Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where Are The Ideas?

Most kids these days are born digital. They live in a digital world, using digital tools, and connecting in digital environments. If we are doing our jobs right as teachers, students should also have the desire and motivation to pursue fresh and innovative ideas and create things people care about.

They have the tools. They have the ideas. Why aren't more of our students working with an entreprenurial mindset? Why aren't our kids making, designing, or marketing themselves. their ideas, or their creations? Does it have something to do with our classrooms? In a world where employers are begging for digital literacy and soft skills proficiency in the next generation of employees, we persist in asking "googleable" questions and forcing students to complete worksheets in the name of points and credit. As a result, we destroy any creativity, passion, or desire to create work students are proud of. 

If there's a solution, it's not an easy one. Most would say, "push an entrepenurial spirit" in the classroom. Teach courses on marketing and selling. Make public school business school. But to believe these are the solutions would mean ignorance to the real beauty and power of what entrepreuership is; A passion or a belief so much in your ideas that you feel the need to share them with others.

Neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs nor Mark Zuckerberg took a class in entrepreneurship while they were in school. They weren't taught to sell or market. It was never about making money or being efficient at managing resources. They were empowered to design and create something first, then market their idea to an audience. And the enduring truth that made their ideas reality was that they had others around them empowering their work and ensuring them that it was meaningful. I think we can take a meaningful lesson from that as teachers.

The secret to entrepreneurial mindset in our classrooms lies with indulgence. It lies with the respect of a student as a human being. It depends on supporting passion, curiosity, and talent, even when those things don't fill up columns in our grade book.

Human beings are born with the desire to create and innovate. We are also born with a propensity for socialization, to communcate and collaborate. These skills make us natural entrepreneurs. Sometimes ideas are silly. Sometimes they are crazy. Sometimes they are so stupid you don't even want to let the kid finish the sentence. But sometimes those ideas are Facebook. 

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