For the most part, teens are heavily involved in education. Many of the teens reading this blog and on Teens in Tech Connect feel that American education doesn’t create future innovators. Math, English, Science, and History are extremely important in engineering well-rounded students, but what about the skills students need to change the world? What about the students giving students the creative audacity to challenge the status quo? How will we solve the most pressing challenges without the ability to think outside the box?
I’m not suggesting we rework the entire education system, that’s someone else’s job to ponder, I simply want to add to it–specifically high school education. Let’s create a series of classes in high schools across the country called Innovation I, Innovation II, and Innovation III. “That sounds cool,” you say, “but what substance could these classes possibly have, especially for high school students?” That’s a valid question, and I only have part of the answer. Yet, here’s what I can tell you: the majority of high school students will rise to the occasion when they’re presented with a framework for approaching challenges and an engaging challenge. Believe it or not, a lot of high school kids who don’t do well in school have a good work ethic, but are not engaged by the content being taught.
A course on innovation should parallel the rapid nature of a startup incubator. Moreover, the course should expose students to the harsh reality of failure, while giving them the opportunity to improve through iterating. The goal needs to switch from engineering students to have command of a core body of knowledge into giving them the confidence to tackle challenges from an innovative point-of-view.