Learning from a kid’s school lunch blog

| Tags: Creativity

I quote from the Amazon review of the forthcoming book on Martha Payne:

“Martha Payne is nine years old. She set up a simple blog, “Neverseconds“,  where she reviewed her school lunches and talked about healthy eating for children. She hoped to raise a few hundred pounds for her favorite charity, Mary s Meals. After 7 million blog hits, one council led banning, being the number 1 story on every news site worldwide and having raised over £115,000 for Mary s Meals, Martha is one of the biggest news stories of the year. Endorsed by Jamie Oliver and Nick Nairn, her story is extraordinary – the little girl who changed lives in Africa, stood up to the government and won the hearts of people all over the world.”

It is a great story but also one that gives you a sense of the massive changes occurring in the lives of kids. Martha is just one very influential story, we all know that there is a crisis of nutrition in public schools (US) and we can all relate to Martha’s simple creative act: a photograph, a well written paragraph and some good design. We are only a few years away from a world where pretty much every kid, even in economically less well off places, will have access to these tools. Next Generation citizens are already as fluent in multi media as schools wish they were in reading, writing and arithmetic. They are already learning as much if not more outside of their school than inside according to educational researcher Mark Prensky, who coined the term Digital Natives. The implications go beyond the collapse of schooling as it is currently practiced.

Martha was nine years old when she initiated her blog. It brought her rapidly into a world we consider adult: political, social and institutional drama swirls around her. Imagine millions of Marthas, fully engaged in the world, knowing and learning clearly and effectively. Would you still call them kids? With all the prejudice of that word? No. Things are beginning to shift dramatically. Our notions of adult and child have changed a lot over the last hundred years, maybe we are due for another big change as young people become effective members of our societies earlier than they have since agrarian times.