In Seth Godin's recent manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams - a critique of our nation's public school system - he praises the F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for its efforts in exciting youth about science and technology and teaching them valuable employment and life skills.
Here's the excerpt:
The largest robotics competition in the world organizes hundreds of thousands of kids into a nationwide competition to build fighting robots and other technical fun.
Last year, more than 300,000 students participated, surrounded by their peers and the 50,000 mentors and coaches who make the program possible. A recent university study of past participants found that FIRST participants in college were:
More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
Roughly ten times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
Significantly more likely to achieve a post-graduate degree.
More than twice as likely to pursue a career in science and technology.
Nearly four times as likely to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
When you dream about building the best robot in the competition, you’ll find a way to get a lot done, and you’ll do it in a team. When you dream of making an impact, obstacles are a lot easier to overcome.
The magic of FIRST has nothing to do with teaching what a capacitor does, and everything to do with teamwork, dreams, and most of all, expectations. FIRST is a movement for communicating and encouraging passion.
Thanks for the recognition Seth! It's truly an honor to be a small part of such a remarkable volunteer organization that makes a difference by doing work that matters.
Stop Planning, Start Guessing
This is one of my favorite plans from the book Rework:
Feel like you can’t proceed until you have a bulletproof plan in place? Replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. That’s all plans really are anyway: guesses. I think companies often over think, over do, and over devote to planning. So next time call a plan a guess and just get to work.
In my experience, I can get so hung up on a plan that I miss great opportunities that are right in front of me. If you're not aware of any great opportunities, it's likely you're too focused on your plans. Has you ever done something spontaneous and its made all the difference in your life? Or someone else's life?
Start calling plans guesses, keep your head clear, and be aware of the opportunities that pop up all around you.
Now don't miss this bear! I did my first time. I was so excited because I was able to keep track of all the white team's passes, but sadly I completely missed the moonwalking bear.
Video & Multimedia Skills
In a blog post Seth Godin expressed the necessity to have video and multimedia skills by stating:
Learn to produce extraordinary video and multimedia. This is just like writing, but for people who don’t like to read. Even better, be sure to mix this skill with significant tech skills. Yes, you can learn to code. The fact that you don't feel like it is one reason it's a scarce skill.
I've been working on my video editing skills with iMovie for the past year or so. I think I'm getting better, see for yourself and let me know.
Project Based Learning is where critical thinking, collaboration, and communication meet.
The easy way to teach would be to have students memorize information that could easily be Googled. Hey, it meets the status quo.
Or students can solve problems. Give them a project to work on, something they can experience and they will never forget the lessons learned.
Last week I unplugged from all social media...come to find out I didn't miss much. I recommend trying it sometime.
I spent 5 days in the Dixie National Forest near Panguitch Lake, Utah. I've loved the outdoors since I was a kid, while I haven't spent that much time in a tent since scout camp in the '90s is was good to get a change of scenery.
At the Color Country Natural Resource Camp we take 40 students, remove them from their mobile devices, online social networks, and provide them with a hands-on learning experience they will never forget. They make (real-life) friends with students of rival schools and embark on an adventure of self discovery. It must be experienced to truly be appreciated.
This summer camp is the answer to what's wrong with formal education. The camp runs like this:
Youth spend 4 hours each morning doing hands-on investigations in the following fields of study:
Professionals are invited to the camp to lecture on various subjects. This year we covered:
For more information on the Color Country Natural Resource Camp in Washington County, Utah please visit: www.ccnrcamp.org
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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