If you go back 30 or 40 years in time and saw what school was like, you might have seen that students were taught theoretical concepts and were never taught how to apply them. Education at the time did not promote innovation or any practical applications which led to the majority of students having a hard time transitioning into the workforce because they did not possess any practical skills that they could apply to their work. If you don’t believe me, go ask your parents or your grandparents.
Now, flash forward back to today’s education system where technological resources are used and tests are replaced by projects to evaluate how well students apply learned skills to real-life situations. Students are being encouraged to be independent problem solvers instead of being trained to simply be workers in a large corporation where they are not making a significant impact in solving problems that affect the globe.
In the last 10-15 years, schools have heavily experimented with implementing projects into the curriculum and it had yielded favorable results as projects allowed students to find different ways to identify and solve problems instead of choosing the right solution to a given a problem on a multiple choice test. Various studies regarding project based learning (PBL) in the 21st century have shown that PBL can serve a wide array of students with distinct interests and PBL students tend to perform better academically.
With the adoption of various technologies within schools, the future of education lies with project based learning for 3 simple reasons.
1) Learning by Doing
This principle goes back to the fundamentals of education set forth by John Dewey, an American philosopher. A lot of children have learning disabilities and have a tough time taking tests and simply reading & writing. Everyone deserves education and in order to serve everyone and ensure students are ready for the future, schools will adopt project based learning to simulate real life situations. Students will then easily retain useful information and acquire problem solving skills by being placed in different situations.
2) Boredom Promotes Cheating
Donald McCabe of Rutgers University conducted a survey of 24,000 students from 70 high schools in which 95% of the students admitted to participating in some form of cheating. With students being given paper tests over subjects they’re not passionate about, it’s not completely unprecedented that such a high percentage of students are cheating. If students are given distinct projects that they are excited to work on, there would be no way they could cheat and they would be motivated to find solutions.
3) Innovation that Excites
(You might recognize this from Nissan ads.) There is no feeling equal to the feeling of creating something new that will change the world and project based learning gives kids in school this opportunity. The chance to experiment with different technologies to solve problems appeals to many students leading to intrinsic motivation. Schools will adopt the PBL method in order to promote innovation and allow kids to experiment with different solutions that actually help the world.
Project based learning allows students to have an open mind and be more independent in their decision making. This encourages students to take on problems that may seem daunting but they are still passionate about solving. By using the different situations from previous projects, they are able to solve these new issues. Eventually this passion turns into something they want to do daily and either just innovate, help others, or use it as a way to make money. And thus enters entrepreneurship.
Why Entrepreneurship Education is the Answer
Entrepreneurship is a recent trend that a lot of young adults and teenagers have been trying to adopt in an effort to emulate tech moguls like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. However, entrepreneurship is more than just a passing fad. Entrepreneurship is simply creating your own business and managing it. Entrepreneurship can be applied to any subject or topic of your choice and it allows that subject to be put into context within the global marketplace.
This clearly shows that entrepreneurship can be done with even the wildest of ideas like rockets. Any subject you are interested in can be put in context with entrepreneurship. Another thing you can take away from this is that entrepreneurship shows the value of hard work and that applies to everything else as well.
I’m sure you’ve all been mesmerized by brilliant corporate campuses (just go look at pictures of Google’s campus) that encompass sleeping pods and mini golf courses, but there’s a hidden problem of working there that most people don’t realize. Working at a large corporation may have all its perks and retirement benefits, but if you truly want to create something that you care about and impacts people around the world a large corporation will not give you the freedom to do so.
Corporations have an obligation to please their investors and in order to do so they cannot always pursue projects that people are passionate about. This is why young adults right out of college choose to start their own company instead of going to work for a mammoth company. They get the freedom to work on problems they are determined to solve and they also decide where company resources go.
Entrepreneurship allows founders to focus solely on their customers, mission, and product. Eventually, as more & more companies are started by entrepreneurs it creates a global marketplace where they can all partner up and still achieve their goals.
For example, one entrepreneur may be using her biology expertise to help fight diseases in third-world countries. Another startup may be interested in developing chips that serve as artificial organs for people with dysfunctioning organs. Both these entrepreneurs can choose to connect with each other or merge to innovate and achieve their goals.
Because so many entrepreneurs have built businesses that have had an impact on the world, education is adapting in such a way that allows any subject to be taught in a way that enables students to learn how they can solve problems with the knowledge they have acquired.
Next time you complain about some lame project your teacher assign, think about this: Would you rather take some boring test or develop your skills so you could be successful (maybe even an eccentric billionaire who lives on an island).