SOFT SKILLS? RATHER, CREATIVITY

#SoftSkills #education #creativity #boldness
“What I find missing (when college grads don’t land jobs) is any sense of creativity. If you are going to get something, you have to think about what is an interesting and bold way to get it.”
So says Ted Dintersmaith, a former venture capitalist turned education advocate. He was quoted throughout The Atlanta Journal-Constitution education columnist Maureen Downey’s June 11, 2018, column.
Downey writes that Dintersmith recalled how impressed he was with a young entrepreneur seeking to meet him. The student pleaded with Dintersmith’s assistant to allow him to sit in the office so he could grab a moment with Dintersmith as he walked to his car.
Dintersmith’s two decades as a venture capitalist brought him much success. He came to believe that success demanded both innovation and entrepreneurship.
In other words, if you go through channels to find an opportunity, you probably will not hear anything back. If you do something outside the box to get someone’s attention, that person might be impressed enough to hire you.
This type of thinking may differ greatly with what you’ve been taught since childhood. Remember your parents or other advisers telling you, “don’t make waves,” “do everything properly,” or, even, “do what you are told to do?”
Today’s society put value on wave-makers. Even if you are getting a W-2 job, with a set job description, you have to show some entrepreneurship in that role to get noticed, or get ahead.
Conduct yourself with the attitude of, it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
America must re-imagine education, Downey quotes Dintersmith, so millions of people aren’t stranded by an economy that prizes creativity, innovation and invention.
Of course, as a practical matter, we still need people toiling at tasks that require a set job description. It’s tough to think outside the box if you wait tables, wash dishes or do some other minimum-wage work. In that case, though, you’re creativity and innovation must come to the fore as you imagine yourself in the near future doing something other than what you are doing.
For students, the best path may be to give more meaning to a high school diploma by requiring students to work in real-life challenges, for an organization or community, Downey quotes Dintersmith. He has seen teachers doing this in places like North Dakota and Hawaii, she writes.
Schools will change, “one classroom at time by teacher-driven, well-thought-out small steps leading to big change,” Downey quotes Dintersmith.
Maybe you, today, are following your parents’ advice and cherishing the security of following a set of rules. But, perhaps, you long for something more.
If you are bold enough to look for something better, something that rewards your boldness, something that requires you to look at something completely different from what you thought you would do in life, there are many such vehicles out there. To check out one of the best, message me.
Otherwise, if you are doing something that bores you, that doesn’t reward you the way you think it should, or that eats away at too much of your life, look for a change. Perhaps not today, or tomorrow, but put a goal in front of you that says something like: I’m only going to do this for X years at most. Then, start looking for a change that will better suit you.
Remember, as Dintersmith advises, just sending a resume, or filling out an application, and waiting to hear something probably won’t cut it, no matter how impressive your qualifications are.
If the opportunity is worth pursuing, don’t hesitate to visit the employer and ask to see a person of influence. You may have to do some research to see who that is, but, in the process, you may actually meet someone who can formally introduce you.
Be bold. Be creative. Go after it!
Peter

