Freeing the Minds of Future Innovators
We need Innovators. Where are they? What do they need from us? Raising the next generation of innovators is going to require a shift in the way we view our schooling system. We have to free our young minds.
Our schools are filled with curious, voracious students yet our schooling system norms for conformity and standards of performance create limitations. Our focus in schooling is on basic skills but our world now is all about technology, science and creative problem solving.
Convention Says: Schooling should focus on reading, writing and arithmetic. School system norms dictate that common, objective standards for performance are our target for our society, for our nation. And yet, these standards create a ceiling that is too low for our students.
We believe that the very notion of literacy should be reinvented in the new era. Students are straining at the gates with curiosity about
- Engineering, and creating things
- Science, and how the world works
- Math and deciphering our world
- The world’s more complex problems—the kind that demands creative problem solving
Convention Says: Students should sit at desks, develop good penmanship and spelling skills, and prove their math prowess by rapid recall of math facts on timed tests. Our schools are trying to manufacture students based upon an era that is past.
At Acera, we believe that the leaders of tomorrow will
- Not wait or stand in line
- Question authority
- Have new, bold, audacious ideas
- Ask wild eyed and outsized questions when they are five
We believe in freedom. We believe that these future innovators who will make the world better are currently being kept inside a box in most schools, a box that becomes a prison.
We believe that the purpose of a test is not to “show your work the way you were supposed to” but rather a place to exercise creative problem solving, test innovative thinking, and to mark what a student knows as a way to help the teacher determine what is next to teach. Every problem on the planet worth solving has multiple ways to solve it. We should encourage multi faceted thinking and interdisciplinary problem solving at school every day.
Convention says that the role of teachers is to know the answers, to test performance and give grades, and to focus on helping third graders master third grade skills. That “real” science doesn’t really need to be taught until high school. But we might lose these kids with their nascent curiosity if we don’t engage them when they are five and ten; we cannot wait until our students are 15.
We believe that the role of teachers is to create an environment of discovery. We must honor the drive and passions of each student, and model flexibility by changing plans to fit with student interest. We must have the courage to create a STEM rich classroom – by bringing in experts, by fueling their own learning, by inventing novel curricula through collaborations with great thinkers and scientists!
Convention says that school = geography quizzes with memorization of state capitals, handwriting practice, five paragraph essays, and fourth grade math when you are nine and ten.
We believe that in the world of today, school should equal dialogue, scientific experiments, exposure to passionate and innovative thinkers from sciences and humanities. School should provide access to the learning every student is ready for regardless of age.
So, what can we do to actually change the education status quo instead of just talking about it? The purpose of this blog is to open up a dialogue—in true Acera fashion— to discover the steps we can take together as a community to effect change and to free the minds of our future innovators together.