I presented a paper this weekend at a conference at Rice University: Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice. My paper was on the educational aspect of his movement, which has founded hundreds of schools and seven universities around the world.

It was an amazing conference. Participants included well-known scholars, a former Minister of Education from Turkey, and the Vatican Secretariat for Inter-religious Dialogue, and there were official representatives from the Republics of Georgia and Tataristan. As amazing as the participants, more so were the multitude of college student volunteers working behind the scenes to make things flow smoothly.

My paper looked at character education in the U.S. and moved to a consideration of how the the Gülen schools might adapt to be successful in a U.S. context. Basically students need to learn to reason morally (just as they would learn to reason in any particular subject), but that they also need to take action on their reasoning. Not really much that is new, but ideas that are not always acted on. I'll have more on that later. Right now I'm preparing for my next conference at Roberts, LA: Complexity Science and Educational Research. I'm going to consider the role of tagging in class interaction, group formation, and learning.