Educating Net-Genners

In my last blog post I suggested that net-genners (under 28-year olds) are not employable in the old employment model and that we need to reinvent the way we view employment for it to succeed with the net-gen. On reflection I think that the way we educate in the net-gen era is even more in need of reinvention, don't you agree?

Think about it: Information has lost its value -- all of it is freely and instantly available on line. So what should kids be learning in school? Certainly not information. They should be learning how to find wisdom, principles and insight in information. They should be learning superb communication and language skills and high levels of math competence, because with language and math they can find and share all the information they need. Teachers should inspire rather than inform. They should teach students how to ask questions not to answer them. They should trigger students' curiosity to search for what is new rather than collect and memorize information that is old. They should help students discover their own passions rather than expect them to embrace the passions of their teachers. They need to school students in character not just in competence, because their human greatness will distinguish them in life more than their knowledge and skills. As Steve Blank said in his May 15 Philadelphia University Commencement Speech:

It's your curiosity and enthusiasm that will get you noticed and make your life interesting -- not your grade point average.

But for this to happen we need to reinvent the way we train, manage and reward teachers and the way we test students. We need to kill the current environment in which education has become the skill by which to manipulate the system to obtain the required grades. Then we can nurture the birth of a new order of education, a journey during which students discover their passions and grow their curiosity, deepen their insights, develop their creativity, and grow their characters with discipline and virtue.

Do you know teachers who have already adjusted to the world in which information has no value and are teaching the kind of things no student will ever find on the internet? Let's hear about these trailblazers, they are our hope for the future.

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