Posted in the category: Blog
Posted by: Alistair Gibbs & Michelle Wood, Early Childhood Educators on 17 17 2018

Much has been said recently about a crazy online thread. Maybe you’ve heard about it? It has been the topic of presentations, even videos have been made.

Let’s set the scene…

It all began on a cold wet Saturday morning in October. We were attending a Children’s Rights Exhibition with the new edition of the Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood Education acting as a scene stealer to add weight to the ideas and exploration of children’s rights. A conversation was had over a display partition. It involved us discussing ideas of truth and reality in the 21st century as being inexplicably tied to its presence on social media.

Reflecting on this we noted that, as the Anti-Bias book hit the homes of early childhood educators everywhere, people were beginning to find their community online. Educators expressing their opinions and ideas and calling their comrades to join them. An unspoken membership of this community was emerging which involved posting a photo of yourself with the book.

Following the exhibition that was in equal parts empowering to see children’s rights in the spotlight and at the same time a little disheartening in relation to professional participation, we decided that what we needed was a movie and wine!

En route to our favourite alternative cinema we found that the book from the exhibition, one of our books, had been outed for us online. We had been brought into existence and were now unintentionally part of the online community. A wine or two in and settling into the movie we had the brilliant thought of posting the same book’s continued journey within the same thread!

All that was left to do was enjoy the movie and grape juice. What we didn’t expect was to plug back into the online world post-Jasper Jones to find that our innocent post had started to get some traction. Our crazy antics had struck a chord and unintentionally animated the book, giving it a range of personas, lives and dispositions. The book had begun to move!
As some cocktails were added to the mix, we continued to fan the flames with follow up pictures tracking the journey of the book with a dessert flavoured cocktail and a bridal party that just happened to stop into the bar.
Over the coming months the Anti-Bias book started getting up to all kinds of shenanigans: attending conferences; Mardi Gras; chilling on the beach; and flipping the world upside-down. It even made it as far as France!

What began as a weekend giggle had unintentionally called people together. Suddenly the book was being captured with politicians, feminist commentators, and representatives from the Australian Education Union…

Unexpectedly the early childhood activists’ handbook had grown legs whilst asking for just a little in return…

But with this comes conflict and contradictions. Do we put aside our opinion of online social media presence for the sake of promoting early childhood and Anti-Bias? No matter the initial thoughts, ideas, intentions (we just want to be real), a movement can be sparked. To us, that is the basis of anti-bias – the smallest of things can spark something huge within the field.

On a good day, one person’s interpretation can completely transform meaning and intent, harmless fun can become a meaningful meeting of minds, the start of a movement, whatever ideas fit each individual’s own mindset at that time. But on the dark side it can also silence, belittle, undermine… Other. One comment can make or break online engagement. It can bring people together or it can divide us. What will be your contribution? What is your movement?

We suggest Hot Apple Pie! (Previously mentioned dessert flavoured cocktail)

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