As a consequence of my past few days in Colombia and Denmark, I’ve seen again that there are some benefits to having a strong culture. In Colombia, the countryside was quite clean. There’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and they self-describe as being resourceful. I can believe it! They find a way to get things done. They also self-describe as tough negotiators. I see some real benefits to their ‘can do’ attitude in turning around some of the perceptions they’re quite aware of.
In Denmark, on the other hand, I see a different factor that I very much admire. They seem committed to ‘doing it right’. By and large not only is the place clean, but it’s efficient. There seems to be very little waste, people follow the traffic rules, everything is just so. And they’re not too rushed. They want to enjoy life. I think there’s a strong concern to make sure that everyone’s getting a fair opportunity to be taken care of, and they do what so many countries do pretty well: providing national health care. Of course, their government is pushing more privatization, as the US is going the other way. Sorry, health care is my personal hot button and major impediment to financial peace of mind (400% increase in 4.5 years!). I’ve lived in Australia where they had national health care and it worked. It may not be perfect, but everyone was covered to some extent, unlike the situation people can be in in the US.
Let me add that it was delightful to spend time with Lisa Gjedde and Helle Meldgaard again; we had a great conversation about games and mobile learning over dinner with their partner-in-crime Robin after I talked about those two things in a seminar. They’re doing some very interesting stuff with it. I found some colleagues from the Narrative in Interactive Learning Environment conference (NILE), including Lisa, Paul Brna, and Judy Robertson are writing a book on narrative in learning, and writing it as a narrative. I look forward to seeing it.
I also found out about an initiative going beyond what I knew the iPod can do, having branching available through hot links on notes. I’ll point you to David Seume’s Video iPod project and you can look up his blog as well. Not all the bugs are out, but it opens up some really interesting new opportunities.
I really enjoy the way the culture in academia is so oriented towards sharing in many ways. So, having brought the conversation full circle, I’ll stop here!