I’m attending the Educause conference in Anaheim and listening to Gershenfield who taught a class called “How to Make (Almost) Anything” in which he asked students to come to class a build something. Student started the class with varying amounts of technical skill. He said the best time to get someone to “teach” something is when they first learn it. So, students who learned something that others’ needed to know would teach it over and over again, excitedly, because they were excited about what they had learned. At the end of the course, students had built projects.
What’s interesting about the conversation is the students learned as they needed-they didn’t start with a foundation of knowledge. Yet, they learned what they needed, and he used that methodology in places throughout the world. He asked the question whether MIT was obsolete. His answer: Not yet. Is that a question we should ask in education? And what can we do about it?