Have you met Yuvi yet?
[I'll get back to him in a second. Just a quick mind-rant as I build the transition bridge and that start bragging him up a bit after just discovering this delightful "15 year old wannabe geek from India".
Here comes the temporary rant. Or smile-laden nudge-nudge. Your call.]
Warm-up Questions, edu-blogger sportsfans:
- Still having doubts as the creative engine and real-time ability of young dig:nat's?
- Still convinced they need to fill out those pesky worksheets before they can 'graduate' and become a valuable and productive member of society?
- Still talking 'about them' from a distance, rather than learning from them in real-time both inside and outside the classroom?
- Still gnashing your teeth over whether kids should have access to blogging, Wikis, podcasting, MySpace, and all this other post-textbook technology in schools, while they light up the virtual airways with real communication, real production, real creativity, real collaboration 'out there' in the real world before and after school?
[now, back to Yuvi, where the attention belongs. And the infinitely dispersed population of Yuvi-a-likes out there that may or may not be in your classroom, but will absolutely impact the world whether you teach or empower them or not]
Basics: Yuvi is 15. Yuvi is in India. Yuvi has a blog. Yuvi is a self-described "wannabe geek".
Where it gets interesting: Yuvi had the gumption to take a new set of tech skills he was working on and does a real-time case study of someone very well known. Just 'cause he was curious. Managed to catch said well known person's attention and a nice blog post/link in response and a lot of traffic in a virtual snap. And while it may be a pretty niche analysis (how many unique page links did said well known person use on their blog, how many words/post did said well known person tend to use, etc.), it does suggest an instinct for capturing attention. For developing a technique. A story. A presence. A brand. And all without the diploma/degree or professional title or other trappings of what we are helping kids/students achieve in school. Very interesting.
So, while no decent geek is going to count me among their HTML-brotherhood, let alone their Python-parties, I do find his blog to be fascinating...and a perfectly apt example of what dig:nat's are doing 'outside of school' whether they fill out your worksheet or not.
My gut instinct: Yuvi continues to prove his instincts, hones his craft, blends tech-talk with savvy analysis. Yuvi continues to develop into a fledgling reporter for school paper. Yuvi gets a rapidly increased readership. Yuvi eventually has the option of being successful in India or going to Silicon Valley or wherever he wants, when he's old enough to establish that side of his life. Yuvi becomes a metaphor. Yuvi gets Scobleized at least one more time. Yuvi gets a job. Or the ability to turn a few job offers down. "Get Yuvified" becomes a great bumper sticker or blog badge or t-shirt. I'll buy one.
A few key moments while perusing Yuvi's universe that caught my attention (from various blog posts of his, etc):
- He knows how to turn a phrase. Even when being particularly code-geeky. Good for anyone. Esp. good for a 15 year old juggling 2 languages (at least).
- He ain't naive: Ex.1: "Now, let’s see how much time Scoble takes to find this one :D" Ex.2: "P.P.P.S: Scoble’s now busy with a political campaign. Let’s see how long it takes till he finds this post by an almost unknown Z-lister (if he ever does!)." [BTW, not long is the answer]
- He's got a sense of humor: "Now, since writing a single post about all that would be a crime on humanity, I’m going to split it up." Or ego. Both are good in this self-branding day and age. Esp. when results prove both to be valid.
- He publishes an interview he did with a program manager at Microsoft in India that shows great instincts...and begins to really dive into the Indian school system/culture. This is where it gets fun. And if you have read this far, this is where I'd go now. And maybe leave him a comment. Invite Yuvi into a conversation on your side of the edu-blogosphere. Even if he is 'just a kid' (he smiles). My favorite question that he asks: "If you were the Education Minister, what would you do?"
- While he uses the word "suck" which might be a bit adolescent, his mash-up of an article he read for describing one reason why kids aren't connecting with schools, even though they want to learn, to do, to collaborate, to build, to create, to discover may be worth reading.
- Oh, and I LOVE reading his "About Me" page. Kids out there with talent, but not quite sure how to impress the adult gate-keepers, this is a razor-sharp and creative use of your self-promotion and story-telling instincts. Esp. the 'future' piece where he throws his hopes out there. And I'm guessing that it's just a matter of time before he nails at least a few of the wishes on his list.
If you've made it this far, you're either silly curious to 'meet' Yuvi, are scratching your head as to why you've spent this much time reading this post on the final day of 2006 (or whenever this obscure footnote in Google's history takes place for you), or are one more 'kid' who is saying, what's the big deal and when are these adults gonna figure out that creative people like us exists and are going to continue creating in real time no matter what you make us do in school.
Oh, and if Yuvi gets the bug to take this technology-meets-school thing a step further, and would like to explore the world of school design -- both in India and around the world -- I'd love to pick his brain about an idea I have for him. And see whether he'd be game to add one more niche to his growing resume. Hint, hint. Nudge, Nudge.