Monthly Archives: February 2012

This is Alisa.

We are extremely excited to share our completed claymation Public Service Announcement: This is Alisa.

This is Alisa. She is many ages at once — 6 years old chronologically, but 20 when she reads astronomy, 8 years old socially, and 4 when she tries to write neatly. She is asynchronous. Some people call this being a high-potential child. But her potential will never be realized if her extremely intense needs aren’t met.

The fact that society is failing to meet Alisa’s needs is damaging, frightening, and alienating to her. She should have the same right to have her needs met as any other child.

There are thousands of kids like Alisa in the United States, kids who are many ages at once. They are as diverse as the population of our country. They all require support for their intense needs. The Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund aims to use a proven model to support them.

You can make a difference. Donate to the Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund today. Thank you for your support!

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Why Must We Mass-Produce Education?

There are so few original ideas. Modern education is modeled on mass production. We despair of this, because the one-size-fits-all system really doesn’t fit all. This isn’t an original idea by any stretch; besides people saying this in recent years, in particular with dismay about the failures of No Child Left Behind, they have been saying it for a very long time.

I read an excellent blog post today about the idiocy of taking a single element from a reasonably successful school system (Finland), beaming it down into our system, and hoping inanely that it will work out of context. I then came across the recent announcement of Google’s answer to TED talks, “Solve for X.” One of the speakers, Michael Crow of Arizona State University, described how they’ve completely scrapped the artificial construct that is the classification system for educational study at higher education levels, in favor of a new approach that focuses on outcomes like sustainability and exploration. Some of their work encourages extraordinarily creative sci-fi thinkers to envision what might solve various problems humanity faces, and then tackles the practical side of realizing those visions.

And somehow this led me next to Temple Grandin’s 2010 TED talk. Her point was that the world needs to heed divergent minds, because some of those most divergent, like hers, can lead to the most surprising innovations and discoveries.

Meld this all with what we’ve learned about educating (or, to be more accurate, keeping up with) exceptionally and profoundly gifted and asynchronous children, and you have the makings of a major revolution… but not an original one, just the same one people have been having since we began to standardize compulsory education. Children are not homogeneous. They have different, varying needs. Some of them have extreme needs. Their educational system must accommodate those needs, or they won’t learn, much less thrive. And if our educational system encourages extraordinary creativity, married with practical approaches to realizing these creative solutions, mightn’t we be better off than with a system that encourages rote memorization, lock-step thinking, and outdated assembly-line approaches to problem-solving?