DON’T COSIGN YOUR GRANDCHILD’S STUDENT LOAN

#SchoolLoans #CosigningSchoolLoans #EndangeringRetirement #StudentLoans
Students looking to go to college might hit up one or more grandparents to co-sign for a student loan.
Personal Finance columnist Liz Weston recommends against it, for the most part. She discussed the topic in an April 29, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Here are Weston’s reasons: late payments will trash the grandparents’ credit; if grandparents have to take over payments (perhaps because the student, presuming he or she graduates, may not find a job immediately, or has to take a low-paying job), the strain on their finances can endanger their retirement.
Of course, this could be a moot point if the grandparents are independently wealthy.
So, if you are considering co-signing a student loan for your grandchild, or the child of a friend or relative, consider this scenario: the child graduates from school with a five- or six-figure debt, and can’t find lucrative work – or, at least, work that would match what he or she studied. If you’ve co-signed a loan, the debt collector will notice that and come after you almost immediately, because there may be a house or other assets they can tap quickly.
If you are a student, do you want to put your grandparents, or other friends or relatives, in that position?
If you are the grandparents, or other co-signers, do you want to mortgage your future for the sake of that student? At least in theory, the younger generation should be working to help the older generation, not the other way around.
If you are distant from the student, and co-sign a loan because your friend or family urged you to, how much do you think the student would care that he or she has saddled you with this debt? Many students believe college loan debt is something they can blow off temporarily until they get financially settled. If the debt collector has already been repaid by a co-signer, the student may not be obligated to repay you. What lesson(s) does that teach?
It all goes back to the reason a student chooses college in the first place. Certainly, students with good grades and a clean record should actively consider a college education. Perhaps that student can opt to start his or her education in a low-cost community college, and graduate up to a four-year school.
That would ease the college tab a good bit. But as the student and parents think about the student’s future, they have to consider what the student will do with the education, and whether what they do would be worth the investment (or expense, depending on how you look at it).
Another idea: defer admission for a year, and have the student get a job that will allow him or her to save a good chunk of money for college.
Also, does the student have the discipline, ambition and tenacity to do well in college, in spite of temptations that could distract him or her? A smart student with no drive is like a shiny car with no engine.
And, if the student has the drive and smarts for college, but chooses a field of study that will be enjoyable, but not terribly lucrative, perhaps the family should consider a vehicle that will help the student pursue his or her passion, while earning a potentially good income with a few part-time hours a week.
There are many such vehicles out there. To check out one of the best, message me.
Weston, in her column, goes on to advise grandparents, and other co-signers, how to deal with the problem if they’ve already cosigned.
Here’s her warning, if you are in too deep: “Talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Student loans are extremely difficult to erase in bankruptcy court. …. If you don’t have any assets other than retirement funds, and your only income is from Social Security and pensions, you may be “judgment-proof. That means, if you are sued, the creditor can’t collect anything.”
Try not to get yourself in that situation. If you are asked to co-sign, say no, firmly. Your grandchildren, relatives and friends may be disappointed. If they are, so be it. You will have done the right thing by you.
Peter

WHAT YOU COULD DO WITH YOUR SUMMER-JOB MONEY

#saving #investing #SummerJobs #stocks
It’s summer, and students (college and high school) are getting jobs as lifeguards, cooks etc. that pay an average of, say, $10 a hour.
In practical terms, most of those students will sock away a good bit of what they earn to pay for college, or some other higher education.
But Rubicoin, an educational investment app., calculated what you could do in the future if you decided to invest that money in the stock market.
Adam Shell wrote a short piece for USA Today on the study. The article also was published June 8, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rubicoin calculated how much money a worker earning $10 an hour in a 25-hour workweek for 13 weeks, each summer for the past four years, Shell writes.
“If they invested half of their before-tax pay equally on Aug. 31 each year in the four FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), the $6,500 investment since 2014 would be worth $15,899 today, Shell quotes Rubicoin. If a student favors a bigger bet – investing in Netflix alone – it would have been worth $22,639, or $19,544 if they invested in just Amazon.
Certainly, these FANG stocks have skyrocketed recently. Doing that now, when they are at high prices, would be impractical. Doing it then, when their prices were relatively low, would have been a big risk for a student.
Perhaps planning your financial future would be better after your education is finished. Every dime you earn should be saved for the expenses for school – unless, of course, you come from a wealthy family and can do what you want with what you earn. Most students, however, are not in that position.
So, here’s another thought: what if you could take a percentage of what you earn in ONE summer, invest it in something that might give you the kind of bright financial future that no one will take away from you? A small investment, plus some part-time effort on your part throughout your life, could lead to an income stream that could allow you to never worry about money again.
There are several such ventures out there that could do that. To check out one of the best, message me.
There are few financial advisers who would recommend that a student invest a chunk of his summer income in stocks – despite their potential – would be a big risk.
Young investors should start out conservatively. They should move gradually from a bank savings account – get out of that as quickly as you can – to conservative funds, to stocks with some potential as your nest egg grows.
The important message from Shell and Rubicoin is to start saving your money while you are young. The more you can do at a young age, the more you will have as you get older.
Remember that the job you think is secure now may not be so in the future. Having the discipline to save and invest carefully, with the proper advice, will hopefully prevent devastation later in life.
In short: when you are off from school in the summer, work (more than 25 hours a week, if you can). Use that money to invest in your education. When your education is finished, continue the pattern of saving a certain percentage of your income, progressively investing over time.
If you use the money before retirement, make sure it is for something like buying a house. Don’t blow it on vacations and other non-durable items. Keep saving for a retirement that could come before you want it to.
Remember: the little things you do when you are young will give you more options in the future.
Peter

