Humans must be crazy

I’m glad to see this question posted here.  The debate over “what do we still need to learn” vs. “what can we delegate to the hive” is something I’ve been grappling with for a long time, but have never had an excuse to sit down and really work through.  Luckily for my colleagues in this class (…and the whole world, I suppose), I will have come up with ALL the answers by the time we reconvene tomorrow at 10am.

In all seriousness, the landscape of learning is shifting beneath our feet.  I am proud to be included (albeit on the tail end) in the generation of people who can proclaim they wrote research papers using volumes of leather-bound encyclopedias and manual typewriter. I will someday hold my grandbabies on my knee and recount stories of these “dark times” when we could only receive Wi-Fi through a designated “hot spot” and Harvard students had to travel in the flesh all the way over to Kendall Square to manually submit a cross-registrant form in order to enroll in an MIT class.  I enjoy that my view of the world spans the transition into this era of unprecedented connection through technology.  It allows me to communicate rather fluidly with both my BC (Before Computers) elders as well as the youths, and empathize with arguments made by both sides regarding the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of education in the 21st century.

However, with this great privilege comes great responsibility.  It is increasing falling on the shoulders of my generation to decide how best to prepare the children of today to be productive citizens of tomorrow.  After weighing the abstract considerations and fighting my way out of the “we’re just going to die eventually, why bother?” trap, I always return the opening monologue from the 1980 film “The gods must be crazy,” in which the narrator satires the meaning of “civilized man” and its implications on human behavior:

Only 16 miles to the south [of the Kalahari desert, in Botswana], there’s a vast city. And here you find civilized man. Civilized man refused to adapt himself to his environment. Instead he adapted his environment to suit him.  So he built cities, roads, vehicles, and machinery. And he put up power lines to run his laborsaving devices. But he didn’t know when to stop. The more he improved his surroundings to make life easier the more complicated he made it. Now his children are sentenced to 10 to 15 years of school, to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat.

 And civilized man, who refused to adapt to his surroundings now finds he has to adapt and re-adapt every hour of the day to his self-created environment. For instance, if the day is called Monday and the number 730 comes up, you have to dis-adapt from your domestic surroundings and re-adapt yourself to an entirely different environment. 800 means everybody has to look busy. 1030 says you can stop looking busy for 15 minutes…and then, you have to look busy again. Your day is chopped into pieces, and in each segment of time you adapt to new circumstances. No wonder some people go off the rails a bit.”  (Watch the clip here…you’ll be glad you did)

I find the two sentences highlighted above particularly striking:

  • Now his children are sentenced to 10 to 15 years of school to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat. This  always reminds me that the concept of school was invented to ensure that children could navigate this crazy world we have constructed. School is NOT a law of nature or even part of natural order; mammals, reptiles, algae…other living beings do organize their offspring into “schools” – except, perhaps, fish… joe binden laughing shaking his head no gif Learning, on the other hand, is a fundamental part of the human process.  We learn what we need to survive and (ideally) to thrive.  Few lament that we’ve traded our hunting and gathering gear for supermarkets…why should we not trade the hours we spend memorizing Nevada’s state capitol* for a readily accessible anthology of all the world’s capitols?**
  • Your day is chopped into pieces, and in each segment of time you adapt to new circumstances. Over the years, the notion of “school” became dissociated with the notion of “home.” Eventually they were completely divided into two discrete entities. Children did not always remove themselves from the “real world” so as to be taught about the real world; they only began to do so over the last couple of centuries.  Finally recognizing this inadvertent divergence has helped me overcome some of the barriers to my own understanding of “learning” and also serves as a very productive framework for imagining how learning could/should/will/must look in the future (e.g. continuous, ongoing, limitless).

