Book: Moonshots in Education: Blended Learning in the Classroom by Esther Wojcicki

Moonshots in Education: Blended Learning in the Classroom by Esther Wojcicki

I met Esther Wojcicki during EU Hackathon devoted to education (which I kinda won).

She is a most amazing person, the most decorated highschool teacher in US, mother the founder of personal genetic sequencing company , ceo of youtube and mother in law of this guy.

Amazon Link

„Moonshots in Education” is a handbook for improving education situation in United States. It gives lots of examples from around the world how to make education less stagnant and more practical.

My takeaways are:

  • Everything should be a project, learning by doing is the best way to go
  • Enough with the grades!
  • Empower kids, you’ll be amazed

I immediately wanted to give this book to my mom (the teacher) but there is no Polish translation and most of the examples are tightly coupled with US reality so they could be easily refuted in the basis of not applying to Polish day-to-day.

My view on current education system.

I treat the topic of education very seriously. My mom is a teacher, I spent total of 7 years in colleges, earning 2 master degrees. I really, really wanted it to be all that was promised to be.I now consider it harmful for the vast majority of people to attend college.

I strongly believe, that the current educational system is useless because:

  • It focuses on theoretical instead of practical. Who in the workplace makes you take a test?
  • The whole environment is NOT designed to make learning better, it is designed to make TEACHING easier. Knowledge is standarized to make materials easier, tests are administered to makes sure teachers are following along
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_cycle.  By making people follow the same curriculum, you will loose at least 50% of your students

I think it is even harmful, because:

  • If it were more personalized, you could cut time for knowledge transfer by 70% for each kid
  • Kids loosing interest at early stages reinforce their opinion thet learning is not for them and become effectively disabled for life, since lifelong learning is extremely needed now
  • Kids WANT to learn, but school destroys that motivation
  • Higher education is preparing people for a different world. After university, the will think:
    • „If I do bare minimum, I’ll get an A”
    • „There is always a handbook for everything”
    • „I can take as much time as I want and learn everything on a topic”
    • „Having theoretical knowledge is enough for anything”

I will not even start on how school is missing on practical life skills.

After school we leave children asking themselves questions, full of useless knowledge and dread for learning.

„But we’re doing the best we can, it’s better then nothing!”

NO IT ISN’T.

There is abundance of free material that is lightyears better than what we are offering at so called „educational institutions” . Youtube, Khan Academy and others are free and ripe with knowledge that is interesting, of superior quality and in the medium kids are used to.

Plus, they can consume it at their own curriculum.

Let’s take advantage!

My highlights

  • There have been countless studies on learning and memory, and one prominent takeaway message is this: It’s not just the content, or what you’re learning, but also the details of when and how things are presented
  • grit, tenacity, and perseverance
  • Research 101
  • It’s not all about you
  • “Why spend hours ‘talking’ science to students when they can experiment themselves?
  • Joyce’s students played paleontologist as they used the technology to turn a 2D sketch of bones to 3D printed models.
  • then the problem would be on the way to be solved
  • learningaccelerator.org
  • MONSTER PHYSICS
  • Edutopia.org
  • “At present, there are very few examples of the preparation of teachers for the online environment.”
  • flipped classroom
  • In South Korea, according to a UNESCO report, pre-service teacher training in information communication technology (ICT) began in the mid-1990s at elementary and secondary teacher-training institutions
  • Five-Year Strategy plan “were mostly skewed towards the training of generic IT skills.”
  • It was preparing kids for the factory model; today we are preparing kids for a world we cannot even conceptualize. They need to think, not follow directions. We need to move forward, take a risk; we have the tools and the skills to change the classroom and make learning exciting and relevant for all students

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