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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

21st Century Education? by Bryan

Food for thought.

So I just read this article in Time Magazine about bringing schools out of the 20th century.

So putting this in the context of your college education, here are a few questions:
1. What are the skills you hope to develop the most in college?
2. What are the most important classes you think you will take?
3. What do you want to learn or know that you don’t know know?
4. What type of environments are most conducive to learning for you?

Last year, Time also had a fairly interesting article that I highlighted in this entry.

11 responses to “21st Century Education?”

  1. Melissa H says:

    1. I want to develop the skills that will allow me to learn better. I know I can’t possibly learn everything in college, but learning to learn – that’ll serve me the rest of my life. I want to be able to think outside the box more and understand things quickly.
    2. The most important class will be the hardest class. This doesn’t mean the class with the most work, or hardest to get an A in – it means the subject that I will have the most difficulty wrapping my mind around.
    3. I want to learn way too many things, academic and not, so don’t start me on this one =)
    4. Hands-on, definitely. Someone can say the why’s and how’s all day long, but seeing it, experiencing it, whatever – that makes it concrete and real.

    end rant =)

  2. 1. In college I hope to develop skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I hope to develop skills that will help me when I pursue a graduate degree, and skills that teach me how to help the world.
    2. The most important classes are the basic classes. When you have the basics of something dpwn, it must be very easy to comprehend the rest. Like you cannot build a house that does not have a good foundation. If you do, the hous e will collapse.
    3. I want to learn everyhting that I possibly can that is new to me. I want to experience different seasons, different people, and different classes. I want to learn to live my life to the fullest.
    4.Cold and intellecutally stimulating environments. Also environments where I can have hands on experience and do research.

  3. 1. In college I hope to develop skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I hope to develop skills that will help me when I pursue a graduate degree, and skills that teach me how to help the world.
    2. The most important classes are the basic classes. When you have the basics of something dpwn, it must be very easy to comprehend the rest. Like you cannot build a house that does not have a good foundation. If you do, the hous e will collapse.
    3. I want to learn everyhting that I possibly can that is new to me. I want to experience different seasons, different people, and different classes. I want to learn to live my life to the fullest.
    4.Cold and intellecutally stimulating environments. Also environments where I can have hands on experience and do research.

  4. Kristin K. says:

    1. People skills, mostly. It’s not that I don’t have any now, but it will be a different kind of people skills than I’m used to – dealing with people who may have very little in common with me, and even living with them. I’ll also be on my own for the first time, and I’ll have to learn how much my values mean to me, and whether or not I’ll be wI also want to learn better how to think critically, how to take in all sorts of information and put it all together and derive something new from it.

    2. My writing classes – being a good writer affects you tremendously, whether you want it to or not. Written communication is everywhere in our world today, and often people’s first impression of you is your writing.

    3. Whoops, I think I kind of answered this in #1… but I want to learn about a million different things. What it’s like to be on my own, what it’s like to live in the cold, what it’s like to work in a lab, or be an engineer, or about differential equations. I really want to learn about Einstein’s relativity – I’m absolutely in love with it! I want to know what I’m going to do with my life – do I want to be a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, or something else? Most of all, I want to know what it’s like to be me, what I’m like in a totally new environment surrounded by totally new people with totally new options. Kinda scary, but exciting at the same time!

    4. I’m not really sure… I think I learn best when I’m allowed to figure things out on my own, and am given little hints along the way when I get stuck. Or maybe that’s wrong? I really don’t know. I think I like it when the teacher lectures, and then you go home with some problems and your textbook, and figure everything out. Yeah…sounds good. I think I’m pretty adaptable to whatever’s going on.

