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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 06.10.2022

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

The LEGO Idea Conference

It’s no surprise to anyone that when I go to a conference the 1:1 meetings, solo walks and hanging out informally in groups is what I’m there for. What’s not me is spending long hours with hundreds of people listening to expert panels and being put in groups that are artificial where the outcomes are already determined. Yes, this was a very diverse crowd and yes. There were youth speakers and great facilitators/moderators but the form and formality made it more about how you say what you say than how you really want to say what you say. Now that all that is out of the way, I met some great people from around the world doing some really interesting work. We are already following-up with one another from Colombia – Maria Adelaida Lopez, Denmark – Stien and Ulrich, Mexico – Dina Buchbinder , South Africa – James Donald , Ireland – Paul O’hara and Uganda – Timothy Opobo. Also, I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time like Mitch Resnick from the MIT Lab and Karla Rinaldi from Reggio. Two follow-ups with Mitch involve B-U. One is that B-U can plug into the already existing 100 Computer Clubhouses in the US. The other is how Scratch their storytelling platform can fit into Affinity group work also with B-U.

A big part of the LEGO conference was gearing up for a UN Summit on Education this Fall with an eye on early childhood and funding. Probably not so surprising but people forget that LEGO people are all ages and not just young children. When you walked around it was obvious that the exhibits all over were done by or with adults. Adults who are now Master Builders and never left their LEGO’s behind. This has turned play into work for them. You can call it serious play or whatever you like but when people talk about LEGO’s they mostly talk about their time outside of school, not inside. BPL teams are cooking up some work around using LEGO’s in B-U and with the IBPLC that will include working with Master LEGO Builders and their apprentices helping us develop the hands-on aspect of these initiatives. We are also getting in touch with the people developing the LEGO Blind Build for Project InSight.(Photo).

One irony of the whole conference is this swing to the digital world i.e. building/creating online. I really believe you can find yourself in play but WHERE do you find yourself is a follow-up question? Most of the conference people were using play as a vehicle or hook into formal learning of literacy and numeracy or having a belief that play is formal learning. I certainly can follow along but I was a standout for play also being useful in its uselessness.

Before the LEGO Conference I had meetings in NYC over the weekend. At a dinner on Saturday evening with Mark Mitton, David Gersten, Pam Roy and Pam’s daughter Allie in NYC we had a lively talk with lots of playfulness that got me ready to the LEGO conference. In fact, this talk was more about building things in the real world than anything at the conference. There were some gems tossed out about doing life and nature affirming work and what happens to people caught up in systems that take life and nature out of the calculus.

Food is thy medicine – Yes, Danes are vaccinated at 85% and there is little to no covid but in Denmark there is not much fat hanging around and COVID loves fat. The biggest difference at this conference that I have not seen at any conference including plant-based ones was the healthy percentage of delicious plant-based foods and meals. I would guess it was at least 80% of the meals. The food looked good and tasted even better. This is a conference standout that didn’t stand out. People barely noticed the absence of meat and cheese because the food was so good. I asked why they were serving so much plant-based food and no one gave me an answer. What I did notice was that everywhere I went in Denmark there were excellent healthy plant-based options that were part of their lifestyle.

Good Ambles

Bureau of Redundancy Department

This week, we received our second approval in the Hawaii DOE approval process for Namahana’s charter in Kauai. Everyone there is over the top. As Kapua texted, “Now we continue the work.”

We have a second site for B-U in Vermont. This time in White River Junction. Beth and Anthonette teamed up on getting this one.

Lots going on connecting HFF and B-U in the Port of LA area. Charlie, Anthonette and Andrea are all involved and developing sites.

Be well!

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