Science and Making

Some thoughts on science education from Seth Godin in a presentation for the 2012 New York MakerFaire:

If you sit in a science lab, in a high school class, you will not see any students doing science. What you will see them doing is following the instructions to demonstrate that they know how to go through the steps of doing science that someone else did 40 years ago, or 400 years ago. And if they try to innovate, if they try to be a maker, if they try to understand and see what doesn’t work, they get marked down. And then if they get marked down enough, they have to be reprocessed and do it again.

Making is what science education should be all about. Instead kids do a lot of memorizing and replicating processes with predetermined outcomes.

Then there is his observation about creativity.

And if we think about what we ask people to do when we pretend that we are challenging them to be creative, we’re not challenging them to be creative at all. We’re challenging them to look like the person who came before them.

Finally, Godin’s wonderful definition of making: “What real makers understand is this: if it might not work, then you’re doing some making.”

The 27-minute talk is worth watching.

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