WHY ASIAN PARENTS HAVE THEIR KIDS’ BACKS IN SCHOOL

Why do students of East Asian descent do so well in school? Because parents are the primary educators.
So concludes Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her column on the subject was published July 31, 2017.
While American parents are concerned with how engaging their child’s teacher is, how much homework their child will have and whether their child will be able to balance school and other activities, such as band or soccer, in East Asian countries, parents are worried about one thing: whether their child will learn, Downey writes.
The Asian children’s success will depend not only on their own effort, but that of their parents, she writes.
That difference may explain the performance gap between American students and those from East Asian countries, Downey writes.
According to a research scholar on East Asian education, this lagging performance by American students will not change unless we upend two beliefs: teachers are responsible for student achievement and parents play a supportive, rather than primary, role in their child’s education, Downey writes.
Cornelius N. Grove, author and researcher on East Asian education, has challenged the assumption that school performance is determined by innate aptitude, Downey writes. He says children bring – or don’t bring, in the case of some U.S. students – a receptiveness to learning and a moral and cultural imperative to excel, Downey writes.
Students who fail an algebra test here might say, “I’m just not good at math,” Downey quotes Grove. East Asian students use failure to figure out what they don’t know and redirect their study plan, Downey quotes Grove.
One could argue that while education is important, so are other things in life. The balance American parents look for in their children is a worthy endeavor. We want children to have a life, to do things that kids do, to enjoy growing up and not be put in a pressure cooker.
On the other hand, some parents can be too loosey-goosey, fret about the child’s self-esteem, etc.
Those old enough may remember when parents sent kids to school, let them figure out what to do, perhaps had one or two conferences a year with teachers and that was it. Some parents were disinclined, or perhaps even incapable, of helping with homework.
Still, “we have masses of young people (In the U.S) who aren’t able to do simple math, who have trouble reading a sentence,” Downey quotes Grove.
Yet, she quotes him, “we are not short of entrepreneurs in this country.” If your child is an entrepreneur, and is looking for something to apply that trait that could earn him potentially a lot of money, there are many vehicles out there that may fit him or her. To check out one of the best, message me.
The bottom line is that parents have to find the happy medium in which their child can excel in school, and still be a kid. The parents have to devote a higher priority on education, and not leave everything up to teachers and schools.
The children have to want to learn. A parent who cultivates a child’s desire to learn is parenting at its best. So let your kids be kids, let them do what they enjoy, yet still have focus on education. Perhaps the parents can take a leading role in increasing school performance of American children.
Peter

DO SCHOOLS REALLY HAVE TO BE BORING?

#BoringSchools #education #HappyStudents
A graduate from an affluent New York high school told a panel of education experts that school was like a prison.
“The only difference,” said Nikhil Goyal, “is that in schools, students are paroled at the same time every day. Does school really have to be this horrible, this boring and monotonous thing that you have to wake up every day at 7 a.m. and go to?” he asked.
Goyal was quoted in a June 13, 2016, column by Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Goyal, now 21, has written a book titled, “Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice,” Downey writes.
Schools should bend to accommodate students rather than forcing children to learn in lockstep and labeling them as failures if they fall out of step, Downey writes, attributing the statement to Goyal.
Why can’t we design schools “where kids are happy and excited to be there?” Downey quotes Goyal.
As we’ve learned, particularly in recent years, it’s difficult to absolutely quantify learning.
Couple that with the advancing technology, in which information is readily available, and we begin to wonder what we are teaching kids, and whether those things are going to actually help them.
The best way we know to quantify learning is through test scores, term papers and the like. In many instances, the students are merely spitting back information they might not ever use – not to mention how easy it will be to find if they do use it.
Employers may not be looking for what a person knows, but how he thinks and whether his way of thinking will mesh with what the company wants to accomplish.
We want to teach kids how to think, but exactly how to do that, in a way that is quantifiable, is a real challenge for educators.
Perhaps, as the educators perfect that, students will feel more excited in school.
Downey says Goyal told her that students measured their self-worth by the number of Advanced Placement classes they took and the academic honors they received. Most were sleep-deprived and some depended on prescription drugs, like Adder-all and Ritalin, to survive, Downey writes.
Certainly, some independent schools, with less emphasis on quantifying learning, let students rely on their own innate curiosity and creativity to lead them to what they should learn, Downey writes. That, she attributes to Goyal, will allow students to learn with enthusiasm and joy.
As the debate continues on how best to educate children, and how much that education should cost, it’s important for children to know that education of any type is valuable, though not all education will make one a living.
There are many ways out there to earn money, regardless of education. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
Meanwhile, as a society, we need to find the best way to educate children for today’s world. We also know that education that creates enthusiasm among students can only benefit them in the long run.
Peter

