This post is for those of you that are puzzling over curriculum choices. Food for thought: an educational model that uses textbooks is not one that fosters creative thinking or innovation, and more egregiously, it is limiting our children’s knowledge base to one that is below that of a modern day robot. While robots don’t threaten me, the thought that our children are spending the first 18 years of their lives learning a fraction of the same content that a robot was programmed with before these kids were born is mind-boggling.
Consider this – robots already “know” this same information in textbooks or how to access it. When your child goes out into the “real world” many of the jobs that are now done by people will then be completed by robots. Right now, there are robots that drive cars, read x-rays, build things, fly an airplane, and so much more. They are programmed with knowledge, and LOTS of it (look up artificial intelligence) – much of the very same knowledge that textbooks teach a child, over and over again, for 12 years.
While robots will replace many human workers in the near future, the ones that they will not be replacing are those that require creativity and innovation. These jobs will require the people that can creatively solve problems, connect concepts in creative new ways, and keep the “human” quotient in the future working world. Why use the centuries-old textbook model of education when new educational models and tools are at YOUR fingertips? #dumpthetextbooks
Unlocking the promise of tomorrow–today…
PS I started this post because I had one of those aha moments the other day. Over and over again, I’m told that kids love our interactive studies much better than textbooks and that they tend to remember the lessons learned for a long time. At the same time, I watch as parents get frustrated teaching math or spelling or (fill in the blank) and are thrilled when they find an app or online resource to help their child. As an engineer, I am also very much aware of the exponential growth of robots in the workplace. In the meantime, parents are wasting those vital 12 years of education using textbooks that are boring and already out of date the instant that they are printed – textbooks that could someday be created by a robot, having gathered and formatted the content, inserted images, and then printed it. And that thought alone brought a sense of urgency to my message – dump the textbooks and use the 12 years to teach them to think, make connections, create, explore, and much more. They will thank you for that step one day in the not too distant future.