I just checked out Shell's Blog where she talks about the book by John Wood, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, and thought I'd start a discussion in the Discussion groups in case someone was more comfortable with this format over blogs.
I've read the book too and it reminded me so much of another good book I read recently--Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. The two men have similar goals in similar parts of the world, but they certainly fell into their passion from very different paths in life. I have to admit I'm more of a Greg person (laid-back) than a John person (driven), so I identified more with Greg's story (and now that there's a new version of the book just for kids I can encourage my teens to read it too!).
However, John really seems to have his act together and to have the energy to make things happen. I think most of us who are into educational technology are very interested in making a change in education in general--making education something that enhances the life of every student. In our culture, the effective use of apt technology (with the guidance of a good teacher of course!) increases a student's chance to learn in meaningful ways (notice I use a lot of adjectives here--I really don't believe that if you give a kid technology that they're going to learn what they need to learn just because they have it in hand). In Virginia, a lot of our ITRTs (Instructional Technology Resource Teachers--folks who are teachers but whose job is to work with teachers to help them integrate technology) are like John. They always amaze me by the amount of energy and resourcefulness they bring to their job.
I totally agree with both Greg and John that the way to change the world is to enable all children to get a good education. They are laying the foundation by provding school houses and books and scholarships. I think we can expect companies like Intel and others will help build a technology infrastructure in the developing world. Within the next decade or so, I see it as a challenge to us, the older educational technologists, as we retire (well, we hope we get to retire!) to jump in and provide help to move these kids and their teachers to the next level. Kind of like the Peace Corps (should we call it the P.C. Corps? )
Does anyone else have any thoughts on the two books and their missions?