GRIT IS A GOOD THING, BUT …

#grit #innovate #GradePointAverage
Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the grade-point average rewards those who can answer other people’s questions.
So writes New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a column published in the May 13, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brooks calls the grade-point average “one of the more destructive elements in American education.”
“In life, we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the GPA system encourages students to be deferential and risk-averse, giving their teachers what they want,” Brooks writes.
In other words, the education system highly rewards students who are good at a lot of things, rather than those who are very good at one or two things.
Even if you are not good at something, the education system wants students to use their grit, and do things they don’t like, to grind out a good GPA.
There is certainly nothing wrong with grit. It helps people overcome obstacles and gets people through difficult times.
But the education system is designed for students to learn things, and they are evaluated by how well they can spit those things back.
“Schools across America are busy teaching their students to be gritty and to have ‘character’ – by which they mean skills like self-discipline and resilience that contribute to career success,” Brooks writes.
In other words, they teach kids to be good employees, rather than innovators.
In today’s world, innovators are handsomely rewarded, providing they solve a problem that needs solving.
In one adage, the “A” students end up working for the “C” students.
How does one deal with this?
There are a couple of ways. First, be a rebel.
Take the grit that you learned to develop in school, and use it to innovate.
Thomas Edison tried many times before he successfully invented the light bulb, so he had enough grit to know to stay with his idea.
If you are not an innovator, or if you have resigned yourself that you will work for someone else forever, there are many alternative ways to make money outside of a traditional job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Sometimes duplication, rather than innovation, can create potential fortunes.
As for the education system, it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Learning is difficult to quantify, and the GPA system is, up to now, the best way educators have found to quantify learning.
In recent times, an array of competency tests has come into vogue. These tests have been used to evaluate teachers, much to the chagrin of the educators.
A good teacher should not be penalized, since students’ performance on competency tests can be attributed to many things.
So use the education system to cultivate grit, but use that grit to go out and do great things for others.
Peter

WHAT WE LEARN IN HIGH SCHOOL

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”
Paul Simon lyric from “Kodachrome”

#HighSchool #learning #education
What did you learn in high school that you use today?
Perhaps you use some household math. Perhaps, if you took vocational courses, you use what you learned in auto mechanics, machine shop etc.
Most of us, though, would be hard pressed to think of much that we use today from our high school learning.
As it turns out, high schools were designed more than a century ago to produce efficient workers who could follow instructions, according to Ted Dintersmith, venture-capitalist-turned reformer.
“Henry Ford did not need creative, bold innovative assembly-line workers,” Dintersmith said.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, took on the topic of high schools in a January 2016 column. She interviewed Dintersmith as part of it.
Now that the U.S. economy has changed from manufacturing to innovation, have high schools changed with it? Downey asks.
Downey points out that most of us believed that basic jobs, such as truck driving and delivery services, were immune to change as technology advanced. But Google’s self-driving car and Amazon Prime Air delivery drones are changing that.
So that begs the question: will high schools change the way they educate to conform to the changing economy, and the changing technological requirements?
Today, a high school education is not good enough, in many cases, to land a good-paying job. Even some who graduate college are finding they cannot parlay their brainpower into an economically exhilarating career.
So will high schools become irrelevant? Will some college curriculums become an expensive luxury?
Let’s break down the concept of education. Throughout most of our years in school, we learn “things.” We were expected to spit back those “things” on tests, to get our grades. Now, with technology, the “things” we were taught are available at our fingertips. What we really need to know is how to take those “things,” turn them first into ideas and then into action. In other words, gather your “things,” go forth and innovate.
It’s tough to put a finger on those jobs that will never go away. Perhaps some of you have had jobs you thought would never go away, but have. Were you replaced by a machine? Did what you do become irrelevant to the company as technology changed? Or, more likely, did the company just find it too expensive to keep you, so it figured out a way to do without you?
All those “things” you learned help you in trivia games, but they don’t move you forward in a changing world.
Let’s look further into colleges. We are starting to hear that the liberal arts is virtually useless in terms of finding one a job. We are hearing that the STEM programs (science, technology, engineering and math) are the only really employable fields to get into. But we all know that not everyone is cut out for those fields. So what is a person who wants to study the arts to do?
There are many ways to earn money while one pursues his artistic passion. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may find a way to work full time on your passion, and part time on your fortune.
We will always need people to do basic jobs. But those jobs hardly create lucrative careers. Are you learning to think the way innovators do? Or, are you just learning “things,” or how to follow orders?
Schools will eventually have to catch up with the rest of the world. In the meantime, if your school isn’t doing what you think is right for you, use your time outside of school to make things right by you.
Peter

