“Learning is not done to you” - a great quote from Seth Godin’s free book from ”Stop Stealing Dreams”.
Take a second and think about that. ”Learning is not done to you”…the learner needs to be actively involved in the pursuit of knowledge.
There’s a major problem in the education system of the US today. Students are not interested in what we are offering. It’s just a system where the winners ultimately end up with the good jobs.
To get back on top of the world and produce the next generation of innovation, we need to address this issue.
We Are Here —> Industrial Factory Schooling
Today the US, and pretty much all of the world have fashioned their school systems in such a way that their ideal purpose is to serve the industrial factory.
Students are still taught to memorize in bulk and respond with facts on demand.
The facts are meaningless because the student is not passionate about the subject and could easily look the fact up. In this new world, where information is easily accessible over the internet and even the most difficult of concepts and coursework are being made available by the likes of Khan Academy, the 24 hour cram and forget student examination cycle will quickly becoming irrelevant.
Directions to the Future —> Empowered Passionate Schooling
The great news is that teachers out there are already paving the way. Since watching a lecture can now be the homework, teachers can use classroom time for group learning, hands-on instruction, or even completely different lesson plans altogether.
For example, in Oregon, a projects based curriculum full of gardening, raising tilapia and beekeeping has transformed Al Kennedy Alternative High School from a place struggling to engage students ( 23% attendance ) to one with a nearly 200 student long waiting list .
Technology is the great enabler here. Because information is now freely available like never before, more time is being used to let students work on things that would never before have been included in a common education.
Students are passionate when they’re working towards their dreams
To make an even greater impact, school systems could take up a strategy similar to Google’s 20% rule, and give students a structured format to spend a large amount of their time working towards a dream that interests them. Some schools out there are already trying this with great results!
Depending on interest, let students choose projects like “Change your oil”, “How to buy a car”, “Dealing with debt” and the more advanced dreamers will impress us with their ambition. Allowing students to work on real world topics and concepts they dream of solving will bring passion back into the classroom.
I’m excited just thinking about the opportunities that exist for teachers and students today. I wish this stuff was going on when I was in school!