Ed Tech Emergent Turns Two Years Old!

I finally have a moment to celebrate – this blog turned two years old a couple of days ago. Yeah! Hooray! Alleluia!

It’s hard to believe how quickly these years have flown by. And it’s fun to mark the changes over the past couple of years by looking back at some of the posts from a year or more ago:

We were eagerly awaiting the premier of “The Force Awakens” .

Pope Francis visited the U.S.

Stephen Colbert, one of America’s most visible Catholics, began his show.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy commenced 

Wealth inequality was a problem (and it still is)

Refugees were fleeing and dying (and they still are)

And we thought Donald Trump was just someone we could easily parody. 

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Stuff You Need to Know: A Very Simple Item Syrian Refugees REALLY Need

You may recall that a previous “Stuff You Should Know” featured a very comprehensive, brief video about the refugee crisis.

I was scanning through the ever-growing list of news summary emails from the Washington Post, when I came across the ultimate “clickbait” headline – “The Incredibly Simple Household Item Syrian Refugees Really Need – And the Campaign to Get It to Them.”

Turns out that item is Vaseline! As the author of the article notes:

“Samer Jaber and Grace Bandow, both doctors, returned from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where tens of thousands of displaced Syrians have settled after escaping merciless violence in their war-torn country, and wrote a joint essay about their experience. In the article, published by The Washington Post in June 2014, they revealed that countless refugees they treated needed relief from severe skin problems that could be remedied by simply applying Vaseline…

“Prior to going on my first mission, I didn’t expect that skin health would have such an impact on the daily lives of the refugees,” Jaber said. “When you think of someone living as a refugee, you think they need food, water, and shelter. You see explosions and war on the news and you think they need surgeons and trauma care. That is certainly all true, but the harshness of the environment and the difficult living conditions exacerbate minor skin conditions, oftentimes affecting the refugees’ abilities to work, go to school or take care of their families.”

Although I didn’t think about this need before reading this article, it makes perfect sense to me. I know how dry, cracked and painful my hands get this time of year if I don’t put lotion on my hands at least once daily. And unlike a displaced person in a refugee camp, I have the means at hand to remedy simple, yet painful skin conditions.

Huge kudos to Vaseline for not only spearheading a donation campaign through sales of their product, but also for launching the great website illustrated above.

So, we have food drives, sock drives, how about a Vaseline (or general hand lotion) drive too!

Stuff You Should Know: The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained in Just 6 Minutes

I’m starting a new feature which I’ve been thinking about launching for a while. The name comes from an excellent little book by the highly esteemed John L. Allen Jr. – “The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know.”  Typically any book with the subtitle “everyone needs to know” should be taken with a measure of suspicion – who is this author and why does he think I need to know this? Of course John L. Allen Jr. is an expert on today’s Catholic Church and thus I’ll trust his judgement.

So here I am posting about what I think you should know. Pretty presumptuous, right? Perhaps.

But hear me out. I’m a fellow teacher to readers, many of whom I imagine are teachers, connected to the world of education and/or people of faith. I peruse the web daily to learn and discover information, links, and resources which inform both my teaching and my life of faith. So, what I’m sharing in this category are only the items which I think are most valuable for my personal and professional life. Perhaps you’ll find them valuable too.

We’ve been praying daily in my classes for relief for the continually escalating refugee crisis in Europe. Pope Francis asked us to pray for this as one of his monthly requests (last June) and he’s used particularly strong words to exhort people of faith to hospitably welcome refugees.

Before class prayer yesterday, I showed my students this graph, which I think speaks for itself:

Refugees - 1

Tomorrow, as a companion, I’m going to show the photo at the top of this post.

But today, I showed this excellent video. It covers much ground in about 6 minutes and is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand this crisis. I particularly like how it notes and summarily dispels some key objections that many in Europe and elsewhere are using to block the entrance of refugees. Really, please take 6 minutes and watch this now. It’s that important…

 

International Day of Peace – September 21st

Monday, September 21st, is the United Nations International Day of Peace.  Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon (who was a guest on Stephen Colbert’s great new show the other night) declares:

“I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.”

Some Catholic resources to use to work and pray for peace:

USCCB: Justice, Peace and Human Development

A Primer on Peace

The True Meaning of Peace

Catholic Peace Fellowship

The Promotion of Peace

And here’s a prayer to offer for the people of brutally war-torn Syria:

Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.

O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.