Resourceful & Ruthless Learning

Yesterday, I described how residents of San Diego County, who utilized the North County Times’ online discussion tools to call for and deliver needed news about conditions in their neighborhoods.  It was a different kind of journalism that emerged out of a traditional journalism.  It was resourceful and ruthless learning.

Another example occurs to me.  I’ve written several times about using a chat program during my workshops and speeches to facilitate backchannel discussions among participants and audiences.  This has worked remarkably well.  One exception, however, occurred when three (one in particular) people monopolized the conversation with junk talk.  Several members of the audience attempted to engage in conversations related to the presentation, but the effect of the abusers was a denial of access. 

Resourceful, Ruthess, and Risky
When I found this photo on Flickr, I considered changing the title of this blog to Resourceful, Ruthless, and Risky.

Several of the teachers were so eager to engage in conversation that they pulled up Skype and started commenting on the presentation there.  One even invited friends in from outside the venue, broadcast the audio of the presentation to them, and expanded the conversation even further.  It was resourceful and ruthless learning.

Years ago, when my children were both in middle school, our house was the gathering place for most of the kids in the neighborhood, mostly older than our kids.  My wife, Brenda, was especially open and hospitipal to the youngsters.  It mostly irritated me, but several of them genuinely impressed me.  Two boys, in particular.  One was always talking about rock bands.  He could discuss any band you might mention, give you the names of the members, the instruments they played, how they learned the instruments, the names of their parents, siblings, and girlfriends — and information I really didn’t want to know.

The other could talk about any movie you might be interested in, listing the cast and crew, and tell captivating anecdotes about the making of the movies.  Both were obviously resourceful and ruthless learners. 

In each of these instances, the learners engaged in responsive conversations, communicating from a sense of personal experience.  They worked in casual communities where they could ask questions, answer questions, and illustrate their accomplishments.  The invested themselves outside traditional boundaries of learning, where they could safely make mistakes and still earn attention.

Both of those resourceful and ruthless learners in my neighborhood were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder — one with ADHD.  Both dropped out of high school.

Image Citation:
Young, Rich. “Escuela Adventista Central America Cultural Event 020.” Young in Panama’s Photostream. 25 Sep 2006. 30 Oct 2007 <>.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.