SHAKESPEARE: IS HE NECESSARY TODAY?

#Shakespeare #Education #Literature #Drama
Many of us have read something William Shakespeare has written.
Some love him. Some hate him. Certainly, though his language is pure, it’s not always easy to understand. We certainly don’t talk like that in daily conversation.
For many of us, he was required reading at some point in our education. Today, however, a debate is raging over not only whether he is relevant to today’s world, but whether, in the name of diversity, he’s just another dead white guy.
Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis had this very debate in a column they wrote together. It was published in the June 21, 2015, edition of the News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tenn.
Boychuck is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Mathis is associate editor of Philadelphia Magazine.
In Boychuk’s view, if a teacher can’t make violence, murder, insanity, greed, witchcraft, betrayal and other elements of Shakespeare come alive in the classroom, he or she is probably in the wrong job. Some of us, when studying Shakespeare or performing in one of his plays, could hurdle what language barrier there was – his old-time English and modern English.
Mathis, however, had the benefit of translation pages when he studied Shakespeare in school. Were it not for those, he says, he may not have survived that course.
“There’s a WORLD of really exciting literature out there that better speaks to the needs of my very ethnically diverse and wonderfully curious, modern-day students,” says Dana Dusbiber, a teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif. She told in a Washington Post column that she hates teaching Shakespeare.
Boychuk and Mathis refer to her column in their column.
If any student’s education is devoid of Shakespeare, how would they know that centuries ago, people actually talked and wrote that way.
On the other hand, many of today’s students have English as a second language. Do they need literature whose English is a bit more basic, to better master their second language?
The Boychuk-Mathis column points out that plays are best seen performed than read. Very few other playwrights get the attention in school that Shakespeare does. Perhaps that’s because Shakespeare is special, and, as the column points out, many of the phrases used today originated with Shakespeare, i.e. “there’s the rub,” it’s Greek to me,” to thine own self be true.”
No matter how one feels about what and how we teach kids, it’s clear that kids need a well-rounded education. They need to learn the niceties as well as the evils of today’s and yesterday’s world.
They need to be able to communicate clearly, to talk so as to be universally understood, to sell themselves to a prospective employer or client. A smattering of Shakespeare can teach them a good bit of how the language was formed and modernized.
Also, they need to develop a great image of themselves. How do you feel about yourself? Are you still looking for who you really are, or are you having to change things up to thrive in today’s world. If so, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Many of those whom you will see may, or may not, be Shakespeare fans, but they’ve certainly learned that their curiosity has paid great dividends.
Studying the Bard may be hard, but he has many lessons to teach.
Peter

