Why Edu-Cat-Ion?

Why do we need another Web site that talks about education?

Why is there a picture of the space shuttle blasting off?

And why is education spelled that way?

Almost unbelievably, this site was “launched” 9 years ago (now you know the answer to “Why” number 2, and can it really be that long?).  At the time, there were many voices about education in cyberspace today, and today there’s even more!  This one may have impact, or it may not, but you can’t gain anything without risking something.  Who could have thought that a guy named Bill Gates would create a company that has had the impact and influence that Microsoft has on the world of computing.  All he wanted to do when he started out was to create a computer operating system that could handle more than one program simultaneously.  Anyone remember the IBM XT that ran MultiMate as the word processing program?  If you wanted to change to Lotus 1-2-3, you had to close out of MultiMate on that computer which could store a whopping 512MB of information on its hard drive.  For comparison, today’s 128GB iPhone has 256 times the amount of storage space!

Then what will make this site different from other sites?  We’ll share that in next week’s article.  As a preview, let’s just say that everyone wants to improve education, but how we’re going about doing it is causing frustration, consternation and a lot of other “ations” that you could name.  Many of today’s attempts at improvement are remedies, but, similar to health care, are designed to treat the symptoms.  The next five content articles will take a look at things that have to happen long before school begins to “prepare” the child’s mind to be open to learning, since we all know that children learn differently than adults.  Each of those 5 things by themselves can have an impact, but when simultaneously considered as a system, the results can be astounding.

So why edu-cat-ion?

We all know what edu stands for.  It’s the URL extension that signifies an educational institution.  Cat provides a reference to “Cat Theory.”  Some would think this is an erudite reference to Schrodinger’s Cat Theory, a thought experiment which provides an analogy and not a proof to paradoxical observation, that, in quantum physics, matter can exist in two states simultaneously.  The analogy is that the cat can be both alive and dead at the same time.  How can that be?  A simple explanation is to put a cat along with food and water in an opaque box with air holes punched in it.  The assumption is made that the cat has all it needs to survive.  But does it?  And isn’t that how we sometimes think about education?

But it’s not that – it’s more along the lines of Cat String Theory, which is often discussed when talking about human attraction.  Cats are always curious about things, but they’re only curious when something “remarkable” happens to things.  Put a ball of string down in front of a cat, and they’ll ignore it (unless it’s filled with catnip).  But set it down across the room, and, after a period of time, move some air across it so that it rolls, the cat will go investigate on their own.  Then they’ll sniff at it, bat it around, pounce on it, bite it and have a grand time with it until it no longer does something remarkable.  That said, education must be continuously fascinating to the learner.  Once it becomes “boring,” it holds no interest to the learner, no matter how well-crafted the lesson plan is…or is thought to be.

As for “ion,” to continue the physics reference, that’s a charged particle.  It can be positively charged, or negatively charged.  And isn’t that how our discussions and ideas regarding education are today?  Common Core is a good idea!  Common Core is a bad idea!  STEM is cutting-edge innovation!  STEM is old news!  Classroom education is alive!  Classroom education is dead…and there’s Schrodinger’s Cat again!  And while the pandemic showed us that it’s possible for students to learn remotely, it’s not a replacement for the classroom experience.  The immediate change from classroom learning to distance learning resulted in gaps in the educational process that will take years to remedy.

Education is all about change, since learning occurs only when change happens, yet everyone seems to not just dislike, but hate, and sometimes, abhor, change.  Discussions about education are indeed “charged” with emotion.

Before you leave today, take a look at Sal Kahn’s TED presentation from 2011 on education at http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education?language=en

We hope you’ll subscribe and enjoy the ride!