Monday, September 17, 2007

banging my skull on an article...

So I am working on an article for the Journal..and it's been a tough one.

It's pretty odd how I ended up writing - I started writing because I had some contacts I wanted to have in the mag. Now, it's because I am the forward edge of the magazine and as a result, the one finding different things than the expected community articles.

There's a lot more out there about LEGO building than we know, and I want to find those things. I want to touch on as many aspects of the community as I can - there's something for everyone to see and if they want, join.

My article is about an educator who is creating robotics labs in Jamaica using LEGO MINDSTORMS. I have been online with him and talked to him on the phone, and he's a great person to talk to. His name is Marvin Hall.

This story is different from the usual article, but I feel strongly that the Journal show how our hobby can inspire people. What Marvin has done is use MINDSTORMS to teach technology to at-risk children in the Jamaican inner-city. Where there are guns and war, he is giving hope. And he doing this using LEGO sets.

The bad thing about writing these articles is thatI have to get a lot of information and then find the voice of my article and put everything off topic aside. And that's unfortunate. Talking with Marvin was a very secial moment for me, as he's got enthusiasm and passion in what he wants to do. He's a person that wants to give hope and pass what he has learned to the next generation. I was moved to tears on some of the stories he told me. He is a person of vision, and one that has become a ray of hope to his country.

In searching online for information on him, I found many articles and his blog, and there were some wonderful things that I got to read. One was an article in he has an interview, and he has some advice to students - and they are things that I try to keep in mend when I am writing and looking for stories:

From Marvin:

Whatever your field of study, make sure you love it. Act in spite of fear, take the risk annd immerse yourself in whatever you beleive in. you will not find your passion without exploration. most importantly, beleive in yourself at all costs. Some say that the most powerful force on earth is knowing how to be yourself. Five specific points for the students would be:

1. Keep on learning and never think you know enough
2. Develop your logic, critical thinking and problem-solving skills
3. Find a procedure to learn anything in the way that suits you best 
4. Maintain your enthusiasm from failure to failure, and learn from your mistakes
5. Collaborate with, and value the opinions, ideas and expressions of the community of learners around you.

It was very humbling to listen to him. But it also was inspiring. There's so much more to do, and so much to pass on.

Such as hope. We can make tomorrow better.

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