  5. milena says:

    1. I hope to be able to work better under pressure. I’m definitely efficient when pressed for time, but the pressure I will experience in college will prepare me better for my job doing whatever I’ll be doing when I graduate.
    2. I think that the most important class I will take is the one that makes me think and work the hardest, the one that you pull allnighters for and makes you feel a rush when you pass it with an A. These are the classes I usually learn the most from.
    3. I want to learn to be independent. I have been living with my family all my life, and now is the time to do it alone and be successful, and I think that will be the hardest thing to learn while in college. And I want to learn how to make sushi. Anybody care to teach me?
    4. I can learn something in practically any environment, the only thing I need is people who are as interested in learning as me. I can learn alone, working in teams, whatever. And also hands-on experience would be awesome smile

  6. me says:

    How can you learn to learn if you haven’t previously learned to learn? Otherwise you wouldn’t learn, ergo no learning to learn.

  7. Jenny Li says:

    1. I want to work in groups to solve problems, oh and TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS. My high school is, for the most part, too easy. So I just procrastinate on everything ever assigned…. I’d like to be able to make a timeline of stuff I’m going to do and actually go through with it.
    2. The classes that are most difficult for me – probably will end up being the writing classes, since I’m not much of a writer.
    3. I want to learn everything.. Technology, computers, everything about why stuff is the way it is…
    4. I like working in groups, where we can throw ideas around, and especially where I can fool around with stuff and see if it works.. Hands on projects and labs tend to be my favorite in school activities. smile

  8. Sarah says:

    1. I want to learn how to think outside of the box (even with the simple things in life). Sometimes, students are groomed to the book and notes lifestyle and are never given real-world experiences. I want to be able to take a situation that may seem impossible to solve and look at it from an angle that I have never viewed from before.

    2. I agree with the first response. The most important classes to me will be those that challenge me and push me to my ultimate mental (and possible even physical) limits.

    3. Academically, I really don’t know, whenever I find it, I’ll know. This is because it’ll be that one thing that grabs my attention and intrigues me. So, I guess aside from that, being an independent individual is something else that I would like to learn how to become. But I assume, college’s got that covered.

    4. I enjoy working both alone and within a group. I first begin alone and then complete all that I can. After I complete all that I can, I usually meet in a group to discuss the situations and problems we had when completing this particular.. in MIT’s case.. PSET, trying to find if one individual may be beneficial to the other.

    idk, random.. but it works. Study groups are GOOD.

  9. Adam S. says:

    If learning to learn is more important than learning, then learning how to learn to learn is even more important.. right?

    grin

    1. What are the skills you hope to develop the most in college?
    I basically agree with Melissa. Problem solving skills are the most important. I could know every theorem in the book, but without problem solving skills, I wouldn’t be able to do anything that a computer couldn’t.

    2. What are the most important classes you think you will take?
    Hmm… is the time that you spend outside of class considered a class? I think that the most important time I’ll spend in college is time spent with classmates. There’s a lot more to one’s education than their school classes. Having intelligent discussions with other MIT students would be an education in itself. (Of course, that assumes I’m accepted; I was deferred.)

    3. What do you want to learn or know that you don’t know now?
    Everything known to humans that I don’t know now, and then a bit more. That about covers it, I think.

    4. What type of environments are most conducive to learning for you?
    In my experience, I learn best by doing. I am a totally self-taught computer programmer. I have a much greater interest in computer programming than I would have had if I were taught in a classroom. I’ve had to solve a bunch of problems when making various programs for my own enjoyment, and now I’ve found that I can solve programming problems as well as most people who’ve trained by studying 2.7 bajillion algorithms… So yeah. Basically, hands-on self-teaching is best, IMHO. UROP, anyone?

    *Crosses fingers for MIT RA*

    Thanks for the post, I loved reading the other responses!
    -Adam

  10. Sarab says:

    1. I want to learn everything. Everything that interests and excites me and everything that makes me see the world with a new perspective.

    2. The most important classes I’ll take are how to live my life the way that makes me feel fulfilled on my deathbed, and the way to surrender to love and bliss. (Yes, I’m a romantic!)

    3. The list is endless.

    4. