Surgeon General’s Warning: This post contains light bragging proceed proread at your own risk.
The Mecca for Makers, and a highlight of every May, is the Maker Faire at the San Mateo Convention Center. I love the tinkerer energy, the eclectic exhibitions of blinking lights, bicycle powered music, and the opportunity to try things out and geek out around all kinds of interests.
Any criticism of our current system, in many circles, automatically pegs a person in the Communist camp. “Look it was tried in the Soviet Union, and it didn’t work.”
Yes, Soviet style Communism didn’t work; but when that system came crashing down capitalism didn’t win, it just survived a bit longer.
Francis Fukuyama even wrote a book declaring The End of History as parliamentary democracy and capitalism were the only dominant systems going forward. It was plain hubris and a lens on our collective failure to imagine alternatives.
A system that accepts that 10%+ of its population live in poverty, even in one of the richest nations of the world, is not acceptable.
The financial crisis of 2008 is further proof that the current system is not working for us, the 99% majority. Is it broken beyond repair?
In search of alternatives, I found Arthur Brock and the folks at The MetaCurrency Project. They not only envision a new model of wealth but are actively working on developing and implementing it.
TED’s tag line is Ideas worth spreading. The Open Mike Future Salon’s tag line is Ideas worth further exploring. The format is the following: You present your idea for 5 minutes. It’s OK if your idea isn’t fully formed yet, present your current state. The next 5 minutes the audience asked questions or gives comments that may move your idea forward. If the conversation is really active, we add another 5 minutes to that exploration. You may walk away from the Future Salon with a handfull of new ideas or venues to explore. This is why I can’t wait to share my idea of letting our children solve real world problems with you:
Imagine a world where every classroom in every school is solving real-world problems and sharing their solutions. Let’s apply Google’s “20% time” to schools! Each Friday, students focus on solving a practical problem they choose. Children create a budget, build a team, publicly brainstorm solutions, set milestones, track their progress Wikipedia-style and present their solution to the whole school at the end of the year. Award bonus points to teams who engage contributors beyond the classroom. Teaching students to initiate, collaborate, and adapt will prepare them to thrive in our ever-changing world.
Can’t wait to hear your comments and suggestions to these ideas. There will be 5 minute sessions around Empowering Women through Technology; World Peace; From Great Potential to Not-So-Great Results; … Please share your idea too that you are convinced will influence our lives in the future. After all this Thursday is the 1st of March Future Day. Fill out this form or come and sign up on the white board that evening. We meet 6pm at SAP Labs in Palo Alto 3410 Hillview Avenue. More details on the Future Salon web page. See you all there.
Check out Will Richardson’s TEDxNY talk. He points out how our school system is broken. It is built for a time long past.
Will quotes Eric Hoffer:
In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Our kids go to schools that train them for a world that has expired. The following ideas may help this situation:
Let children tackle real-world problems
On the first week of every school year the class agrees on what problem to tackle. The remainder of the year is spent on solving the chosen problem, documenting possible solutions as well as identifying dead ends. Along the way the students track and document their progress and outcome. Ideally the whole process is shard publicly for the world to benefit from the solution as well as the process. Continue reading →