THE RAMBLINGS OF
My colleague Steven Lamb and I have toiled over a change encounter that occurred in San Antonio, TX.
ISTE 2017: there was a desperate need for coffee. Steven and I ventured to a hotel coffee shop to rejuvenate for the next presentation. The woman in front of us overheard our conversation concerning education and said, “Are you teachers? I was a teacher!” She turned to the cashier and says, “Whatever they want, it’s on me. In fact, whomever is a teacher in the line, it’s on me. “ After grabbing a much needed latte and chai, an additionally grateful gentleman in the same line, stuck up a friendly conversation. As it turned out, this kind man was Raul Gutierrez, the CEO of Tinybop apps. As our conversation evolved, we discussed the importance of global mindsets and how Tinybop was designed with this important aspect as a driving force. This was an opportunity. An opportunity to pursue the passion of highlighting the Navajo Language. He said the only thing we needed to hear, “let’s make it happen.”
Thus began, the incredible planning to bring Navajo to the Tinybop Human Body App. To merge tradition with emerging technology. After a series of brainstorming sessions, it became evident that this should not be a unilateral endeavor. Rather it should be what it was always meant to be: Community. The Navajo language is not isolated to tone, intonation, and pronunciation. It’s about culture and a greater sense of family. We reached out to everyone we knew in the schools, in our local area, and family. Our local science center jumped at the chance to provide the venue while a local restaurant provided lunch. Community.
Navajo members began arriving. Senior citizens, high school students, preschoolers. Every age and background imaginable united over a common goal. Suddenly, a barrage of unbelievable moments emerged.
Adults: “Goodness, what part of the brain is the amygdala located?” “Let me look it up.” Elementary school boy: “The amygdala is located above the spinal cord. See?” As he passes the iPad with the Tinybop app activated, he points to the spinal cord and the amygdala located above it. Yes, a 9-year-old upstaged the adults around him. How? Every member of our community has a voice.
Then there are several adults who were on their phone. Out of the need of a distraction? Not at all. They were calling family members asking how to say certain terms. Then turning to us asking, “Will you have another event? We have other family members that want to come.”
Next, the kindergartener who was giggling endlessly, while he manipulated the iPad app with ease. We asked him, “Gus, if you take the skeletal system out of the body, what would happen to him?” “He’d be a blob”. The community was not only emerged in language and terminology, but the acquisition of valuable scientific knowledge.
Finally, a man, who was a stranger that morning, turns to you and says, “I’m proud of you. Thank you for dong this.” It forever alters your preconceived notions not only the capacity of technology, but of the power of community.