March 05, 2011

Gever Tulley: Don't make "vocational" a dirty word

In a four-part video series for GETideas I travelled the world in 24 hours and asked four educators I admire what their "two stars and a wish" for learning would be for 2011. I'll blog the films here over the next week.

In the last of our four films this week, Gever Tulley, founder of The Tinkering School and author of 50 Dangerous Things, Montara, CA, USA, thinks that we are forgetting about one of the most crucial parts of learning in the quest to increase the scope of learning in science, technology, engineering and maths:

"The first interesting thing about this interview was the speed - or lack of it - in the internet connection. Gever, and the rest of the West Coast of the USA, had just awoken and, as happens every day in late afternoon London time, the connection speed dropped to a snail's pace. This, even in a country like the UK, is part of the real digital divide that still exists.

"Gever feels that we're finally seeing the integration of technology to the learning fabric of the school. The best programmes seem to be those where there's a hands-off approach, where students are trusted to bring in and use their own devices and ideas. The iPad has become the companion of choice for youngsters on their learning journeys in this corner of California, where ad hoc, on demand research enrichens the experience and conversation that Gever and his collaborators have with the learners.

"We're figuring out the value of the creative programmes that, in these tough economic times, have been cut. As we erode children's exposure to the arts we also erode the opportunity that science is beginning to reveal: for example, that a child who plays music at a young age happens to do better, longer than those who don't.

"We need to stop relegating the vocational arts to secondary programmes and start embracing making and doing as part of the regular educational experience for both kids and adults."


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Hi Ewan

Stumbled across your blog,Im glad I did,loved your video regarding the way children learn from that early age,I teach guitar part time,I started playing guitar at the age of 16 yep thats 34 light years ago,

I had a student in 2005 he was 8 at the time, he had problems at school,his mother said at the time he had a condition ,I can not recall the name of it,I remember he could not sit still for a minute,

I played the guitar to him, he then stopped and watched me play, I then place a small guitar in his hands to see what he would do when I plucked two or three notes, I was amazed when he then plucked the same notes

after giving this boy lessons over a period of 6 months he had progressed more in 6 months than I did in the first two years as a 16 year old

I think your video is spot on

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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