Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Learn from Youth

15-Year-Old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours the trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters. Completely self-taught, Kelvin has created his own radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker, DJ Focus.

Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT. THNKR had exclusive access to Kelvin and his life-changing journey – experiencing the US for the first time, exploring incredible opportunities, contending with homesickness, and mapping out his future.

Below is another slide presentation to showcase more amazing youths, what can we learn from those young creators?

What drives those youths to create and innovate? Apparently it’s the intrinsic motivation from their interests or what they really care. They have the purposes that drive their learning. How to ignite the passion of learners like they have? Have you ever asked the question – Is schooling wasting our young age? Learning is not staffing knowledge into the brains, without learners’ interests the content won’t stay long.

Steven Kotler proposed a perspective to look at our boring education and its solution in “Totally Addictive Education: The Future of Learning“:

Today, most educational systems are designed to work from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Students learn facts and figures and tiny fractions of knowledge long before anyone really puts things into a larger context. We assume kids should learn long division before gravitational physics, but this presents a problem for macroscopic learners. If we don’t first tell these students about gravitational physics—about what they could do with that long division and why they’re learning it—they literally cannot learn.

Today’s educational system is all about standardization. We treat every kid the same. But not every kid learns the same. Some need the microscopic first, others the macroscopic. Some people are tangential learners, some prefer their facts in a linear fashion. Some are quick, others slow. Thankfully, this is changing.

We are entering an era of customization. With digitally-delivered education, every student can learn however they want, whenever they want. Or, at least, that’s the promise….

Steven said that macroscopic learning with context hijacks the brain’s pleasure system. This happens because the human brain contains a giant pattern recognition system. Hopefully now the whole digital playground can flip how we learn and ignite the passion of learning if we can flip the standardization tradition in education.


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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