#DER laptops, Climate Change, Bali and Blogs

It’s not been my approach simply to drop items from YouTube into this Blog, please forgive me for the practice this week. As the school year is coming to an end I’m really quite tired. It’s been a big year with roll-out of so much digital technology and the accompanying challenge of coming to terms with the immensely powerful tool that the Digital Education Revolution (DER) laptops have placed in the hands of students. You can follow this on Twitter at #DER.

Hardly a week has gone by when I haven’t seen light globes flashing in students’ minds. Often it was just realising how useful Photoshop is or discovering something as simple and elegant as Adobe Portfolio. Once I took some old grey scale maps of Australia that I’d prepared for a publication my former company did for DFAT, and showed students how to use magic wand and colour swatches in Photoshop to create publication standard coloured maps.  They were amazed at their results.  We then started to play with the ABS Social Atlas, experimenting ways of editing inner and outer Sydney maps together.

Last week I finished an introductory TAFE course in Adobe Captivate.  This will be immensely useful, in both staff and student development activities at school. I’ve also put the finishing touches to the organisation of a teacher OneNote course, another TAFE course, to run on 18 December.

Climate change has engaged much of my attention.  The resurgence of the skeptics and the extraordinary amount of air time they receive in the media continues to concern me. One of the reasons I posted the YouTube video from Lord Stern is it’s clarity and sanity. Unlike the other peculiar commentator Lord Monckton, here we receive a balanced scientifically based comment.  For balanced material on Climate Change that’s closer to home one can’t go past Prof Ian Lowe‘s comment. Ian offers a simple six point plan for addressing climate change. Ian’s book, A Big Fix, would make an ideal Christmas present.

In the background I’ve been having an email dialogue with some Christian friends.  One of them seems to have a fundamentally anti-science approach on question of global warming.  He also doesn’t consider the Christian sense of stewardship as a guide for action on climate change. In part he wrote this:

Jesus does not ask us to keep the water clean, nor the forests green. He insists on stewardship where it is in our grasp (individually, not corporately), but nowhere have I seen that we should be engaged with the god of this world in the distractions of saving the planet. Where there are parables regarding the management of wealth granted to our care, surely God is not recommending political action with the unbelieving generations, in order that men might puff themselves up and claim to have saved the world.

I care about extincton of plants and animals, but they are in God’s hand. Nowhere are we asked to protect the sparrows that God feeds, nor the lilies which he clothes in grandeur. Surely a dollar given to WWF is taken from the poor of this world, even if some convoluted argument can be given about the trickle down effect of saving the panda’s habitat having a benefit for the local Chinese, whose land is taken from them by their unbelieving government for pittance.

I would much rather that my children be burned in the holocaust Peter refers to, but be saved through grace and faith, than that they live to be 120 years old surrounded by a world which is no less fallen than the one I knew 40 years ago …. it is certainly more degraded in my few years, but there is no reason for me to fight it, God’s word is quite clear on where we are going as a race and as a creation of God ….

In response I wrote this:

Truly, Science is not going to save the world, all it can do is guide our stewardship since it is of the world and therefore, like us, fallen. Yet we still depend on Science everyday in a multitude of different ways. Even so we still don’t understand the world that God created, this means we don’t understand the significance of every minute element of that world and His purpose in creating it. We do know through the Lord Jesus Christ that we were created in God’s image, so we do know our capacity for love.  It’s on this theme that I’d like to close my contribution to this discussion and quote from the Christian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky:

“Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in things. And once you have perceived it you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly, more and more every day. And you will at last come to love the whole world with an abiding universal love. Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and untroubled joy. Do not therefore, trouble it, do not torture them, do not deprive them of their joy, do not go against God’s intent. ” Starets Zosima in the novel The Brothers Karamazov.

I’m off to Indonesia soon.  I haven’t been there since the bombing in 2002, so there are some ‘ghosts’ to bury.  My main concern won’t be my own demons, it will be to see just how the Indonesian people have responded to the Copenhagen Summit.  There’s an old Balinese doctrine known as Tri Hita Karana, it reminds us that our relationships are only healthy and in balance if we are in harmony with one another, with the environment and with God.

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