I'm interested in how creative and interest-based learning can be applied to those who feel stifled by their experiences in schools that are still running on "factory model" paradigms.
I honestly felt like most of my experience through school, especially in junior high, high school, and various attempts at college, involved minimal actual learning. Things were set up around complying with rules, and following instructions, imposed by people who didn't have the time or inclination to get to know me as an individual learner.
Over time, I've connected with many others who feel the same way... and over the past few years, I've found an explosion of voices (in the form of talks, videos, edu-MOOCs, and social media conversations) who agree that education needs to change.
The beginning of video (2) for the first week of LCL2 hit on that point, too.
(Here's a key 2-minute clip I made using YouTube's video editor -- yay, Creative Commons!)
And there's the problem: many students feel "trapped" in school, where interest-based learning, and creative learning, is often a foreign concept. Things like personal learning networks, learning through connecting online, and the like, are starting to be embraced by many more innovative educators.
I've talked to many of these students, who experience school just like I did. There's such an incredible amount of unhappiness among them, typically mixed with intelligence, interests, and at least the seeds of passions.. Many of them do pursue those interests -- but they typically seen as meaningless hobbies, relative to the "important work" of school, by parents, teachers, and even the therapists many of these young people end up seeing.
Meanwhile, I'm hearing all these voices, including at MIT Media Lab, saying, "of course education needs to change" and "let's change it!" But, I'm seeing a huge disconnect between these conversations, talks, and articles, and many students stuck in home-and-school environments where the relevant adults have never heard of such things, and reject it all as nonsense.
In most cases, the defining narrative of parents is "the story" Ken Robinson mentioned in Changing Education Paradigms. Go to school, work hard, do well (get good grades), go to college, get a job, and you'll have success. Creative learning? 21st century-skills? Pursuing one's interests? These aren't part of that equation-for-success.
Here's one of many similar complaints, posted in the past couple days:
"Homework that is. So many useless pages of homework, so much time, trees, ink, thinking power and mental stability WASTED on these useless ****** booklets that mean absolutely NOTHING. But you "have" to do them or else you will "fail" both in school and in life" (link)
"School has been killing me lately. For the past couple of days, when its near the end of the school day (about 7th or 8th period), I feel a big, deep depression come over me and i feel tired and unable to do anything for the rest of the day. I can't take much more of this. I don't know what to do anymore. My dad is opposed to online school and homeschooling, so I'm plain f*****.
I REALLY NEED SOME SUPPORT AND HELP RIGHT NOW. SOMEBODY, PLEASE." (link)
Surveys like the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) show that these aren't isolated cases. A substantial subset of students are bored, disengaged and miserable in school -- despite the calls to implement creative learning, interest-based learning, and learner-centric learning.
(Continued in part two.)