This is what it is all about.

This is an amazing story about connections. Not network connections, not political connections. About connections between people. And it’s also about the power of social consciousness. The story starts like this:

A friend got a water buffalo for Christmas from her dad. She won’t actually take delivery of the animal. The Web page says that it will be given to a family in Asia. If you read the fine print on the page, however, it turns out that there is no actual buffalo and no actual family and you won’t get a photo of your family and your buffalo.

Philip Greenspun wrote this post, which got picked up two days later by a concert violinist from the United States who is now living in China. He blogged about it and from there started a process that culminated twelve days later in the delivery of a water buffalo to a grateful, if not overwhelmed, family in China. But the story doesn’t end there, the violinist recorded and posted an incredibly touching video of the donation process which has enervated others to take action.

in just about 48 hours, we’ve had people contact us wanting to fly to China to give a gift of some sort themselves, we’ve had book offers, thousands of people have already viewed the movie, people want to donate more water buffalos . . .

Dec 26 – problem noted
Dec 28 – solution presented
Jan 7 – problem solved
Jan 16 – viral video explodes
Jan 19 – shift in public consciousness leads to action

Cost: $200 U.S. and a little sweat

Return on Investment: Immeasurable

Cut out the middleman, people to people – this is what social consciousness is all about and what social software helps to facilitate. This is the power of the web, yes, but more importantly it is about the power of PEOPLE, you and I, and the ability to connect ourselves to the world around us – around the hall, around the corner, around the country, around the globe.

Thanks to Will Richardson for bringing this to my attention and for Karl Fisch’s moving piece! I think his conclusion is quite eloquent as he speaks about our children, our learners:

“…this is life in the 21st century (ironically demonstrated by very non-21st century water buffalo cultivation). This is 12 days from problem to solution, and 24 days from problem to Internet-viral-movie-extended solution that may impact hundreds or thousands. Shouldn’t we be teaching kids about this stuff? Can’t we address the curriculum and standards in ways like this? Shouldn’t we be helping prepare them to be really good at using these tools in both their professional and personal lives to impact the world around them? Shouldn’t we be helping prepare our students to change the world?”



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