Below is the idea I submitted for NBC’s Education Nation Town Hall. Though it was not picked (perhaps because of my critique of their program), I believe there is great potential in combating the apathy and boredom that leads to student disengagement and higher dropout rates through relevant programs in concept development and application. Submitted idea below:
Things we know for sure:
- Things change.
- Uncertainty is certain.
- Gravity is pretty reliable.
Things we don’t:
- How the climate will change.
- If everyone’ll have clean water.
- When we’ll run out of oil.
- If the Cubs will ever win the World Series again.
Given the above, we must consider how we prepare students for a life of learning and adaptation. (In the case of the Cubs, we may just need to prepare them to be forgiving fans.) With global population on the rise, today’s students will need to find ways to live — individually and as a generation — with smaller footprints.
It is my feeling that our schools should become scientific incubators of sustainable innovation. Students need opportunities to explore & investigate ideas, issues, concepts, and materials related to sustainability & efficiency. Industries/Products such as solar panels, green design, wind turbines, and engineering (and by proxy, all of us) would benefit from schools becoming Concept Labs where students cultivate/facilitate tomorrow’s breakthroughs today.
The ability to innovate is born of imagination, knowledge, and experience in direct application. If we want our students to become global leaders tomorrow, they need authentic opportunities to wrestle with relevant problems today.
Doing so will help ensure that students graduate with background knowledge about the current issues facing America & the world, enabling them to enter the work force ready to apply new ideas & concepts to the challenges they are sure to face.