Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Service Learning At Seattle University

Teaching can be isolating. Although I have an office now and have to leave it to get to my classes, I once had a classroom that was easy to never leave. And a lot of times, it can feel as though the profession of education lives in its own bubble, irrelevant to the rest of the world. That's why I'm so excited to be taking advantage of what Punahou School offers its teachers, a few days each year to go somewhere else, meet new people, get inspired, and bring back new ideas. So right now, I'm in my hometown, Seattle, Washington with Greg, visiting several schools and places that deal in service, sustainability, and technology. As a way to process what we see, I'm using my blog, and Greg and I are going to podcast our reflections and interviews.

After a particularly brutal red-eye out of Honolulu (I think I broke a fever on the flight), Greg and I picked up our rental car at 5:30am after 3 or 4 hours of neck-wrenching, knee-cramping sleep on the flight and headed to the Pensione Nichols where I'm spending the next four nights. Greg couldn't check in at the Westin until 4pm or so, but Lindsey at the Pensione hooked him up with some breakfast, which I'm pretty sure was fresh from the Pike Place Market, and a bed. Those next 3 hours of sleep were invaluable.

We hopped the Metro and found our way up First Hill to Seattle University's Center for Service and Community Engagement. There we met with Kent Koth, a friend of Greg's after his visits to Punahou to help plan The Luke Center for Public Service. We learned a lot about what Kent's done at Seattle U. All of which is discussed in the accompanying podcast. Quickly though, Kent pointed us in several new directions with regards to how technology is being used both in service programs and sustainability initiatives and development. First, he mentioned a program that Kjell Rye has put together at Garfield High School called Global Technology Academy. It's amazingly organized, and without knowing much, I'd summarize it as a program that teaches students hardware, software, and programming, sends them to areas around the globe, and these same students teach the community there how to use/repair these computer that they then donate to the community. Kent talked about S.U.'s own computer recycling program with Nicaragua, and the way he's integrated undergraduate and graduate level web design and computer science programs in working with non-profit institutions. All very exciting ideas and programs.

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