Maybe it is me the wrong one!
But I see on my side many good professionals who are making great things with kids across the years, in every part of the world: video and media education, theatre, art, environmental education, psychology, music and mathematics and coding and so on, with great respect for people and very good results, together. We show this in workshops, meetings and festivals, we publish it on books and web sites. An excellent work, indeed!
Then, on the other side, I see the rest of the world where kids – let’s talk only of them here - even when not affected by wars and hunger, live a life more and more stressful, suffer attention deficit and disorders, and bullying, spend most of their time playing not with other kids but with screens, and generally grow without hope in the future and the idea they can count nothing in society, unless they will be the ruthless winners of an endless competition.
What it has to do all my educational and artistic movement with the main social “trend”? Why so little of our work appears to influence it?
The current idea is probably that we are not strong enough to compete with the huge powers which rule the world, made even more powerful by technological development but, in this respect, something very curious is actually happening. The centralized, automatic, robotic “future” to which most people today think we are heading, it seemed actually very similar to the “future” humans imagined in the Sixties of last century. In the Eighties and Nineties, after the spread of personal computers, people with digital literacy thought we were rather going to a participated, shared world...
There is not a “trend”, but different visions of the world which, fighting, collaborating or perhaps finding forms of mediation, will give a direction to our future, and all of us are part in this. And technology does not lead humans to a definite destination, but it depends if we learn how to manage as active citizens or only consume it, if we mind our real needs and choices or only to the suggestions of marketing. If we get aware of our role of producers of information (billions of posts every day on social networks are something!) and of the potential huge power we can have in our hands if we move together.
What happens on that “side” of workshops, meetings and festivals where kids are protagonist are – we have to study and discuss much more about it, of course, than in a small article here, I’m doing it, I expect many others do – they are maybe little strong examples of a future not only possible, but probably more realistic and sustainable than that still based on the old ideas of centralism and competition. As we are dealing also with social big troubles, nations and ethnic groups, migrations, peace and war, climate changing and environmental crisis of the planet, as well as the physical and mental health of women, men and kids in their daily life, it is not only a matter of opinions, an optional topic.
Let’s use festivals and meetings, social networks, blogs and possible public dedicated digital platform to build a solid theory about this. Let’s make kids’ production and messages clearly visible to the whole society. Let's take back technology and use it with the conscience that really it can allow us to change the world, with another vision of the future that is not that of the of The Jetsons cartoons.
I am writing better soon about this, but above all there are more who take this task in charge and we are going to have a public shared space soon.
We do not have to do anything different or more from before, but simply to connect one another. Connection, expansion, openness to society with the awareness that we can provide important answers is what we have to work about now. I’m expecting here (not only on Facebook, please!) many comments from who agree with this.