Communication + Unity = Community #46 #cong19

Synopsis:

Only by effective, candid communication and collaborative cooperation can we begin to solve local, national and international issues. This starts with conversations in our disappearing communities.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Begin with awareness of oneself
  2. Empathise with local communities
  3. Expand to national communities
  4. Demonstrate good practice with international communities

About Chris Reina:

Chris Reina has been involved in education for the last 17 years and has been a Maker for over 40 years. He has participated in many diverse aspects of the arts, education, industry and enterprise for over 35 years.

As one-third of MakerMeetIE he provides Maker-led, S.T.E.A.M.-based workshops to teachers, students and educators nationwide.

Contacting Chris Reina:

You can follow Chris on Twitter or contact him on email

By Chris Reina

Communication – noun

  1. The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
  2. The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.

Unity – noun

  1. The state of being united or joined as a whole.
  2. The state of forming a complete and harmonious whole, especially in an artistic context.

COMMUNICATION

In society – communication has become the easiest it ever has been on the planet. But what are the things we are saying? At the push of a button, we can speak to someone on the other side of the planet whom we’ve likely never met or may never meet. This power (and make no mistake – it is a power) has grown exponentially since the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.

Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone in 1876. Fast forward nearly 100 years – Motorola introduces the first mobile phone in 1973. Fast forward 34 years – Steve Jobs introduces the first iPhone in 2007. Fast forward 12 years to 2019 – today. What communication devices do have in your pocket? How many different ways can you send and receive information? SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, Messenger, FaceTime, Slack, Telegram, Insta, Facebook, Twitter and many more. Power in your pocket.

This rapid growth has tremendous advantages for expansion in business, industry and information systems. Moore’s Law will end around 2025 – manufacturing and industry in technology will begin to evolve and change. This change has already begun with a move towards core values and skills. Unfortunately, this also has the potential to make vague and obscure facts, information and truth more prevalent in society. Where do we turn to?

UNITY

As our communication skills broaden, so does our access to information – with the result that our world view expands, changes and grows. This allows us to recognise problems and issues on a larger world-wide scale. Climate change, war, corruption, education, consumerism, gender equality, poverty (and more) are all issues that affect every nation on Earth. With communication, we recognise and empathise with these issues almost as soon as they are highlighted.

Knowing more about the world than we ever thought possible makes us a unifying force – even if we don’t always agree on everything! Unity allows us to meet like-minded people and express our viewpoints – and ultimately feel good because we know the issues we care about… other people also empathise with. This makes us all feel less isolated and part of a greater community.

Now look around you. Who is sitting in the same room as you? Who is about to walk in? Who lives next door? What are their names? Could those people be part of a unifying strength? Let’s look back to the Greeks – “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle

Uniting as a group gives us strength – and in an era where consumerism is slowing – people are looking once again towards basic skills, dependability, honesty, commitment and of course… Community. Ultimately, communities can be large or small – but they all start with the ability to communicate.

Conclusion

Unity and Communication have the power (in your pocket) to change the world. However, these changes can only be applied and useful after we practice awareness, empathy, diversity and communication with those closest to us including ourselves. The Greek maxims are again useful here – “Know Thyself”.

We’re All Makers and Learners!… #54 #cong18

Synopsis:

In a world of technology and 24/7 connectivity we can’t escape, making and learning are counterpoints to screen time. Embrace your Maker spirit and share with others!

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Make something every day
  2. Learn something every day
  3. Incorporate these into your daily life
  4. Share these with others

About Chris Reina:

Chris Reina has been involved in education for the last 16 years, technology for the last 37 and making for the last 45 years. From showing 16mm film at 10 years old to his role on the startup committee of Tralee Educate Together NS to his current business – TeachTech Support and MakerMeetIE he has participated in many diverse aspects of education.

As Ireland’s only Apple Certified T3 Trainer he supports educational institutions nationwide by providing services such as: workshops and training to teachers and students; implementing and deploying technology; web and graphic design as well as servicing and repairs. Amongst his skills he lists fire, magic, circus skills and modesty.

His latest venture – one-third of MakerMeetIE – who are dedicated educators with a passion in Maker-led, S.T.E.A.M.-based education for teachers, students, parents and anyone with an interest in making and learning. He has recently returned from Rome where they have exhibited the Ginormous Geodesic Rome Dome – an 18 foot geodesic dome.

Contacting Chris Reina:

You can follow Chris on Twitter or send him an email.

By Chris Reina

It’s an odd feeling to suddenly realise you have been something for the last 45 years and only come to realise it in the last 24 months. Me? I’m a Maker.

My work life has developed from a Graphic Designer to fixing and repairing computers; teaching and training people how to use computers and consulting on best practice and usage of computers. My daily job requires me to be in constant contact with technology, screens, wires, cables and adaptors of every make, model and size. From phones and tablets to laptops and desktops; from projectors and printers to cameras and networks – I look at them all, fix them, advise on them and teach them.

Along with my ongoing and constant immersion in technology over the last 45 years, I have practiced other diverse artistic endeavours. These range from presenting a 16mm film reel from age 10; renovating a 150+ year old Mansion at age 14; photography, mask-making, stage and street theatre, seasonal decorating; craftwork; festivals, events as well as co-founder and production designer for The Enchanted Forest – a seasonal experience using 1000+ creatures, a miniature train set, caves, mountains and running streams on a dedicated floor of a house. The most recent project was the Ginormous Geodesic Dome which we exhibited in Rome to over 100,000 people.

Clearly this is very different work to computing and computers. I’ve struggled to try and decide who I was in the world over the last 45 years – mostly by defining myself by my job.

I’ve been following (and fighting) both sets of skills and have now decided it’s not WHO I am, but WHAT I am. I’m a Maker.

Defining what a Maker (with the capital M) is can be quite difficult. An excellent effort was made by Adam Savage formerly of Mythbusters who also embodies the Maker Mindset: “Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”

Wikipedia defines the Maker culture as “…a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones.” Both explanations are very suitable.

There has been a lot of talk over the last 18-24 months surrounding how technology is harmful and it should be put away, hidden and to just stop using it – especially in education. My belief is that this solution simply won’t work. Banning something is often a reactive and simplified answer with no depth or thought involved. I don’t believe it will help us… I have another idea.

Instead of banning technology – we integrate and augment it by embracing the Maker culture. Teach mathematics by making a Geodesic Dome; study history by looking at trees; explore languages by using green screen; learn science by blowing things up; embrace engineering by building bridges; make art by getting our hands dirty. Use high-level tools and go back to basics. Mix analog and digital; make mistakes regularly. Iterate and repeat.

Maker-led problem-solving, critical thinking and project-based learning teach skills, confidence, imagination and exploration in all aspects of work life from retail, financial, technical, medical and more straight through to personal, social and public life. These skills make students and learners more well-rounded, valuable members of society – which is good for everyone.

Learn and Make something today.