Nov 25, 2011

Response to “Ready to Innovate”

We are in a cycle right now that has the current generation in power nervous after the events that have transpired over the past ten years. We have realized that the structure and subject matter of our educational system is not preparing people to identify the problems and propose solutions to the challenges that will inevitably confront them. And this is terrifying to many people, enough so that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way.

Education is a cycle like anything else, but it is interesting because of the inertia surrounding public, mass educational infrastructures. There is always something exciting at the edges, but why has it not been adopted? There is a tipping point that has been growing in the direction of technology, much like the one surrounding math in the 80s, etc., and it seems odd that policy makers and government officials (money holders) are starting to place stock in the influx of research illustrating the correlation between education and economy.

This report surveyed US secondary school superintendents and potential employers to explore if educators and executives are aligned on the creative readiness of the U.S. workforce. They found some quite interesting disparities. For example, the most relevant to my thesis at the moment is the distinction between creative problem solving and creative problem finding:

Creative problem solving
Superintendents – 48
Executives – 24

Creative problem finding
Superintendents – 23
Executives – 47

If this seems nuanced, it is absolutely not. This is the crucial distinction that marks a key argument for computational thinking (which would be creative problem finding, i.e. debugging). It is an approach, a way of thinking that promotes more creativity and innovation, at least in the seasoned eyes of executives.

Lichtenberg, James, Christopher Woock, and Mary Wright. Ready To Innovate. Workforce Readiness Initiative. The Conference Board, 2008.

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