While my tendency to “chartmentalize” (yes, this is a made-up word and yes, I’ve already requested that Merriam Webster legitimize it with their equally made-up linguistic lordship) wants to see the world nicely dissected into categories enumerating the “should-learn’s” and “not-worth-it’s,” the world is not that simple and people are not that static.  I am of the camp that we need to gut and redesign today’s school curriculum (right down to the very subjects we teach). I whole-heartedly agree with Mitch in today’s reading when he said that “for today’s children, nothing is more important than learning to think creatively – learning to come up with innovative solutions to the unexpected situations that will continually arise in their lives.”  While the ultimate goal remains “teaching kids to fish,” today’s conditions necessitate that we prepare them with a more sophisticated toolset if we want them to eat for a lifetime.  And there is a lot to be done.

Final thought: I sometimes think of education as a telescope – in our case, an outdated telescope. Because of our obsession with fixing the telescope, we have forgotten that the reason we created the telescope in the first place was to look at the stars. And while we were arguing about how to fix said telescope, the night sky shifted (well, technically, the earth rotated, but you get my metaphor). Before we can work on the telescope, we must return our gaze to the night sky and how we plan to explore the mystery that is our universe.  I’d bet that many of the supposedly “primitive” Bushmen (with whom the “civilized man” is juxtapositioned in the film) have never stopped looking up.  I think the real challenge now is how to pause long enough to have that conversation.

______________________________________________________________

Notes:

*It’s Carson City, by the way. And it may be interesting to note that I actually knew that from memory. 

**Exception: master trivia players

Readings and Reflections

How can we inspire curiosity and passion for learning in more people, and help learners make progress towards their personal goals?  How might we use the web (or other tools) to do this? Start by asking yourself, how you developed the passion for the things you are interested in today (what are they?) and then generalize from there.

image

I am quite inspired by the, “The Hole in the Wall” experiment first performed in 1999 by Indian scientist, “Sugata Mitra” in the slum areas of New Delhi, by placing a computer in the wall to see how kids would use and learn from it. Kids with no prior experience taught themselves how to make use of a computer. This experiment generated a hypothesis that “The acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance.

From this experiment, it seems likely that most learning happens through processes not structured and operates across a broad range of venues from physical to virtual spaces.

Build connectivist MOOCs

Recent developments in massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as Coursera, Udacity, edX, Khan academy have set great examples of online implementation of traditional classroom coursework. Surprisingly, user participation in these courses suffers steep decline over the course duration. Users tend to lose interest in these courses which follow a top down approach for information transfer. This brings a need for connectivist MOOC’s to make learning platforms more peer-led, crowdsourced and participatory.

This movement is unstoppable, however there are many MOOC-less places around the world. In some cases students might have limited access to technology, even if they do have access, they might lack confidence to use tools which facilitate expert-user interaction online. There is a need to reach out to internet-less remote communities with fewer instructors to make these platforms accessible to diverse populations of focused learning environments.

Effective Instructional Design

While surfing some of the online tools like MentorMob, PeddlePad, FreeWare, Forvo, I could not stay for more than a minute because of inappropriate instructional design flow. I feel that learning platforms should be more engaging and intuitive to provide users with insightful educational experience.

Encourage networking tools like IRC for Q&A

Whenever I am stuck while writing code, I usually look up Q&A sites like StackOverflow and StackExchange for answers to solve a problem. But at the same time, I would not prefer to ask questions of these websites, and wait for the answers which would slow down the development process. On the other hand, an IRC channel can be an excellent resource to tap into huge pools of knowledge. The advantage of using IRC channels over these websites is to switch to the channel of your choice and ask relevant questions and get a response immediately. I’ve been on IRC channels like #qt,  #gnome,  #pyladies for quite a long time and have solved countless issues I ran into because some smart people from different time zones happened to be around all the time.

Legitimate peripheral participation

While an undergrad, I made my first contribution to the open source community Wikipedia, which encourages a legitimate peripheral participation. This helped me to learn how to be in a community rather than just learning about it. Furthermore, this experience led to my being a GNOME contributor later.

