Help us, Obi Wan

Published by Lori Pickert on September 23, 2011 at 01:02 PM

What is your best idea for reforming K-12 education right now?

Project-based learning. — George Lucas, the founder of Edutopia as well as the father of Star Wars

He goes on to say:

In today’s world, students need three fundamental skills: they need to know how to find information, how to assess the quality of information, and how to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal. These skills are critical for college, careers and life in today’s Internet-connected world.

With project-based learning, students learn by designing and constructing actual solutions to real-life problems. Other important learning strategies include social and emotional learning — where kids learn how to cooperate, to lead, and to work well with different types of people. — ibid.

George, I raise my Star Wars Fan Club membership card and wave it in solidarity.

5 comments

Comment by Cristina on September 26, 2011 at 02:32 PM

Don't you wish all these millionaires and billionaires with these wonderful ideas would just start their own schools? Imagine. The Jedi Academy!

But I suppose it must still be hard to start something new with the way the system is set up today. What is needed is an alternative option that is offered for free to the low income families who would most benefit from it. (Maybe that exists already? Somewhere? )

Peace and Laughter!

Comment by Lori Pickert on September 26, 2011 at 05:16 PM

well, they are at least putting their money where their ideas are — bill gates (though i’m not a fan), george lucas with edutopia, warren buffet (giving money to bill & melinda gates), and etc.

"What is needed is an alternative option that is offered for free to the low income families who would most benefit from it." that is very interesting. i suspect that low-income families would be the least interested in something alternative .. in my anecdotal experience, they seem to cling the most ferociously to a traditional picture of education: homework, uniforms, etc.

Comment by Cristina on September 26, 2011 at 10:50 PM

I don't know. I think traditional public education gets defended because it IS the only option available that low income families can afford. If you look at places like Washington D.C., where there have been lotteries to get into alternative charter schools, there was no lack of interest in the alternative free school. I lived in a district with magnet schools, divided in special areas like science and the arts. While you did find parents who placed their kids purely for geographic convenience, you also got parents who genuinely hoped that sending their kid to a particular school would result in a different, better, or more interesting education. :-)

Comment by Lori Pickert on September 27, 2011 at 08:47 PM

i think i expressed myself badly — i was trying to say something about how low-income families seem drawn to rigor. :)

your comment about the parents who did choose "purely for geographic convenience" reminded me of the mom who said that she chose daycare over the progressive-education choice in our town (same cost) because it would add ten minutes to her morning commute. sigh.

Comment by kirsten on September 28, 2011 at 05:09 PM

That makes sense coming from George Lucas because those are the people he's looking to hire. I wish more people thought like that.

But I still don't know if I can forgive him for the prequels. ;)

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