Yes, I am one of thousands perhaps millions of people who have taken the ALS ice-bucket challenge. ALS is a devastating disease that that attacks people in the prime of their lives, most notably Lou Gehrig. The ALS association has been around for years advocating for research and raising funds. Now thanks to the phenomenon that is “ALS ICEBUCKET Challenge”. 8- weeks of viral success has finally accomplished, what years of advocacy could not. Record fund raising and new found awareness for the disease.
What does this mean for education and educators?
First: To get a message across it has to be repeated in a crazy and challenging way. ALS has been around for a long time, It wasn’t talked about in the main stream until recently. Many of the bucket dumpers had little knowledge about ALS until this challenge was covered in the mass media. This David Burgess got it right in Teach Like a Pirate: Hooks draw people in and make them want to learn.
Second: It has to be cool for people to want to do it. The challenge did not really take off till the “COOL” people were doing it. If I was the only one dumping frozen water on may head few would follow, most would laugh and say I was nuts. When celebrities help the challenge take off. When can we get their help in making learning cool? Because it really is cool to know stuff.
Third: Learners make learning their own. Very few challenge videos look the same. Everyone has a different rendition. Some are awesome and some fail. Many in between. Key is learning is personal we want to OWN it. Teachers need to allow students to learn and express learning in their own way.
I am happy ALS is getting its due time in the spotlight. It is awesome that it has raised over 30 million dollars to date, sadly that is less than the coast of one F-16 for our military. Hopefully in the future there will be a viral campaign the makes education as cool as dumping ice water on our heads.
Please give to ALS research, help pick up trash in your neighborhood, make our world a better place to live. This is the message to all of us from the Ice bucket challenge.