It is not every day I have the opportunity to talk to an eager young physicist exploring the potential realities of science in science fiction classics. Maybe I need to get out more. And if I did, perhaps I would discover minds across our institution, city, and the world engaged in discovery and self-improvement. I might find them asking questions of each other on the roof-tops of Cedar Rapids. Or maybe I would just meet some weird and wonderful people, as Sam did on his journey this past Summer as a student in BIG.
Nicole and I also ask Jeff, Sam’s dad and engineering consultant, to share a parental perspective. I think it was clear from our conversation, father and son both enjoy this process of discovery. And why not spend a Summer researching and building and sharing your discoveries?
My mind is still spinning after speaking with Shawn Cornally of the Big Ideas Group. In some ways our discussion leaves me feeling sad that I didn’t have much educational choice. But it’s not about me and my learning any more. I can choose to learn in any way I want now. I find many of the big ideas discussed in this podcast exciting: inquiry and problem based learning (actual problems, not odd numbered activities), moving away from grades and toward feedback as a model to encourage learning, choices in educational venue, partnering with local entrepreneurs, competency-based assessment, public input on achievement, the hiphop model of education where we experience all the best parts over and over and over. So, yes Education is BIG. In its enormity, there is room for choice and exploration and much discussion.