Born from the Rubble: The Origins of Service-Learning in New Zealand and an Expansion of the Diffusion of Innovation Curve
It is rare to have the ability to pinpoint the exact moments of an idea’s conception, birth, and transition from a marginal notion to an accepted practice. Even rarer is the opportunity to do this in the field of education where, like many fields, accepted and effective practices are often mash-ups of lessons learned along the way, theory, and research. The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand were deadly, devastating, and liberating in that they have cleaned the slate on a number of levels and have forced idea generation, dissemination, and ultimate acceptance and rejection into a compressed time frame. For the University of Canterbury, situated in Christchurch, the effects of the quakes were course cancellation, closure, and an unprecedented response by students to volunteer in helping residents of the city. Thus, this manuscript uses these events to trace the conception, birth, and acceptance of the idea of service-learning by identifying the three key elements of context, ideas, and people with such a process and aligning those within Everett Rogers’s diffusion of innovation curve (1967) and suggesting how those elements might be transferable to any idea’s progression.