Can Education Keep Up?

Albert Einstein

I have been binge-watching the series “Genius” about Albert Einstein. We all know he was a genius, but I think the education system of his time failed to recognize his genius. The educational system of the time, as ours are now, were ivory towers that existed for the professors rather than the students.

Education systems don’t have room for true genius. True genius often conflicts with the norm and with accepted belief and accepted methodology. It often conflicts with what teachers and professors are teaching and what they have been taught to be true.

This has been true for so many of our deeper thinkers throughout history. When Pythagoras was among the first to postulate the world was round, he faced an array of opposition from the educators of his time. There are many, many examples.

We are at a point in time where man’s knowledge is believed to double every twelve years by some and every five years by others. In certain areas like technology, I think the shorter period may be correct.  I even read one article that stated knowledge doubles every twelve months. Regardless of which number you accept, it is still very fast when all of history is taken into account. This creates a problem for institutions like universities and schools. They simply can’t keep up.

We obviously can’t cram all of human knowledge into kids heads in twelve or sixteen years of school, nor should we try. However, due to this knowledge expansion, I do think it is necessary and it is way past time to re-evaluate how we educate and the material we choose.

We are at the point in technology where the individualized curriculum is very possible.  We no longer need to present the same things to everyone in a class.  That cookie cutter is obsolete.

We need to define basic skill sets that all students need to survive. Those would, of course, include reading and writing and the math needed for everyday life. I think technology has brought us beyond the need to give students a smattering of everything. We are all exposed to a wide variety of knowledge on a daily basis. I think our younger learners develop interests at a much younger age.

We need to allow our students to explore those interests a much younger age. We need to allow the students to drive their education more. That was not possible until recently and we need to truly take advantage of technology.

We simply need, at this time with the technology available us, to step back and do a complete rethink on how we educate and the methodologies of education. This rethink must include input from those outside the ivory towers. As a matter of fact, they should be allowed to drive.

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