When I found out that UNIA (the International University of Andalusia) was about to contribute venture capital in a public contest to fund educational innovation projects, I didn't have a clue what UNIA or venture capital were, nor what the call was about. Fortunately, these things get sorted out in information society, so I read the rules, I checked out what UNIA stands for and what venture capital meant. Almost simultaneously, I was trying to involve my sister, my partner and a friend in writing up a collective and hurried project proposal we decided to name #Protexta, and which we turned in at the eleventh hour.
As it turned out, ‘progressive’ education was nothing new. It wasn’t a hippy fantasy, not even a postmodern fad. It was as old as that other education we all know, that of handwriting booklets and textbooks, of school desks, of timetables and lessons, of homework, of discipline and teachers-judges-prisonwardens, that is, the ‘official version’ of education.
The fact that I should decide –at forty one years of age– to take a break from work in order to peep into the world of education is by no means a casual thing. I am a qualified engineer with a technical profession, a frustrated aeronaut and convinced atheist who refuses to accept esoteric explanations, incarnating rationalist discourse through lifelong daily observance, having never practiced –at least not consciously– meditation for a single minute… I believe this is no casual thing. But let's see –if only just to provide myself with an explanation– who and what has led me to think this has not happened out of mere chance.
With no intention of sounding paternalistic, having come to this point I feel I must warn you: walking along the street plugged into your ipod can pose a risk to your current life. It happened to me.
Can a foot turn into a telephone? And a spoon, into a sophisticated graphic design tool? Everybody knows children like to use common objects in what may seem to adults unsuspected, absurd and incomprehensible ways. In due time, they are –almost always– finally persuaded to follow reason and abandon their impossible dreams. It is necessary for them to adapt to the real world –we say–, and so we stuff them up with our own particular "reality show", and make them forget that other possible world they held inside.