Why Can’t American Education Move Forward?
Todd Brison

“a piece of yellow, lead-filled bark which they will likely never pick up again after they graduate.”

Don’t stop teaching your kids to use a pencil.

Interesting perspective, but not all of your thoughts are very practical or pragmatic, for that matter.

I take issuse with this statement, primarily because I’m a designer and a professor that teaches design and design thinking. The most primitive tool we can use for thinking, about anything, is pencil and paper. Its true that much of technology has taken over the very basic ways we do things. Future generations will be more prone to swiping their fingers, tapping keys, and soon enough simply speaking into and at devices that will communicate, translate and activate, functions and dictate operations. However, I’m a strong, strong advocate of that highly simple analogue device, that allows one to make marks on a piece of paper. The marks can be complex or simple, and depending on experience and/or practice the results can be quite remarkable. The beautiful thing to understand here is that it never malfunctions (without easy repair), or runs out of power. There are no software bugs, or algorithms that deter the output of the device. In fact with a very small amount of practice in hand, can become quite a sophisticated device. Age or generation is usually not a determining factor short of being able to hold the device and move it accross the page. The information derived is very personal as it becomes an extension of the user, from brain to paper. The device has not changed for many, many generations and will never change, and yet it is often taken for granted.

My point (pun intended), The current biggest problem with much of academia is that it is the latest industry to currently be disrupted. Technology, has added new avenues, methods and ideas for potentially more efficient (technologically) ways of teaching and learning. With that the generations have evolved, students trying to learn with this new technology, while many of the teachers are still caught in an era of how it was. Neither is wrong, only as any industry requires the time to catch-up to itself. Nuclear Power brought new efficiencies, in lieu of coal and oil, while nobody realized that Natural gas would become so cheap, again, making it inefficint to build Safe Nuclear plants. And all the while it was extremely costly to build new infrastructures with natural systems like solar and wind, but now that these new infrastructures have been built the cost is even lower that natural gas, because guess what, its free from the sun and wind (of course still many things left to be discovered). But these structures are based on larger macro economic forces. Education, especially higher education (as topic of this article), is currently suffering from a major state of confusion. We’ve been globally innundated with portable devices, that have so rapidly become both ubiquitous and in turn necessary to our very lifestyles, that many of the infrastructures have not yet caught up, including education.

Teach your children to use pencils, because its free, and intimate and a smart thing to do. Enpowered with this simple device, they will never have to worry about it crashing.

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