Maybe We Should Hack our Schools More

This video has been really inspiring to me over that past few years. I have shown it to students and teachers. Let's Hack our Schools!

Photo of Ben Hommerding
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I put this in the Beyond Education area because I feel we need to look at things outside of traditional education including non traditional types of education.  I hope you are as inspired by this video as I have been.  

This video has been something I have shown in my classes especially TIPS, Technology Innovation Problem Solving. TIPS is all about solving real world problems, pushing boundaries, and making a difference.  This video has always elicited a great discussion from my students about what schools should and could be.  We need much more flexible schools with real world experiences.  

At the time of this talk, Logan was only 13.  How many 13 year olds do you know who could give a speech like that in front of a huge crowd?  If we can see past all of the initiatives, testing, RTI, ACT, and so forth and boil down education to what we all know it needs to be, we could really make a difference.  

Please share this video out if you think it might make someone think!!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ben Hommerding

I think that we need to start involving outsiders into the process of creating real world type assessments for students to complete. So having a banker come up with a problem they would actually encounter, a computer scientist invent a problem to solve, or a small business owner that has a business decision the students would have to investigate and defend.
By bringing in people who actually do the job, the students get assessed authentically and learn to connect ideas to the outside world, the teachers gain an understanding of what really should be included in the curriculum and the community becomes more invested in education.

I think the conversations have to begin with people in the "real world" and that will lead to some great discussions and improvements.

How would you get things going?
It's a win, win, win.

Photo of Moss Pike

Yes! And I'm especially fond of involving alumni in this way. How might we find industry professionals and/or alumni to replace traditional assessments? Let's work on a prototype of a solution in our "Ideate" phase that starts to answer this question. What resources would we need (e.g., people, time, space?), and how would we involve faculty? Very excited to think through this idea in greater detail!

Photo of Ben Hommerding

Hey Moss,
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. I just started a new job.
I think you start by inviting community members (especially in small towns), and I like your alumni idea into the school.
They need to see what is already happening and be part of the discussion on what they think assessments look like in their world everyday. Then you work from there to develop an assessment in one course that might make the most sense. Maybe a marketing course or in Tech Ed and then work your way back to the more standard courses as tie ins to those assessments.
In all jobs, there people need to use a variety of different skills from different areas: math, science, communications (Written and Oral), reading, and social sciences.
If to can begin to integrate the skills from those courses into these assessments, and have the community members help by identifying what is real and was is not, these assessments will become very impactful for all student learning and become great gauges of where students currently are.
That is where I would start. What ideas do you and others have for getting the community and alumni involved?

Photo of Moss Pike

Hi Ben! No worries, and I hope the new job is starting off well. I'd start off exactly as you've described here: have a team within the school design the program based on needs and goals, then welcome community members and alumni to help shape it and take it in useful directions. We'd need to rely on a point person in the Advancement office (or similar) who pulls in connections, and I imagine we'd also need someone in charge on the faculty end (e.g., the teacher of the marketing course).

If you'd like to work up this idea into a post for the Ideate phase, I'd love to help as a team member. I think we could do a lot to put together a prototype of a great idea that others could potentially run with. Excited to move it forward!

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