Incremental change leads to unsustainable educational paradigms

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In the same way incremental change can lead to undesired outcomes when we think about design, interfaces, or why the web does not resemble the memex, what happens if we extrapolate to other systems, such as education?

Changes in education are tough because the system has a lot of inertia and very little amount of incentives to innovate. When I had to teach Physics in high-school, I modeled my classes on the ones I received. I tried to make them better, but at best it was a marginal improvement. Moreover, I was in a context that didn't allow for much innovation.

An idea that changed how I perceived the process was that science in the classroom is separated from the real world outside.

The thing I am most satisfied with was relating the amount of water that flows through a dam (that the students visited earlier in the year) with the energy consumption at their houses. They could finally understand what the $$kWh$$ meant, and the massive amount of water that is required just to switch the lights on.

In light of the climate breakdown and the need to find solutions and adaptations from multiple disciplines, can we still afford to think about conservation of energy as something that happens only 4 hours a week during a Physics class?

In the same way that gravitational potential energy transforms into a light bulb on, bottled energy in the for of oil is the source of the conflicts in the South China Sea. Redox reactions are the core of chemical batteries, which could one day become a commodity (in which China, again, has a dominant position because of its geography).

Is it reasonable to think that while we add incremental changes in education we are moving away from what the world will need from future generations?

Society in general tolerates people 'who are bad at maths'. This has a strong correlation with being bad at 'natural sciences'. Can this be also referred to as 'being bad at understanding the world'?

Interestingly, this is not related to having more STEM students (see: Why doing a PHD), but to having better citizens.

Can the things people learn from transclusion and annotate the web be extrapolated to a holistic approach to education?


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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