Sustainability, Free Schooling, and Play

July 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Below is a partial post taken from the blog AfriGadget (about technological advancements by and for Africans):

The BBC is running a story on a young inventor, 23-year old Daniel Sheridan, who has designed a teeter-totter (see-saw) that can be used to power school classrooms in Africa. His ultimate goal is to see a whole playground of energy-creating equipment.

“The current need for electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is staggering. Without power development is extremely difficult. The potential for this product is huge and the design could be of benefit to numerous communities in Africa and beyond.”

The idea came about after travels to East Africa, where he taught at a school and was inspired by the students. Daniel developed the see-saw power design as part of his final year at Coventry University. He has calculated that five to 10 minutes use on the see-saw could generate enough electricity to light a classroom for an evening.

Some Thoughts
What would be more interesting would be to see this idea built out with local supplies, as Daniel is going to be doing soon in Uganda. […]

This is definitely really cool, and I’m glad that it is going to go towards helping a lot of folks.

The inventor says that this technology is not going to be for profit (although AfriGadget argues it should be). But if it ends up not being a profit-driven device, I wonder if its design/blueprints will be made available for free – like an open source technology. It would be extremely cool if communities in the United States could start to build things like this on their own.

Even if not, I hope someone here might come up with a similar idea/invention. It might start convincing folks to put more money, effort, and attention into playgrounds, rec areas, and community centers for people of all ages – instead of wars fought for greed and bravado. (“Turn your tanks around, use the metal to build a playground.”) Maybe once recreation starts producing power and electricity, people will start to recognize the importance of good ol’ fashioned play – and especially how play out in the open can start to build relationships and community strength. I also think the free schooling movement would gain a lot of traction in communities that were more independently sustainable – rather than dependent on large corporations or government powers (and thus dependent on the schools that they finance and operate, not to mention the other resources that they keep communities dependent on).

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Entry filed under: DIY, Related To Free Schooling. Tags: , , , , , , .

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