Lighting fires and building connections (Question 3, Week 3)

What does an ideal teacher do? How could just-in-time technology be used to do some of the same? How can we motivate more people to act as teachers for each other?

I taught for three years at a charter school in New Orleans. I can regale you for hours with stories about how teaching isn’t easy. Teaching is a practice; teaching is an art; teaching is a discipline. An ideal teacher inspires and empowers, is intuitive, builds bridges without revealing end goals, motivates, engages, and empathizes. Great teachers build community and establish trust. A great teacher never reveals an answer, but give a student the tools to problem solving on his or her own.

I have no doubt that just-in-time technology has the capacity to reveal on-demand information in the right contexts, but I wonder if it might have the same capacity to guide students down exploratory paths towards answers. I can’t help but think about the Yeats quote about education: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” To answer this question, we must ask ourselves, is the purpose of teaching merely acquiring new knowledge, or is the purpose of teaching to reveal something within ourselves we hadn’t discovered before?

The answer, I think, is a combination of both ideas. Just-in-time learning is a powerful tool for facts. What if (er, how might) we re-imagined just-in-time learning to light fires, too? Just-in-time tech absolutely has the power to make associations and suggest curated items and ideas that learners might be interested in, in addition to their original search query. How can we extend this idea further to think about how the associative experience might be immersive and engaging? Moreover, how can we utilize a learner’s prior interests to pose new questions, new problems, and related challenges? How can we utilize curiosity to motivate learners to continue to solve puzzles and fix problems? Here, I think, we might find our answer.

Motivating others to act as teachers isn’t difficult. People are naturally inclined to want to provide knowledge in an area of expertise (at the very least for their own benefit), and most often enjoy the process of explaining what they know. I think people want to teach what they know, and learners absolutely want to access expert knowledge. The question, then, shifts from one of motivation to one of context and access: how might we provide teachers (and learners) with well-designed, accessible, attractive platforms to share their knowledge? How can we think about informal learning spaces as idea exchange hubs?

Indulge me for a moment as I think about question two as well; good teaching and inspiring curiosity and passion go hand in hand. A few things to consider as I quickly break the rules of our blog post assignment this week:

  • People develop passions for interests when they feel some sort of emotional connection (success, exhilaration, joy, belonging, etc.)
  • Thus, people learn deeply when an emotional connection is present.
  • Learners feel inspired to make progress towards their goals when a) the goal is clear and b) the goal is reasonable and c) they feel successful in their steps to accomplishing the goal.
  • Learners stick with their chosen activity/subject/experience most often when they feel like they are part of a community. Learners also stick when they feel appropriately challenged (that is, pushed just outside of their comfort zones) to continue to move forward in their learning.

To think through these points, I considered my experiences with a relatively unusual learning endeavor, skydiving. Slight intrigue (and lots of peer pressure) brought me to the sport, the emotional connection made it stick, and a strong community and series of attractive goals keeps me engaged and motivated. (More than happy to talk through skydiving at length any time!)

Imagine if the web were able to recreate these key points (emotional connections, SMART goals, community belonging), paired with teachers (digital or otherwise) that invite, engage, immerse, and inspire, what would learning look like? A question I have, moving forward, is how to motivate learners (frustrated, uninterested, or otherwise) who are uninspired to seek out learning experiences on their own. How can we recreate the Yeats curiosity spark within innovative contexts?

passion-driven learning in the carpool lane

This past week I had the opportunity to fiddle, fuss, agonize, and triumph with the SCRATCH program. The program is a great example of an immersive learning community that builds on the principle of passion-driven learning. By giving unlimited room to create your own project, the user becomes obsessed with realizing their own personal vision, happily and haphazardly adopting all the tricks of the hacker trade, including mining other projects and programmers for inspiration, examples, and how-to’s along the way.

While I agree that this type of passion-driven learning can be extremely motivating and productive (yours truly spent about 4 hours trying to figure out how to nudge a puppy), I often wonder what comes next.

