I get to relax and I’m free to write and play poker online on my birthday. It is a gift from God and I am wearing a grateful grin as I watch the perfectly timed fluffy white mana pouring down from the heavens. Even my cats still don’t believe it is that bad, mewing to go outside and combat this white intruder and I join them, cleaning off my and my son’s cars before the morning 9 am $300 guaranteed $5 buy-in poker game. But the weather is no joke and I can see it’s snowing at the rate of 2-3 inches per hour from the comfort of my old black leather chair with my favorite white, brown, and orange calico purring comfortably on my lap.
I think about who I am. I am a social educator. From my first foray into education I have fostered a social, cooperative group learning environment. I started practicing tai chi around the same time I started my 27 year career as an educational practitioner and I believe I have only scratched the surface of both. But I have learned a thing or two.
The educational system in place now is an antiquated thing geared towards content delivery. In our modern age, content delivery is something you can do on your own time. With online resources like Khan Academy for teaching new skills and Lumosity for mental training a student can go online at 5 am and do this at home – homework. The classwork needs to be social cooperative group project and process-based learning.
In an idealized classroom a typical assignment might be a math task. Each group of four students is given a laptop, ruler, tape, scissor, paper, and the flattened out cardboard from a cereal box. Their task is to construct the container with the largest volume possible using only the cardboard. This kind of process-based, student driven, open-ended learning is what builds the strong problem solving skills needed in today’s ever changing job environment.
Throughout more than 27 years in public and private education I have been a practitioner of this kind of social education. In these long years of practice I have also been doing my homework. If you google “social dementia prevention” you get over three million hits. It turns out that there is a ton of research that shows this same type of social learning combines two things most beneficial to maintaining mental health – the social and educational.
So I started a company called Purplearn. I originally envisioned Purple Learn, but there was an old company called that so I smushed the two words together into Purplearn. The mission of my company is to use social education to help adults and older adults stave off dementia. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to rebuild the educational system from the ground up using social education there too, but I am old enough to know my limitations. I am no politician, I am an educational practitioner so I will do what I do best and teach.
I feel great that I am part of the solution. Western medicine has always relied on curing the disease rather than prevention so I bypassed the health care system and I am offering my 1 Hr Brain Fitness Challenge social education classes privately. I see myself as part of a new movement that embraces prevention and has people taking control of their own mental health. One day soon I believe everyone will be using social education to build their brains the same way most of us exercise our bodies.
I write a lot so I plan on using my blog to post often. Of course I welcome all feedback and encourage any and all readers to post here as well. I hope you will share with me and with your friends as that is what social education is all about. Or you are free to keep it to yourself.