Hacking Education

For me the word “hacking” is usually associated negatively in my vocabulary. I’m not very tech savvy, so usually hacking happens to me when my computer has been taken over or if I’m just having a bad social media day. After watching Logan LaPlante’s Ted Talks called “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy” and reading Bud Hunt’s blog post about hacking I think I could gain a new appreciation for the word. LaPlanteĀ asks his audience the age old question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What a challenging question for anyone to answer, I know 40 and 50 year olds who still don’t know what they want to do when they grow up and I personally admire them for that. If we are asking this question to children, I think the best answer we could hope for is that child wants to be happy when they grow up.

Something that I really enjoyed about LaPlant’s talk was when he said that most people are working toward making a living rather than making a life. This rings so true in the society that I have seen firsthand. People almost kill themselves over jobs they hate and trying to please people that don’t care about their efforts or struggles. I’m not saying it’s easy, kids are trained to believe that once you graduate college, you get the job that makes the most money, and you get married and start a family and that’s life. Better fall in line with the rest of lemmings of the world. Why not break through the mold instead?

By taking these ideas of hacking education to the public school systems we as educators have a chance to change how our future can be, and the happiness of future generations. In Bud Hunt’s blog he describes ways to hack a classroom or learning environment. Hunt uses three “lenses” to break through the constraints of learning: making, hacking, and playing. The one idea that stood out to me in this blog is the way Hunt explained his thoughts on playing. He describes playing as a way to search for freedom within constraints. Now I really appreciate this concept, but I do have one main question.

How as a teacher, do you teach a child to break the rules but also govern a balance between chaos and control in a classroom?

We want to teach creativity and freedom of the mind, but how do we teach that to a child who doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how to open their mind?

These questions boggle my mind when I consider teaching these ideas to young children. I’m sure the answers come with experience, but I am so scared of being the worst first, second, and maybe even third year teacher. Any thoughts or feedback on these questions would be so welcomed because as I am typing this blog I wish the answers would come to me in some spectacular form of clarity, but alas no luck.

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