Impressive. Powerful. Engaging. IMPORTANT. Education expert Tony Wagner presents a documented, comprehensive volume on what our children need to succeed NOW. What we have today in our schools and colleges are grades, standardized tests, competition to gain entry into colleges where the same negatives apply. We don’t teach thinking. We teach rote memory, we teach the ability to respond to whatever the professors or teachers want, and we teach obligatory answers. The outliers who stand out are often the children who will grow up to be our innovators, the people who think outside the box, who do not strive for the best grades but the best solution. Don’t ask questions, our educational system demands. Don’t explore, make mistakes, or use your imagination. Just answer the multiple choice questions and line up in the job queue waiting for a job. The Ivy Leagues remain some of the best at training students to obtain the ultimate goal – acquiescence to mediocrity.
As Wagner follows the paths of compelling young innovators and the innovative companies they have worked for, or startups these young people have begun on their own, he targets some of the best new programs in colleges today. These new curriculums offer hands on application of student projects and the projects are those that are forcing our economy. These curriculums teach team orientation and brainstorming to evolve students into the new breed of innovators that give back to the community. We cannot stand anymore on companies that hold allegiance to only the economy.
Wagner details the steps parents must take by following the parents of these successful young innovators and the atmosphere that they create in their homes: go for your passion, work hard, but play harder, and make mistakes. Think with your imagination and solve puzzles. Be who you are rather than answer by rote. Ask questions in your classes. Don’t fall into the Have to Attend the Ivy League to be Successful paradigm. These parents seek out schools that teach learning through play, from Montessori on through alternative high schools.
Obama’s demand that students from the 5th grade on must pass standardized tests ensures memorization without comprehension. Our kids are taught not to play creatively, not to take risks, and fail as part of their learning process and to accept that learning is boring. Wagner shows us that the opposite is what creates innovators. Find out the information you need, take risks, be persistent, and work with a team to solve the problems by asking the right questions.
This timely book is essential if our country cares about its future, its kids. Our educational system has failed. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc., are innovators. As Wagner listens to Apple and Microsoft personnel we learn what works. And his stories of many young innovators as he follows their lives, their paths and interviews their parents as well as presents their success prove meaningful. Essential, even.
And there is a plus – the book itself is an innovation. With more than 60 original videos embedded into the e-book edition, and in this book QR codes, we can follow visually the companies these young people have formed. And each and every one of them has the vision of giving back whether to world hunger or environmental concerns or engineering outlets to improve the world. Their mantra is we want to do something big and improve others lives. The QR codes are accessible by I Phone technology. Or they can be viewed at www.creatinginnovators.com.
Another essential that Wagner presents is the mentors that these kids had in school – those teachers that walked against the tides of mechanical testing. Those teachers who asked their students to apply their knowledge in applications, who had them form businesses in class as a group and follow the success of their businesses. These teachers are generally not full professors because they are seen as “not following the test path.”
A blog post cannot access books that make a difference – it can only guide parents and students to the books that are essential in our new economy. If you want your child to succeed in a world that has changed drastically, if you want your child to succeed passionately and care about the needs of our country and other countries, if you want an entrepreneur stop making your child attend every activity that’s offered after school. Let them play, let them learn to think. Support him or her.
AND READ THIS BOOK.
Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World is now available for purchase at Amazon.com and other retailers.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.