The TED talk video I had watched previously to this post can be located at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY#action=share
The blog post by Bud Hunt that I had read prior to this post can be found at http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2012/05/24/centering-on-essential-lenses/
Now, this video and blog post had one very big topic in common- hacking. When you read that word and say it to yourself you get a very negative feeling, like it is someone who is up to no good, or as the TED talk video says, “A forty year old man living in his mother’s basement.” Each of these sources squashed that negative connotation, and Bud even talks about the original meaning of the term. Many people do not know this, and I did not either before having read Bud’s post, but a hacker, as he states it was “a fiddle that improved a process or a program.” This was very eye-opening for myself because I had always thought of it in a negative way, which is what I can almost guarantee you did, or still do, too.
Bud goes on to explain that everyone used to love hackers because they would take something and find a way to make it better, or improve it. In the TED talk video, a thirteen year old boy talks about how he has hacked the education system in this country, and it is very appealing. This boy was taken out of the schooling system when he was just nine years old. His mother made the choice because she thought there was a way to hack the schools, which, as the boy states, can be faster, easier and have better results. I have never thought of this before. I had always thought that teachers knew what was best for us and were teaching us how to be successful in the future. How could I be so naïve? Just as the video discusses, we are being taught how to get good grades and get a good job and make lots of money. I mean, do not get me wrong, those are all good things, but what we are never taught is how to be happy.
It had never occurred to me that there is so much knowledge outside of the classroom that all of us have access to. The only problem is that we are not told what that is. We are too busy being taught how to prepare ourselves for the future; it’s always the future, isn’t it? Middle school prepares you for high school, which prepares you for college, which prepares you for a career that will pay your student loans back after twenty years, then the career makes us money to prepare for retirement. There is never a time where we live in the present.
Now, you are probably thinking, “Well, we are supposed to learn those things outside of the classroom on our own through life experiences.” Is that so? Sometimes there is no “outside of the classroom” because kids bring books and papers do homework until dinner time, then it is time for bed and the next day is put on repeat. How can students be happy if they are forced to do things that they may not have any interests in? How can they have life experiences if those experiences are laying in bed doing homework? This is where hacking comes into play.
The boy in the TED talk video is thirteen years old and he probably has more life experiences and knowledge of how to be happy and live life to the fullest than me, and I am twenty one years old. For me, as an elementary education major, this speaks volumes. I plan to have the children in my classroom to learn about things that interest them. They will want to learn because they have interests on the topics. I will not teach to all of my students using the same strategy because they all have different interests and learning in completely different ways.
I will be the hacker.