When I get Alchemy's call, I'll be working with students at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing, Queens, where I will have been teaching for the past dozen years. I love this place, especially after the state gave us that waiver from testing, and we eliminated subject areas and age divisions between students. When the call comes in my students, ages 11 - 18, will be working on wall-sized multi-touch screens, the kind that Jeff Han
had developed a fifteen or so years before, and that CNN's John King had popularized in the 2008 campaign that brought Barack Obama to the presidency.
I think of the Obama years as I take Alchemy's call on a corner of the wall-sized screen where my students are building a game that controls devices in the community gardens that they maintain all over Queens and into Brooklyn. Obama's administration was when we finally understood that change wouldn't come from the top down, that we would have to work for it community-by-community, almost block-by-block.
"Of course," I answer, "and can I bring twenty or students with me as well?"
"As long a they remain invisible."
"No problem, they are experts at keeping a low profile. The people here in Queens have no idea that the crazy-quilt of community gardens here are maintained by our students."
"Sound like a plan. We could use their help, on rooftops, in abandoned lots, and behind one of those Han screens."
"I see the tickets! We'll ride over to LaGuardia in no time and jump on the jet you've reserved."
"Bring those bikes! You'll need them here."