It was 1912 when a certain Ernest Shackleton was looking for some men for a hazardous journey in the newspaper advertisement below. The weird guy that posted this ad made a quite unattractive offer for a seemingly not funny expedition. Yet, Shackleton managed to create tremendous interest and recruited a collection of quite eccentric gentlemen in order to sail to Antarctica and venture to new frontiers.
While the story of the “Endurance Expedition” has been recapitulated in books, articles and TV dramas, I suspect there are few people that have not heard of it. In short the journey did not go as planned and turned into a disaster. Shackleton’s ship “Endurance” was trapped in drift-ice, broke under the ice-pressure and finally sank – turning the journey into a fight for life or death of all the crew men which lasted 635 days.
No question Shackleton had screwed up – big time!
While Shackleton’s inability to reach the initial objective of his expedition would have made him a loser, his extreme determination to rescue his men made him a hero.
Then, and now, his actions stand for his time – a time of heroism, a time of selfless characters, a time of achievement and a time of greatness…
Source: Over the Peak
Today, it is our time…
The time has come to organise EdCampSantiago 2013. From experience, we know that it does not require anything more but a small group of dedicated individuals who somehow do not believe what we are told by the naysayers, by the skeptics, by the media, by those who we come into contact with.
In spite of what everyone tells us, namely that we are small and insignificant, incapable of bringing about any real change, an EdCamp Santiago organiser has a deep and abiding conviction that changing the status quo not only should be done, not only can be done, but must be done.
Overcoming apathy and inertia is not everyone’s cup of tea, however.
We all have powerful reasons to invest our time, energy, and efforts in other pursuits. You and I know that, and we accept the reality of our lives, and then, like Shackleton in his day and time, make choices which define us throughout eternity.
Some of us choose to live for today, because today is a sufficiently challenging proposition. Today is a tremendous hurdle, without any doubt. Yet there is another choice we can make.
We can choose to look past today, past tomorrow, past next week, past next month, past next year, and see what we can see. What is our destiny, what is our fate?
In other words, we ask ourselves the question: “What will our future be like, if we do nothing today?”
Most educators agree (I hope), that we have moved into a time and a place, a moment in world history, when doing nothing to change the status quo is inadmissible, unacceptable and unconscionable…
History will judge us harshly if we do not join together to ensure that every child, in every country, receives an education that empowers them to be productive in the world of tomorrow, capable of meeting the as yet unnamed and unidentified challenges of the future that none of us are capable of imagining in all its dimensions…
Therefore, we are required to act today.
Now is the time to do something about the quality of education that we provide the children of today. We both know that the children are the future of the planet.
The conclusion we reach together is that for an educator, attending and actively participating in an EdCamp is a sufficiently adequate response. We are doing what lies within our power.
So, what is an EdCamp? That’s a good question. In a few words, an edcamp is:
Participant-driven, professional development that is collaborative rather than competitive, promotes sharing of best practices: grass-roots innovation, teacher to teacher, educator to educator, student to student, parent to parent, one to another, one to each other, inclusive rather than exclusive, and with everyone joined in a common endeavour.
All of this is enhanced through the use of technology, leveraged for maximum engagement across time, distance and space (but not the most critical element)…
There are those who say that education will only get better if teachers get better. The way to do that, across the globe, is for those of us whose minds, hearts, and souls are thusly engaged, is to share, and to care…
The rest will take care of itself if we do this one thing: share & care…
There will be no obstacle that is insurmountable, nothing that is capable of resisting the force of millions, no billions of highly motivated people, who have all determined that in the end, changing the status quo is within our will to do so, one by one and two by two, relentlessly, day in and day out.
That, dear friends and colleagues, is the grass-roots power of EdCamps all over the world…
Be the change you want to see in education, and it will be so, sooner rather than later…
EdCamp Santiago needs volunteers. Your energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, skills, abilities and expertise is needed. The reward you get is the deep satisfaction of bringing about the kind of change to the status quo that no one thinks is possible.
As an organiser, you get the last say on whether or not we are weak and powerless, or strong and powerful beyond measure. You are the ones who make great things happen. Help us organise EdCamp Santiago…Contact us, and off we go, back to the future…
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.Thomas was recently selected for membership in the Comunidad de Innovación Escolar of the Foundation Telefónica and Foundation Educación 2020. It is a network that brings together education professionals concerned with developing and strengthening the capacities of their educational communities through creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Thomas is also a past member (2011-2012) of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty eight (48) books overall.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.