Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beans and Rice Week

I don't think it comes as a surprise to many of you that we live in abundance here in America.  Sure, our economy isn't exactly fun right now, and many of us have to pinch pennies to make our pay checks last.  But, our current conditions far outweigh the large majority of the world's population.

The leadership at my church decided to make a statement using beans and rice. As a church community, we are foregoing our normal diets for one week and living off of beans and rice instead.  There are two goals.  One, we will have a better idea what life is like for about one billion people who only eat beans and rice as their main staples.  Two, we are taking the money saved on groceries and restaurants and putting it to good use.  All the money collected will be divided among three causes to help improve the lives of others. You can read more about the project here.

I know what you're thinking.  What does this have to do with educational technology?  Why are you blogging about it here?

I am stunned not by how many people are taking up the challenge, but by how social media is keeping the excitement going.  Seriously, eating beans and rice is not that exciting, but we are doing this as a community and are keeping each other enthusiastic about the cause.  We are using Facebook as a place to share pictures, encouragement, video, and recipes. (Yes, recipes. Our church leadership got some of the top chefs in Cincinnati to post recipes using beans and rice.  Makes it a bit more palatable for the tummy.)  You can also share pictures on Instagram and funny stories on Twitter (#beansandriceweek for both).  Now, it's not just my family and our small group doing this together, but we can tap into a larger community (including our pastors and people we don't know) to encourage each other on the journey.

So, while this isn't educational technology, it's an example of using technology for the greater good, the greater community, and spreading some beans and rice love.  And I'm excited to see the fire spreading.

What are some great uses of social media you've seen lately?

We wrapped up Beans and Rice Week on Easter morning, reviewing the benefits of the fast, taking up the offering, and showing this really sweet video (see below).  Once again, social media showed me that I was a part of something bigger than what's going on in my own home. This should make us ponder how we can leverage social media to created a bigger sense of community in our schools.

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