That said, thank you for taking the time to read this blogpost, as these days I don’t take any time and energy that people expend on WonderLab for granted!
So, time to get to the point—or as is often the case at WonderLab, the question. When it comes to thinking and learning, what keeps you busy? More specifically, do you spend more time receiving knowledge or seeking knowledge?
I have been asking this question of a lot of people lately, and though my dataset will only grow over time, I have two initial observations:
1) Adults’ answers depend largely on what they do during their working hours.
2) The resounding majority of kids—whether in public or private schools—are decidedly receivers of knowledge.
This first observation is by no means surprising, right? Perhaps what is more interesting, is that I’m seeing here in Austin, TX what noted American economist and sociologist Richard Florida predicted back in 2002 when he penned The Rise of the Creative Class—the increase in the number of workers “whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or creative content.”
I’m meeting a lot of professionals in science, engineering, design, education, the arts, music and entertainment who spend more time seeking knowledge than receiving it.
Yet this is of course what makes my second observation alarming. If the burgeoning “creative class” are a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities in the United States, why do we continue to educate kids in a system born in the industrialized age—where students are “talked at” more often than asked questions or proposed challenges? Why do we continue to believe that kids will go to school, receive the knowledge that they need to get good grades—knowledge that coupled with the “right” extracurricular activities, will get into a “good” college, and then get a “good” job?
“...why do we continue to educate kids in a system born in the industrialized age?”
So though I certainly empathize with the busy families who feel they can’t find the time in their schedules for WonderLab, I gently encourage them to consider how much of their kids’ current activities are based around receiving vs. seeking knowledge.
My sincere hope is that they find the time for other learning experiences where the goal is not to transmit and receive knowledge, but to seek knowledge that inspires them and ignites a love of learning.
Thanks again for finding the time to receive this, and more importantly, thank you in advance for finding the time to seek your own questions and answers as a result!