Individual goal-setting is a great motivator for knowledge seeking, but I wonder how one can move beyond this point to then learn how to locate one’s personal passion within the context of communal efforts. In the real world, people have to learn how to work in service to a larger goal that they did not originate. Taking the Scratch community as an example, multiple users are happy to spend hours trying to progress their own particular project, but how can we help learners locate points of interests in projects that are not immediately apparent to be related to their own personal goal? How can we help individuals find projects to contribute to in collaborations that serve multiple “personal goals”?

I pose this question mostly because I’ve never been one for the “lone genius” idea. Great innovations are emergent from a community that is building towards big ideas. The difference between creativity and mere production is that the former offers insight, or is the manifestation of an insightful thing/idea/object. The process of this evolution of ideas is where innovation lies, the question of authorship, or the creativity of the maker is simply a matter of scale. Cultures of craft express creativity in re-contributing to a tradition, because they are manifesting an idea through a longer, communal process; in societies that are less individualistic, it takes the multiple and built contributions of creative efforts over time to manifest something truly innovative. In the context of Western notions of individualistic creativity (the lone genius), we think of their innovations as singular, even though it is similarly the culmination of a progression of thought within a society. Just as a species could not create webbed toes without first evolving feet, no creative effort happens in a vacuum, as all inspiration is a progression of former ideas and environments.

At this point of my rant, I may need to insert my “How might we…” tweet.

How might we help learners locate their personal passion in communal efforts in order to foster emergent innovation?

JIT learning is a thing?

I am having a hard time picturing the learning portion in JIT learning. Other than learning how to use the particular device(s) that you’ll be interacting with, I don’t see much learning happening. I certainly haven’t done enough reading about the topic, because JIT learning seems to be a real thing, so maybe I’m being sidetracked by the examples I’ve seen, so excuse my ignorance.

Here’s how I see it; I like computers very much, especially programming them. I like to learn about programming techniques and processes that make software development better. I’m really into it, and I have been for a long time. I like to code by myself, but I really enjoy pair programming and other more social activities like hackathons. I honestly don’t see myself learning a new programming language by having ‘just the right information at the right time‘. Factual knowledge is not going to help me be more productive in a new language, and I doubt I would read a detailed step by step sequence of actions that will produce the same result (even if such a guide could be written).

On the other side, I don’t particular like washing machines, but they are very necessary. If my washing machine breaks, I would love to have JIT access to an expert (or a machine) that can provide detailed information about how to fix it because I need it now. I have no interest in learning more about washing machines. I just want to wash my clothes.

 

So the difference is clear. I am passionate about computers and I want to master that field. The reading about Kasparov touches the idea of mastery though investment and hard work. There is only so much that a person can do during a day of intense labour. Having a device connected 24×7 can only affect that labour to a certain degree. I am not doubting that the combination of human and machine can outsmart a grand master in a particular field, but there needs to be a balance, and just by having more access doesn’t mean that it will be used more (Larry Cuban’s Oversold and Underused: Computers in the classroom is a great example of this).

Having said that, a JIT system would be wonderful for discovery; new topics, new languages, new methodologies, new (and old) anything. Receiving a number of simple messages tailored to your interests would be helpful, especially while you wait for the T or are waiting for a friend. I tend to use Twitter just for that reason, but I mostly ignore Twitter on a regular basis because it’s too noisy.

Going back to the slides, I honestly do not see any learning processes in this definition:

Knowledge delivered in visual, auditory or haptic form based on 
problem/opportunity facing the user as well as their prior 
expertise.

What I read there is providing help to solve a particular problem, right here, right now. I can see a possible path of adaptability if the knowledge can be distributed in different ways depending on previous expertise, but this does not change the nature of the transaction: You need to perform the following 5 actions to fix your washing machine. Could It happen that after that you discover that washing machines are actually your passion? certainly, but still does not change the nature of the knowledge transaction.