WE MAY LONG TO BE KIDS AGAIN, BUT …

#kidstructure
We think of childhood as a simple time –fancy free, no worries, necessities provided without effort.
But Vicki Abeles sees childhood differently.
She produced a 2009 video titled, “Race to Nowhere,” that told stories of students who were burned out and overworked by the pressure-cooker education culture. She featured her son, Zak, in the video and in her column on the subject, published Sept. 26, 2014, in USA Today.
In decades past, the philosophy was that a busy child stayed out of trouble. Many education systems stressed rigor, lots of homework, even busy work to keep kids’ minds on one thing: school.
That evolved a bit, as kids got into sports, music, drama, debate and other excellent extracurricular activities. It was thought then that those things helped balance a student’s life.
Today, as we see our education system documented as hardly the best in the world, we have created kids that are overworked, overstressed and still not achieving what they should.
“In some places across the country, the frantic pace of modern life has even trickled down to kindergarten, where students are already bringing home piles of homework,” Abeles writes.
She says young people nationwide suffer from alarming rates of anxiety, sleep loss and depression. She quotes a survey by the American Psychological Association that one in four teens reported feeling extreme levels of stress during the school year.
Teens may not seem stressed to you. Of course, there are normal stresses for teens, including boy-girl relationships, having to look good to your peers, wearing the “right” clothes etc. But, if you have or know a teenager, does his or her stress level seem abnormal? If the teen is open to talking to you frankly, ask him or her about it.
We need an education system that makes kids not just learn, but WANT to learn. Just as we adults need a work-life balance, kids need a school-life balance. Sure, school is their job. But it should not be their life.
They should be able to easily mix academic demands, extracurricular activities and free time to hang with friends, date (if they are old enough) or just do what they want. After all, they are only kids once.
Sometimes, kids find their life calling by having the freedom to do what they want.
They should certainly learn that some structure is important. We can’t raise children to believe that they can ALWAYS do what they want, no matter what. A job requires some commitment to structure that the employer requires. Higher education requires some structure to get a degree.
But making kids a slave to structure at an early age will probably hurt them more than help them. It might cause them to develop mental, even physical injuries that could stay with them for life. What kind of waste of potential would that be?
While students need to learn some structure, they also should learn that there are ways to make a life that may not require the structure we are teaching them. It may require a different, more enjoyable kind of structure. For a look at one such lifestyle, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
If you are over a certain age, you learned the importance of structure in life. As a teen, you may have even rebelled at such structure. More than likely, you got over your rebellion and got “structured” again. Abeles believes today’s kids are over-structured. If you have a teen, or know one, you might want to cut them some slack.
Instead of making sure every minute of the day, and night, is tied up with some activity, give them some time to be them. You may be pleasantly surprised at not only how they use that time, but also how it could make them much better adults.
Peter

SCHOOL REVERSAL

Traditionally, students went to school to see and listen to teachers.
They took what they learned home to practice – what we know as homework.
They brought it back to school the next day to see what they did right, and what they did wrong.
But what if it were reversed?
What if students heard and saw the teachers at home, and came to class to practice what they’d learned. Or, better yet, to see what they could do with what they’d learned?
In a two-day conference titled “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asked himself the following question: why am I paying $50,000 a year for my kid to go to college, when he can learn all he wants for free from massive, open online courses?
Friedman’s friend, Michael Sandel, teaches the famous, Socratic “Justice” course at Harvard, which has 1,000 students. The class is launching March 12, 2013, as the first humanities offering on the MIT-Harvard edX online learning platform.
In the blended education model, Friedman says students at San Jose State watch MIT lectures on circuits and electronics, and do the exercises at home. Then they come to class, ask the SJSU professor questions about the lectures, then devote most of the class time to problem-solving and discussion.
At the college level, this model allows more students to learn from the best teachers in the world. It also could lower the cost of college, because so much is available online. But it also gives colleges the flexibility to add more to the college experience while lowering the cost. It gives students the chance not just to learn, but also to apply what they’ve learned in practical situations. Students will not just get a degree, but could come out of college with some working knowledge in a given area.
But at the high school or middle school level, it could really lower costs. Suppose a high school student heard lectures on history, math, English etc. on his computer at home. Then, he came to school to do his “homework,” and to take tests. What if he could e-mail his questions to the lecturer and get answers via e-mail? What if the student had to log in to hear a lecture? The school could monitor a student’s activities at home.
What if there were more time at school to be with friends, and have fun? Do you think that might increase attendance, and lower the dropout rate? What if schools were more like labs?
BETTER, CHEAPER EDUCATION
Education at all levels has to not just get better. It has to get cheaper. Friedman, in his March 2013 column, talking about the college level, said that the bottom line is that the residential college experience has huge value. But blending in more technology into education will enhance that experience, improve education and lower the cost of college.
At lower education levels, more students can learn from the best teachers through online classes. They can have more fun at school applying what they’ve learned. School systems can have greater flexibility in the number of buildings it needs, the number of teachers it needs etc. In short, they could do much better for less money.
If you are in the education field, know that your world is changing. How fast it will change is anyone’s guess. If you don’t like what you see coming, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. That will give you a possible Plan B, should your situation change for the worse. For students, however, better education is on its way. For taxpayers, that better education could come at a lower cost.
Peter