplary, their research and analysis thoughtfully executed, and their prototypes impressive, I was overwhelmed by their empathy. Each student designed a solution with a specific user in mind, someone whose circumstances are very different than hers and who has a fundamental human need that the students showed they understood, could feel… and wanted to solve. One young man shared with us his water filtration system, SPLASH, believing that little ideas can grow into big ones that solve problems “because everyone counts.” His tagline: One person can make a splash, but the world can make a wave.
Indeed, it is this kind of spirit that inspired us to create edu180atl- a place where individuals have dared to share, to be transparent, to struggle, to reinvent themselves. By so doing, the hallmark of a healthy community is evolving: empathy for one another. Isn’t that a fundamental condition for learning?
People may say education in Atlanta is broken. Institutionally, as a whole, maybe it is. But, I believe. I believe that this edu180atl community is designing a future for education in Atlanta built on empathy. As educators, we refuse to accept a “flaw in our user base.”
Laura Deisley (@deacs84) is co-founder of edu180atl, a mom, a re-imagined professional turned educator, a reader, a runner…and a learner.