Some of the technical challenges listed are:

- Introducing peers who can learn from one another
- Encouraging reflection, analysis, generalization

Again, I don’t understand the context. I can see how introducing peers that are more ‘connected’ can influence learning, but we really are all human. We cannot expect that because a peer has a mobile device, they are going to be available 24×7 to learn with us. One of the major strengths of online collaboration is that it can be asynchronous. Peer learning as a concept is one thing, but I fail to see a strong relation with the idea of JIT access. We still lead our lives in a very human and social way, and access does not direct usage. Even though we all know that everybody wants to feel the machine (in case you are wondering, nope, the video has nothing to do with JIT learning; I just happen to like it).

With regards to encouraging reflection and generalisation, I also fail to see the benefits in many cases. I don’t want to learn about washing machines, I want them to work so that I can spend my time reflecting and analysing things that I care about.

On a similar note, I believe that McLuhan’s dependency problem is taken too seriously. We don’t learn how to repair car engines and we use cars everyday. When was the last time you asked someone for the time and they read the moon or made a note of the sun position and a bunch of calculations? Probably never.

The main concern seems to be the feeling of dumbing people down by making them dependent on their gadgets. I don’t see the problem. It reminds me of Thomas Thwaites’ toaster project (http://www.thomasthwaites.com/the-toaster-project/).

home made toaster

A toaster, as we know them now, is not the only way to make toast. It might be the more convenient way, but not the only one. If we are not concerned about depending on kettles and toasters, should we worry about depending on calculators or computers? I don’t think so.

In a sense I am equating JIT learning to casual gaming. Simple rules and lack of commitment seem to be appropriate characteristics, as opposed to hard work and dedication in both hardcore games and in-depth learners. Some of the systems seen in class are really interesting, but in the cases where I can see how learning processes can be affected (for instance through peer interaction), JIT does not seem to be so important, and in the cases in which JIT is important (fixing my washing machine), learning, reflection, and analysis seem to be less needed.

 

This is the #HMW tweet for this week:

How might we engage the MIT community in interactions with remote 
groups with a special interest in some of the things that happen 
on campus?

Passion and Creativity

For me need and passion are two main drivers of learning.  We all learn out of necessity when required.  What is very interesting is how we go about learning things we are passionate about.  When I have a new topic I am passionate about, I sometimes become so obsessed with learning about it that I will stay up half the night reading or watching videos about it.  I just can’t get enough.  I guess it is like watching the entire series of your favorite TV show in one sitting.  You become addicted and keep telling yourself “just one more episode.” When I’m learning about my passions in an experiential/hands-on way, I learn the most.

I am most intrigued by the question of “can creativity can be learned?”  I believe the answer is yes.   Unfortunately, many schools beat the creativity out of kids before they even finish middle school.  Over the past few years I have developed a passion for design and helping others to build their creative confidence.  Given the complexity of the world today, I believe creativity is a critical skill in solving our toughest problems.  How might we get everyone to believe in the power of his/her own creativity?

John Amos Comenius – Learning With Pleasure

It’s interesting that already in 1600’s the father of modern education John Amos Comenius wrote in his Didactica Magna the following ideas (cited from wikipedia, I bold the ones that I believe are strongly related to our course, all are related anyhow):

(1) learning foreign languages through the vernacular; (2) obtaining ideas through objects rather than words; (3) starting with objects most familiar to the child to introduce him to both the new language and the more remote world of objects: (4) giving the child a comprehensive knowledge of his environment, physical and social, as well as instruction in religious, moral, and classical subjects; (5) making this acquisition of a compendium of knowledge a pleasure rather than a task; and (6) making instruction universal.

