Serious artists like to use serious tools

Serious artists like to use serious tools. But, the things that actually make your work any good are FREE.

Passion, talent, and good ideas. (combined with a willingness to go through lots of bad ideas too) When I was in school, my chef instructor, who boasted of his expensive education rarely taught a lesson without reading from a textbook. You can’t buy your way to artistic genius. Anyone can look like a pro.  Actually producing decent art, on the other hand, is harder to fake.

In real life, I work for the non-profit agency and we are stressed with implementing new learning method- it’s about online learning for people who left school before graduation. We cooperate with a well-known blog for promoting e-learning. So recently we discovered that despite the fact that our target group (people without education) struggle with money, 65% of people who access information about online classes on the blog: do that using smartphones.

For us, it means that we need to consider adjusting communication tools but I wonder if it is a case that people feel more confident if they use modern tools. Since then we changed the way we communicate and we asked the blog to rewrite the content. But I keep wondering how it works. Let me know your thoughts.

I was a student during the days when campaigning against apartheid was at its height. It’s a period of history I lived through and so it feels particularly important to me.  Being able to actually visit Robben Island was, therefore, an opportunity not to be missed during my trip to Cape Town.  I can’t even begin to describe to you the emotions that such a trip can bring – just seeing the cells where the prisoners were kept, hearing the stories from our guide, seeing the place where Nelson Mandela originally hid his now world-famous manuscript and the individual cell where he was kept.

Through the personal stories and the history of the place,  shines the sheer determination of individuals, the collective strength of those with shared goals, the power of change that overcomes adversity. How could they not be driven to despair or madness when taking rocks from one side of a quarry to the other, only to be told to return them the next day? How could a philosophy of “Each one, teach one” be kept alive when the only place to do this was by writing on the dirt floor of a cave called the university?  And the only books were smuggled in and read by a dim light at night in a toilet? The shared commitment to each other and to making life better for everyone was a driving force.

That commitment to making life better for everyone through education was a key theme running throughout #msief – the learning was at the forefront of what everyone was talking about in keynotes and projects, as reported by @innovativeteach here. Learning that overcomes obstacles, as exemplified by the educators choice from last year Moliehe Sekese. The tech might support the learning, but the learning was the key message.  Larry Rosenstock from High Tech High might have been expected to give a keynote presentation that focused on the Tech. He didn’t.

He talked about the fairness of opportunity for all, about not letting socio-economic, gender, ethnic issues – even standardized test scores – determine our destiny. He talked about valuing each child, using home visits to support them, publishing and presenting their work, setting high expectations for the published work, celebrating at presentations. In his schools, there is a clear commitment from the teachers who come in an hour before the students to project-based cross-curricular learning opportunities, to the team sport of teaching.   The tech was there – but was a tool to enable. And if you want to find out more about the processes that equip 100% of students to get into college, 86% of students graduating from college and such a high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged groups achieving success, Jeff Robin puts it so well (and I love the little commentary that goes on throughout the film!).

Take a look, too, at some of the amazing books produced by students at, such as Black Holes. High Tech High? Maybe it should be “Set your Sights High”.

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