0280 – College: Why do cooler things happen at night?

This is another CGI U-inspired post. Ashifi Gogo, CEO and founder of Sproxil, was on one of the panels at CGI U this past weekend. He is Dartmouth’s first-ever Ph.D. Innovation Fellow. I just checked out the PhD program, and its sounds pretty cool! Ashifi told us that the program started because the administration realized that students had cooler things going on at night.

That left me thinking.

Learning should be fun, right? To me, education inside the classroom should be as fun as the stuff outside the classroom. Stuff we do during the day should be cool and exciting and energetic and different and fun. Our education system (I speak for my experience in engineering) has been largely reduced to textbook-based transfer of knowledge, increasingly theoretical and routine. While those textbook stuff is necessary, there is a lot to be said about engineers’ roles in social change. The College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, where I’m currently studying, has really been speaking up a lot about engineers working on social change. There is a disconnect between what the College is promoting–the social impact of engineers–and what is being taught. Because most of what we’re learning in the classroom doesn’t help us with creating social impact. Something’s gotta give.

We shouldn’t have cooler things to do at night in college. Learning and playing should be integrated in order to nurture our creativity. Textbook knowledge needs to translate to practical innovation. Our classroom really needs to be the world, not a tiny space.

Times are changing. The education system must adapt with the dynamism and challenges of the 21st century.

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3 thoughts on “0280 – College: Why do cooler things happen at night?

  1. acrumdy April 5, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    This is something that I think about a lot. How can I use what Im studying, Anthropology, to be relevant and useful to the communities in which I work? It’s sometimes really hard because the emphasis is always on the theory and not really about applying what we know. How do you see yourself using your degree to make social change?

    • Pete W April 5, 2012 / 3:22 pm

      I don’t see it. That’s the problem. It’s so… disconnected from the world. It really is all about the textbook now. That’s why I think education needs to be much more flexible and dynamic.

      • Mike Florek April 5, 2012 / 4:18 pm

        I agree. In the class room nothing is going on. When I came to college I figured my classes were going to build off each other, but they rarely did so. After four years I’m really left with a bunch of disjointed and almost random knowledge. But I get a piece of paper that says I’m college educated, and really that’s all that matters.

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