Read about a nice example: Hot Icy Fun {Activity} (click image)

gamification

 

Read and Reflect-Q2

As with most things I write about, I am going to have to start talking about myself. My interests and passions generally revolve around 3 things (in no particular order):

-Education:  Most teaching and learning within traditional schooling results in boring and meaningless classes.  High quality and valuable education is still inaccessible to the vast majority of the world.  The current educational landscape is such and injustice to so many people and a tremendous challenge for people that want to undertake it.  I think that is why I am passionate about education; a combination of a sense of social justice and a challenge that needs to be addressed.  Ironically, a good deal of my curiosity stems in part from having poor educational experiences over extended periods of time.  At some point I recognized that learning in a meaningful way was up to me, which is both scary and empowering. I will talk more about this balance between “scary and empowering” later.

-Literature (Colonial Literature from Latin America, to be really specific):  Exploring and analyzing narratives feels like a puzzle to me, and I love it.  I enjoyed (loved, even) writing papers on that topic.  In addition, I felt successful when I did work in that field, which only served to reinforce my passion.

-Designing better things: In most public schools, teachers get stuck using poorly designed tools, schools, curriculums, and even furniture that make their job unnecesarily difficult, and I want to fix them.  I spent many years asking myself (as well as administrators and specialists) why things were not better designed.  Nobody gave me a good answer, probably because nobody really knows.  My experiences teaching drive me forward in many of the things I choose to study.

I see a thread to why I choose to pursue my passions and interests.  They were the right combination of challenges, sense of social duty, enough reinforcement to see me through challenging times, and experiences I could draw on to move forward.  Fortunately, I’ve found a good balance of tools at my disposal to help me feel fulfilled, but also obstacles that keep me curious.  I alluded to these experiences when I wrote about my education above: resources were not handed to me, and it was challenging, which I think increased my own investment in learning.  At the same time, finding solutions to the problems I am passionate about has not been entirely out of my reach either.  Finding that balance between challenge and access has been key to keeping my curiosity alive, as scary and empowering as it has been.

The task of goal setting is infinitely more challenging.  I can’t count the number of times someone has asked me “What are you going to do with your life?” and the best answer I can give most of the time is, “We’ll see!”  I think it might be easier to imagine what goal setting could look like when it comes to content knowledge, given you probably could anticipate with more accuracy what the needs of the learners would be.  When it comes to personal goal setting, I feel like there would be a wide spectrum of needs, ranging from “I have absolutely no idea, and I may just be doing this for fun” to very specific statements with a clear path laid out.

How would we go about it?
-Supporting learners with a challenge.  I think you can still have an open ended result or product, but it is good to have a challenge to give you direction.  A puzzle, something to fix.
-Providing support in the form of a community, peer to peer learning, and a wealth of curated resources.   Enough, but not too many resources.
-Provide *something* that reinforces the benefits of learning to make sure there is enough of an incentive to keep learning during particularly challenging situations.  Maybe that something is pride in your work, maybe it is the satisfaction of doing what you love, but the incentive has to be there.

It is fun if you can find the next piece of puzzle to fit.

Q2.How can we inspire curiosity and passion for learning in more people and help learners make progress towards their personal goals?How did I develop my passion?

My life long enthusiasm is Volcanology and Geology.

Looking back my childhood,it started from 2 pictures in illustrated reference book.
One was dinasours, which most kids are facinated with.
And the other was a picture of  “The Last Day of  Pompeii”,red sky with volcanic ash cloud.

They were both scary. Many questions came up in my head. How did the earth looked like in the time of dinasours? Can I find their bones somewhere? What if a big eruption occurs in Japan. I even dreamed  at night, that I was   run after by dinasours,  or I was run after by lava flow.
In summer, my parents took us to mountains where we can enjoy hot springs. Why do some of the hot springs smell of sulphur and some not? How does the lake on top of the mountain was created? They all led to volcano and geology. I ended up in writing about volcanoes as a report for summer vacation’s homework.

And in High School, I met with Wegener’s theory of continent drift and Plate tectonics theory ! ( It was just like falling in love.) So it explains why Japan has so many volcanoes and earthquakes, being located at the edge of the plate.It is linked to our everyday life .

Every time I learned something new about the Earth, it was connected each other. When I found out the connection between fragments of interest , it made me happy and passionate. Observation in the nature which evokes “How?” and “Why?” question always excited me.

