Post-lunch session: Geetha Narayanan

by | Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Geetha Narayanan, Director Mallya Aditi International School and Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, is someone I have wanted to meet for a long time. One of the pleasures of of this conference is getting an opportunity to hear her speak … and I was not disappointed.

Her talk is titled: “Take me across! Lead me across!” A search for sadhana in a conflicting world of long tails, plenitude and climate change. She follows the title with the following lines.

“ Take me across”
The carter in India sings while driving his cart.
The itinerant grocer deals out his good to his customer and sings
“Take me across”
What is the meaning of this cry?
All of us striving and toiling in the world of learning, technology, transformation and social change know well that we have not come to the end, we have not attained our object. Like a child dissatisfied with its dolls our heart cries, “Not this, not this”
But what is the other?
Where is the farther shore?

She began her talk by reading a story by Rabindranath Tagore, The Parrot’s Tale (translated from the Bengali by Palash Baran Pal).

She then took this story and extrapolated it to today’s world of educational technology and the the lack of emphasis on creativity. She asks, “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?” Turns out that she is the first person to quote Lyotard to me, and have it actually make sense.

She began her second part of her presentation by quoting one of my favorite Shel Selverstein’s poems The Zebra Question. Check it out here. [In my search I came across some examples of extensions of the poem developed by a group of school students, read them here.]

Geetha emphasizes slow, deep learning in sharp contrast to most technology related discourse today (dominated by speed). Learn more about slow schooling by going here, here.

Here is an artice by Geetha herself:
Narayanan, G. (2007). A Dangerous But Powerful Idea: Counter Acceleration and Speed with Slowness and Wholeness. [An alternate version, with multimedia links can be found here.]

Topics related to this post: Conference | Creativity | Design | India | Learning | Teaching | Technology

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