This TED talk by Chris Anderson titled “How Web Video Powers Global Innovation” has profound implications for catechesis in our social media influenced society. We’re on the verge of a revolution in learning that catechists and catechetical leaders need to embrace. Anderson speaks about something called “Crowd Accelerated Innovation.” This takes place when a group, or crowd, of people with a common interest and a desire for improvement share their best ideas and spur each other to innovation and change.
This has always happened, pre-internet, on the local level but now web video is driving this innovation at a new velocity. Anderson uses the example of dancers on a street corner. When they get together, they push each other to try new things. Fueled by each other’s talent and the desire to push the limits of what is possible, they innovate and achieve higher levels of ability. Now, with the web, this is possible all around the world. Dancers are no longer limited to learning techniques from the best in their local area. Through web video, the best, most innovative techniques can be broadcast globally. Someone in Japan can see and imitate the best dancers in New York. The potential exposure to new ideas is limited only to how much people are willing to share what they know. The more transparency and sharing, the greater the possibility for innovation.
A year ago, I went to a diocesan retreat for catechetical leaders. As we talked and shared stories, I was blown away by the fantastic things they were doing. Everyone learned so much just by being with other. We all came away thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could share these ideas all the time? We could solve more problems and get more done.
This was “Crowd Accelerated Innovation” on a local level and it was fabulous! However, we all lived hours apart and getting together regularly was an impossibility. But what if we could interact and share our best techniques, new ideas, awesome innovations and solutions to difficult problems all the time? And, what if people all over the world were sharing? Web video is becoming easier and easier to implement and use. All these awesome catechists doing amazing things could drive innovation in catechesis to new heights.
There’s a revolution in learning on it’s way and it won’t just benefit street dancers. We can take advantage of this in the Church and in the catechetical field. All we need is the courage to share our talents, ideas and innovations with our fellow catechists around the world. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It just has to be out there. Nick Senger recently posted a list of Catholic educator’s blogs and there’s less than forty. I know there are more awesome catechists out there and more ideas to share! And, I’m sure that more and more will be coming online.
What can we do today to fuel this revolution, learn from our global network of religious educators and drive the innovation? The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations and our willingness to share.