Creating Innovators, Chapter 2

I love when non-fiction authors use stories to explain their points to us. The story of Kirk Phelps was a very interesting one, drop out from High School and College, helped make the first iPhone, working in tech start ups. Ed Carryer was his professor and mentor who felt that empowerment was a key part of his Smart Product Design Lab. Ed’s description of this is “to me, empowerment means students can go out and apply what they’ve learned to the problems that they’ve never seen before with part that the’ve never used before.” Taking students out of their comfort zone to answer questions that might not be able to answer was a key component to the class and to the Apple philosophy. Students who took Ed’s class were “a bit more fearless about diving into things.” Kirk’s parents continually allowed Kirk to follow his passion. They were not focused on the end result, they were focused on the process of searching for Kirk’s passion.

The discussion of STEM vs not STEM was very interesting. I felt like this discussion also had a lot to do with interdisciplinary units. Again, this is how the IB/PYP model works, they call them transdisciplinary units. You take a topic “Who We Are in the World” and try to look at it through all angles. My daughter briefly looked at Evergreen State University in Washington. We know some students who have gone there. They have great interdisciplinary learning going on. You can actually create your own major with any of the classes being taught. Part of me believes the best way to change education is to make it more self-organizing. The students could pick their interests and explore them through the library. This project follows Teresa Amabile’s three elements of creativity. We would ask students to be the “experts” but we would “motivate” them by using their passion and they would need to “creatively think” about ways to learn and teach to others.

After thought: I really like how Tony Wagner ends each chapter with more questions.

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