What's the Story

Origins and Motivation. At our great 2011 conference and reunion in New York, we discussed whether we can hope to influence the future by an account of the past. There is already some oral history of TEA & TEEA on this website and we contemplated a Story Corps project, but the talk also turned to whether and how to go about systematically creating a written account of what mattered most to us and could be of interest and influence.

Your story is crucial. We agreed that to get started everyone would write 300 words about their time as a teacher in East Africa and optionally also provide two photos. It's up to you what to write about: a single event, a thumbnail history, an inspiring fellow teacher, an essay, an evaluation, something else or a combination. If in doubt, go for human interest, drama, and/or a flash of understanding about human nature and foreign policy. And note that even today, the World Bank declares that education is central to development.

How will we do it? If you are allergic to new software, just email your story to henryhamburger@gmail.com . However, a wiki (pronounced "wicky") simplifies the organization of projects like this one. Now regarded as a word of English, "wiki" returns over a billion Google hits. As promised, Marsh has set one up for us. You can just click on its name -  Teaaki  - to see it (in a new tab or window). I suggest we pronounce it as in "(Kon) Tiki." There is help at Teaaki itself on how to use this kind of collaboration software. It is barely different from other computer activities you've done.

The advantage of a wiki is that you can put your material out there for others to see and comment on and you can change it in response to what they say or to your own new thoughts. It lets you see what others are writing, which may inspire you, and of course you may inspire them. The "email to Marsh" option means that she will create a page and put your story out there on our wiki.

With either the wiki or email, it's probably best to work on your story and get it into electronic form in your usual way, so you can start to do that right now. Then you can copy and paste it later - either onto your own wiki page or into an email message. However, please be aware that you can edit right on your wiki page, just like with Word or whatever editing/word-processing software you currently use.

Getting started on the wiki
Go to  Teaaki  and follow the directions there to get started.

For information & inspiration:

"A wiki is a revolutionary Web-based application that allows a group of people to set up pages, and allows people to edit it and contribute to it within the web browser. It's a fascinating technology that has become very popular both on the Internet and inside organizations. Since the editable articles are generally available to anyone through the World Wide Web, wikis are also becoming more important to business operations as well - having a wiki that runs internally behind the corporate firewall is a very productive environment for employees to share company information, such as specifications and corporate tutorials, for example." (from wikihow.com)

"StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR's Morning Edition and on our Listen pages." (from Story Corps)

"Education is central to development. It empowers people and strengthens nations. It is a powerful equalizer, opening doors to all to lift themselves out of poverty. It is critical to the world's attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Two of the eight MDGs pertain to education - namely, universal primary completion and gender parity in primary and secondary schooling. Moreover, education - especially girls' education - has a direct and proven impact on the goals related to child and reproductive health and environmental sustainability. Education also promotes economic growth, national productivity and innovation, and values of democracy and social cohesion." (from the World Bank)

"Individual connection through storytelling"
is the secret of the success of Kiva,
says Mary Solecki (at triplepundit.com)