Redefining Compassion as a Role in Schools and Ed Tech

I write and publish this post as an early step in what I’m considering a more personal relationship and understanding of global compassion. I expect my views on this to change in both size and focus. It will be interesting to reflect back on this post as the topic is explored deeper personally and with others (like you). Thanks for reading.


11 days trekking in Nepal with a copy of Book of Joy provided me with much to think about, I dare not even think that I’ve scratched the surface of what its teachings have begun to teach me. I recommend it to everyone. It’s changed my understanding of Buddhism, quantum science, coaching, communicating, and thinking of the 7 billion other people on this planet. The concepts are enhancing my connection and love for everyone… and it continues to.

Digital Citizenship into Digital Compassion

Image credit: https://www.iste.org/explore/ArticleDetail?articleid=101

I’ve been reading about the ISTE standard around Digital Citizenship for years.

I’ve always enjoyed its place in ISTE.
I’ve always enjoyed its place as a standard of its own. I’ve been happy to see it changing over time as it becomes a set of tools within global citizenship as a whole.

I’ve never thought it was enough.
Never progressive enough. Never wide enough in scope. Always a little too… small steps into citizenship as a whole (the same reason I appreciate it, it’s been conflicting for me).

I’ve come to appreciate the thoughtfulness of the standard around how we encourage students to improve the quality of their humanity through technology, but I still felt it holding something back that I couldn’t put my finger on. Digital Citizenship almost implies an “I” focus:

  • How do I ensure my digital privacy is safe?
  • How do I be aware that what I do online is permanent in a way never seen before?
  • How do I identify and resist being bullied and being a bully in our new online spaces?

Digital Compassion answers these questions differently from a “we” focus:

  • How can we identify the privacy missteps of others and assist to correct and understand how to prevent these events for others going forward?
  • How can we understand that everyone makes mistakes online so we can reach out to those making a long-term mistake to correct their course (or uncover the deeper cause)?
  • How can we communicate with each other and understand that the roots of bullying are in the needs of our other humans not being met and create a dialog for repair instead of just defense?

I still think the long-term goal as technology becomes so instilled in our lives is to remove the “digital” from these definitions. Digital citizenship will become citizenship at large. Digital compassion will simply become compassion as a unified concept. Much needs to happen along the way, but the goal should be creating methods for our lives that has no real/digital distinction. This will happen with or without our guidance and mentorship along the way.

The difference may seem slight but can have a huge impact in how we talk about these concepts and our relationships with each other. One could make similar arguments about how we speak about empathy and teamwork… all these mindsets that, to me, fall under the greater umbrella of compassion for those who’s struggles are uncovered by feeling what others feel and then helping each other.

The Future of Education Technology is Compassion – Example: Smart Communities

I have a dream to teach a course on Smart Houses someday. The goal was for these classes to use a smart home as a way to think about education technology in a holistic manner that has real life implications around the concept of Making and Hacking – customize the world around you how you want it.

My view on this as evolved. No longer do I want my students to focus on goals such as “well… alert me when I’m low on milk in the fridge so I can re-order or have my fridge re-order for me” or “have my house know when I’m 10 minutes away so it can turn the heat and lights on”. We can do better. My goal is now to encourage my students to approach these real-world problems with compassion, and thoughtfulness for those around them. Instead of building a smart house with selfish needs, my goal is to educate students to instead ask, “alert me when my neighbor needs something so I can reach out to them to help and foster a stronger dialog and relationship with my local community”. This means more than “tell me when my neighbor’s fridge is low on milk”.

We can do better.

My dream is now to encourage my students to approach these real-world problems with compassion, and thoughtfulness for those around them. Instead of building a smart house with selfish needs, my goal is to educate students to instead ask, “alert me when my neighbor needs something so I can reach out to them to help and foster a stronger dialog and relationship with my local community”. This means more than “tell me when my neighbor’s fridge is low on milk”. If this sounds like a hyper opportunity of IB CAS – Creativity, Activity, Service… well, maybe it is.

Am I On the Mark?

It’s a vulnerable place to be posting on a subject when I feel like my eyes have just been re-opened to how we define and think about our connection to one another. It feels like the correct track that I’ve branched out to, yet with a long road ahead. It would be a contradiction and disservice to continue this journey of thinking solo. What are your thoughts on this subject? What examples have you seen of global compassion in the classroom? What resources have you read on the subject? What networks of like-minded educators would you recommend?

2 Replies to “Redefining Compassion as a Role in Schools and Ed Tech”

  1. Pingback: Collaboration in a Digital Design Class focused on Humanitarianism – Clint Carlson

  2. mathcookies

    Dear Clint,

    I’ve never heard of the term “Digital Compassion” before. I like the images is brings up for me. How can we (use technology to) be more compassionate human beings? How can we (use technology to) make the world a kinder place for all people? How can we (use technology to) reach out to others who are hurting or happy or need a friend or, or, or?

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can be a more compassionate teacher. You know those moments when a kid is frustrating you or you wonder why you aren’t reaching some student? I wonder what is behind that. What baggage is that kid bringing in to class? Do I contribute to that baggage or can I find some way to alleviate it? This isn’t just about digital compassion…it’s just compassion…and I want to find more ways to reach out and understand kids.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject,
    Valerie

    Reply

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