Future of Education Challenge

November 14, 2013
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Student Reflection - November 13, 2013

Usually, the Weekly Innovation Challenge provides an interesting chance to meet new people while trying to overcome some sort of presentation or building obstacle. Though I expected to construct a wagon out of pasta noodles or pitch a new technology, today’s event was a much more impactful experience. This time, the challenge was to create a 90 second pitch for a vision of education in the future. While I had my own preconceived notions toward an idea of educational priorities, the diverse perspectives of my team challenged my initial concepts and helped to show more serious priorities.

At first, I saw this challenge as a way to apply future technology to a classroom setting. For a futuristic American school, it seemed feasible to me to introduce a more hands-on system of learning, perhaps using motion capture and holograms, while making heavy textbooks obsolete. Likewise, I also had the idea to start career-focused education sooner in order to better prepare people for their actual jobs. Effectively, I think it might be beneficial to focus medically minded people toward the sciences earlier or give more specialized opportunities for those interested in technical vocations.

While these ideas might be useful for those of my background, another one of my team members saw the biggest object of reform as admissions. While tests like the ACT and SAT often give useful information to universities, they can discriminate against poor test takers or students who might not have English as their first language. Instead, she proposed a system of more comprehensive interviews in order to get a better understanding of college applicants. Likewise, the application process could be tailored to specific fields, such as requiring the submission of a piece for an art student.Even though the two of us focused on reforming domestic education, it was ultimately our third teammate who provided the most valuable perspective. I might have looked toward future technology, but she brought up the economic disparities around the world that might prevent other areas from utilizing these education methods; a new internet-based teaching method is useless to students that might lack access to computers. As an international student, she was able to give us more insight into ways to improve education on a global scale and point out problems that my less experienced perspective could not immediately see. As a result, we also set global education as a key priority and wanted to advocate more exchange of both people and educational opportunities among countries.

While our presentation might not have gone as planned due to time management, my group’s discussion of educational priorities, both here and abroad, gave me more insight about the status of education on a global scale. Ultimately, this week’s WIC challenged me to expand my views on education to better suit the needs of an increasingly connected world.

Winning Reflection - Steve Doonan

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