People get interested in many things while learning. They might be small fragmented things. If  you find out by yourselves that one piece is connected to another, it gives you an excitement .” What is the next piece I can connect?” It is like jigsaw puzzle. If you keep on learning, you can have a picture of vast network of knowledge and fragment of  interests connected each other. Learning like doing jigsaw puzzle.

Hiromi Onishi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something you love…

 

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.

Above is supposed to be a superstition that grants a bride good luck. (Well, I just got married 4 weeks ago.) My answer to the Q2 is a parody from the bridal good luck rhyme. To inspire curiosity, passion, and exploration for learners, from my experience, we need the following:

Something you love,

Something you hate,

Something incomplete,

Something mind-blowing,

And a safe environment to share your idea to somebody you care.

This parody rhyme would summarize my experience and my current belief towards answering the Q2 presented. Let me explain where I am coming from.

1 &2 Love/Hate

For me, feeling, or intense emotional reactions, has been one of the largest drivers to pursue what I am most passionate about. And for me, controversially, it has always been the negative emotion rather than the positive ones that has driven me further. Take my passion for education. Being a critical kid from as young as age 9, I started to read educational theory books (yes, since when I was 9), because I was not satisfied, in both concrete and abstract terms, how I was treated as a learner in both China and Japan (as elementary scholars). My rants around that area are quite similar with those of the author of deschooling, so I will be brief here.

I was dissatisfied with how things are so structured in school, how you are supposed to do things that seemingly did not make sense (some of them still do not make sense), and most importantly, how they did NOT teach me what I really want to learn, such as the real English. Ever since I came to MIT, where everyone is encouraged to express their passion, ideals, pure interest (with or without skills or background associated with the interest), I have truly found a safe and exciting place to share such passion, anger, and ideals—about how education should work. I walked into MIT thinking that I will be a consultant on the way out. However, now I ended up starting my own English business in Japan over summer. I have never felt so driven and excited about my work and any project I have ever worked on. What has driven me thus far, must have a lot to do with the fact MIT had a place and environment to face my suppressed feelings and passion that I never realized I could channel to create something new and exciting.

That is just how I operate. Hatred and anger drives me further than love towards something. However, I believe a lot of other people are the opposite. Love for something, for example, drives some people better. Anyhow, I believe the type of education that gives children opportunity to reflect, verbalize and express (externally) their love or hate (or whatever strong emotion it is) would definitely be the first step.

3. Incomplete

Something incomplete inspires instant curiosity and creativity, way more than a blank sheet of paper. One of the best professors I ever had at undergrad for Dramatic Writing always had a prop for us. His assignment, without teaching us ANY dramatic theories, would start with:

Write a short scene that includes the following line:

“This is my past. I want you to have it.”

After giving us about 20 minutes, he would let us recite the scene and then start critiquing the insanely diverse and creative set of works that a bunch of college sophomores used 20 minutes to work on. Some wrote about revenge among school girls, others wrote about corporate restructuring and political drama. I have not really found the theory yet, but I firmly believe that incompleteness inspires, encourages, and engage people to be more creative.

4. Mind-blowing

Reality is mind-blowing. Something that challenges your previous paradigm is always fun to know. For example, if I previously thought I had to choose between A and B in my life, a cutting edge technology that enables me to do both would definitely blow my mind and redefine how I perceive the world. Naturally, I want to learn more about it.

5. A safe environment that encourages you to share

Needless to say, this is important. I loved Clive’s article about the importance of having audiences. Audiences challenge, inspire, and internally critique what you have even before you open your mouth. It’s redundant with point number 1, but sharing and inspiring needs a community, online or not.

Thus, above 5 conditions are what I think I definitely need to have to achieve the goal Q2 suggests. You probably figured that that is also where my passion is right now and I am absolutely committed to make a platform that answers the Q2 (since it’s phrased so well anyways).