Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Preparing for Life with Real World Simulations

Guest post by Mike Kramlich

I
nnovation in education is about doing things better.

And it starts with imagination.


Imagine an education resource that lets you live out a life in someone else’s shoes. 


Imagine being able to experiment with different choices, see their consequences, and learn how it affects others. Imagine if there was a simple way to learn how to better set goals, achieve your dreams, consider a fuller set of opportunities and consequences in typical daily life situations, and gain the ability to “think six moves ahead” on the chessboard of life. Imagine if the purpose of all of this was to better learn how to live a happy and healthy life, how to raise a better family, be a better friend, a better community member, a better employee and business partner, how to be a better human being and contribute to a better society both politically and economically and ethically.



Imagine all the above and more in the form of interactive software that is web-based and able to be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device whenever you happen to have the time and energy and interest. Imagine your children being able to play with it and learn from it. Your students. Your employees. Perhaps job applicants. A potential business partner or entrepreneur you’d like to invest in. Anyone seeking a new and potentially more effective way to be educated or assessed or both.


Imagine that instead of focusing on educational goals or topics which are mere proxies for the thing we want, however noble and foundational they clearly are (math, language, and science for example), we focus on the real outcomes we want: better human beings and a better society. Teaching people how to solve real world problems that almost every human will have to face like making friends, knowing what makes you happy, how to manage money wisely, how to raise a family, how to make job-finding easier, how to turn a crisis into an opportunity and how to see opportunities everywhere. Not abstract artificial ones that very few people and professions have to actually master (examples: calculus, painting, cheerleading, literature theory.) What if there were less testing of artificial topics and narrow academic subjects and more preparation for the actual real world skills that the game of life has in store for all of us.


Well the good news is that there’s a new company that is putting this into place and they are inviting readers of the Innovative Educator blog to become early users and testers in return for feedback. Simply email your interest to groglogic+egie@gmail.com. Put “Imagine Tester” in the subject line and a sentence or so about how you could see using this with students in the body.  

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Mike is a software developer and long-time believer in education of all kinds. He is a huge STEM proponent but is also into the trunk and root system, and the leafy green things. His website is http://Synisma.com.
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