Why is the Education System NOT Letting You Carve Your Own Path?

I was watching the video, Creating Your Own Path featuring Mark Surman and I was quite intrigued by this ideas and as I started writing I started getting fired up!

When I heard him ask, “Why are we memorizing Shakespeare?” I found my head nodding in agreement. In this day and age with so many tools and information surrounding us the need to memorize a play is not a necessity. I think it needs to be studied and discussed, but not memorized.

As he continues to chat he discusses how he did not want to copy someone else, he wanted to make his own work. What a great mindset. This is a mindset that I value and work to push into schools and with students and educators. The issue that I have noticed is that not every student has this type of mindset.

Nor should they. I don’t think we can have a society of everyone charting their own path as there are many avenues of living that are quite pleasant by working for someone else and being told what to do. Some personalities lend themselves to this type of lifestyle.

HOWEVER, more than ever before students can have an opportunity to lead a life they want. They don’t need college and perhaps not even high school to chart their path. They can make change at a young age with social media and being able to connect with people from all over the world. It is our job as schools to bring to light the opportunities that students have today.

When he talks about the school systems of today being industrialized and schools not wanting him to discover as student I became fired up. He talks about how to “hack” education to problem solve and create. The issue here is that he had to hack the system. The system should be updated enough to allow him to have these opportunities without being a rebel and going against the grain. It should be celebrated and the pathways to do this should be built into the school system.

The discussion on badges is interesting, but in the end the question is posed, “Why even have a degree anymore?”

He talks about that he hires based on what the applicant has done, not what they studied. I hear this more and more. I heard this in the panel discussion at #educon as well as in various discussions. This leads me to help push teachers and students to continue to strive and develop a positive digital footprint. What are you doing to brand yourself? What are you creating to show your learning process and how you have growing and adapting?

Many educators are behind in this mode of thinking and therefore students are missing out. These skills need to be taught in the colleges so when educators graduate with a degree they already have a brand, they know how to market their skills, and they know how to teach students to do the same. I don’t believe that this is optional anymore. It should be mandatory that students start at a young age to understand digital awareness so that when they enter middle and high school they start to craft their brand as a person. The degrees, honor roll awards, GPA, etc. are all fine, but the student market is saturated with these numbers. What are you doing to stand out among the rest? That is what educators need to help students find answers to during their education career.

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