STEM education provides many opportunities and challenges. How can our practice evolve to meet the needs of 21st-century learners?

The Future of Education


I've been asked to speak to a group concerning "the future of education." Given that I think future ed will be characterized by the use of technology and collaboration, it seems right to ask for thoughts in this forum. So, thoughts on "the future of education?" What it might be? What it should be?

I should note in advance that any ideas utilized in my presentation will be attributed to their source.

Comments (24)

Comment RSS
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Motivation is a two way street

Was this helpful?

Maybe we should move the motivation concept to its own thread.

I see motivation as being something that's an inherent interaction between teacher and student. If a teacher is in the front of the room, using a monotone voice, seeming disinterested and disengaged, as a student, what should I read into that? How do I pick out what's important when there are few verbal or physical cues to what the teacher seems to think is important and valuable in the content? On the other hand, if a teacher is truly interested in the topic and engaged with it themselves, that "Come look at this- this is really cool!" attitude bleeds over to the student- it's infectious.

I met Dr. Harold Edgerton, father of the strobe light, when I was 17. He had been one of my dad's teacher's at MIT, and we went to visit him when doing a college tour. Dr. E showed us around a lab like a kid in a toy store - he was a little over 80 at the time. He showed us some brine shrimp he had, amazed by the way they moved their legs, artifacts from his trips with Jacques Cousteau working on underwater photography and sonography- even at 80, he was enthusiastic and infectious about learning and exploring. he was still curious. And even meeting him has stayed with me as a goal- to stay enthusiastic and curious about almost everything, to try to know more and learn more every day.

That's the kind of spirit we need to show kids in school, regardless of subject matter. It's not about edutainment- it's about making them curious to go farther and find out more. Not delivering answers, but helping them figure out the puzzle on their own.

Games are addicting because they always hit that zone of proximal development- that puzzle that's just a bit too hard, and when you figure it out, you get a little rush of "I did it!" Schools and clases even like english and social studies should have moments of figuring out the puzzle as well. When more classes are engaging a child's curiosity and less seeming to use them as a captive audience, then we'll really be getting somewhere.

And this is not a curriculum debate, or testing debate or anything else. In fact, it's free. It's all about the attitude with which you approach the topic and lesson. And in the end, that's simple good teaching.

Great Post Whitney

Was this helpful?

I really liked the first paragraph.

Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

Wow! You met Edgerton? I wish

Was this helpful?

Wow! You met Edgerton? I wish I could show him some of the things that I've done with his strobe lights - I'm sure it would blow his mind! .

Then there's also the matter of that classified Navy research that I'd would have liked to ask him about...

Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

If you attach a hook and line

Was this helpful?

@Don Elwell
Director, Greylight Theatre Collective/Grindlebone Arts
Posted on 2/09/2011 5:04pm
Technology as opposed to what?

"I think my problem with "technology" is that considering it as a separate topic out of social context seems rather pointless. Making fire with a flint and steel is technology. Blacksmithing is a technology. The utility and implications of given techniques are easily as important as the techniques themselves.
My Ipod makes a lousy fish lure."

If you attach a hook and line to your Ipod, and turn it on, it would make a pretty fine fishing lure, especially in those waters where the fish are attracted to light...

see more see less