After watching the video by Seth Godin, it made me take a hard look at how we approach education. I thought about my experiences within the educational system from grade school through my higher education and realized that I rarely thought of learning with an innovative approach. It always just consisted of me attending the classes and doing what was expected of me enough to get a passing grade. I never really thought about the material outside of studying and often forgot the content right after I turned in my tests. The idea that Godin presented in the video was interesting because it pointed out how education is somewhat framed in a way that it is supposed to open up a world of possibilities for students (e.g. think about our motto of “Invent the Future”); however, we educate students in a way that boxes them into a certain way of thinking about the content.
As I have mentioned throughout the semester, the hardest “thinking” that I have had to do on my own with regards to education has been since I started graduate school. For a while, I struggled with generating my own thoughts and not being told what or how I should be thinking about the content. For those who do not explore higher education, they might not encounter this idea of innovative thinking. Therefore, we need to figure out how to generate an environment starting in grade school where students are not learning in a cookie-cutter manner, but approaching education in a way that inspires them to think outside the box, in a more innovative manner.
I really liked the comment that Godin made about baseball fans in regards to textbooks, because it really put things into perspective. If we want students to get excited about and strive to innovative thinking, why would we thinking that a massive book of text would generate these feelings? I am not sure of one student who actually likes to do the required readings for class, but we will spend ample time reading about things that actually interest us and peak our imagination without any hesitation. Therefore, if we are able to generate a similar feeling towards education, students will generally want to learn and take a more proactive, rather than passive, role in their education.
This is a very touchy subject and I often feel myself straddling the fence regarding whether technology is an aid to our daily lives or if it is more of a hinderance. As someone who is not heavily dependent on my phone, laptop, etc. (or so I think), I can definitely understand how constant usage can become a problem especially in the classroom. In contrast, as a researcher, the convenience that these technologies provide not only for research purposes, ease of access, and general connectedness (e.g. checking your email on the go) is something that cannot be denied.
While I generally think people have good intentions in regards to being productive through this notion of being constantly connected, I’m not sure that we are actually being as successful as we think. An example of this is from last year during my first semester in graduate school. Throughout the semester, I would try to work on my final papers a little at a time generally late at night, while watching football, texting my best friend, and gathering articles from the VT library website. Rarely did I ever get anything done and found myself in a hole I felt I couldn’t get out of at the end of the semester. However, I know failure wasn’t an option. Therefore, I gathered all my articles, printed them out, and headed into the library to do some heavy duty writing. I told myself I would only allow breaks to check my phone every hour or so, depending on my progress. I was amazingly able to write two 25-ish page papers in a matter of 72 hours. While this was not necessarily my best work and I wish I would have broken up the work, this was a great lesson to learn early on.
In undergrad, I could multitask with the best of them but looking back, I was never fully engaged in the same way that we have to be in graduate school. I was able to surf the web or browse through Pinterest during my 75 minute courses, and still manage to pull through with a good grade. Trying to continue these habits in graduate school caused me to reevaluate just how much of a distraction technology and multitasking can be overall. While I thought that I was being productive, when faced with a bigger challenge I realize I’m not as good at multitasking as I might think. In the midst of my attempt at high productivity, I was actually hindering myself from putting out my best work.