Happy smile

It’s hard to focus on much else today after the horrific shooting that took place in Denver, Colorado last night. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.

I wanted to post today on something positive and upbeat, something that reminds us of how good the world can be. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about Kickstarter, the online media platform that has generated millions of dollars in funds for creative projects worldwide. Anyone can start their own Kickstarter campaign– all you need is an account and a great idea.

Kickstarter is the type of media platform I can really get behind because it embodies such a positive, creative spirit. One of my favorite projects is Trade School, which takes a unique approach to classroom learning. The project encourages teachers to establish classes based on bartering. Instead of paying to take a class, students will offer an item in exchange. For example, a teacher offering a class on how to make caviar might ask each student to donate an ingredient as a form of barter.

What I love most about Trade School is that it’s based on the belief that everyone has something to offer in the classroom. The subject matter of Trade School classes is not your average fare. The courses are quirky and creative, like the “Chinatown Collaborative Food Tour,” and “How to Make Butter.”

On their official website, you can see a more detailed description of how Trade School works, and how it is revolutionizing the way people learn.

You may also be familiar with Kickstarter thanks to the big impact it’s been making lately in the gaming world. OUYA, a new free-to-play video game console, currently has over 5 million dollars of pledged support and that figure is still steadily rising. OUYA will retail for only $99 and promises to embrace the indie developer market like no other console before.

Feminist Frequency is also making waves on Kickstarter with the Tropes vs Women in Video Games project. Pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian started the campaign to raise funds for a series of videos about women in video games. She has received massive support for the project (almost $160,000 in funding!), but has also sadly been the target of harassment by online users.

What I want to draw attention to here isn’t the extent of this criticism, but the way in which the online community has rallied around Ms. Sarkeesian and come to her defense. Regardless of your stance on women in gaming, it’s heartening to see so many people show their support for the project, particularly given the harassment it has received. Without stories like these, it’s easy to forget that the internet can actually be a really great place.

On a day like today, I’m celebrating the men and women who can push through all of the hatred and negativity in the world and stand up for what they truly believe in.

Happy Friday everyone!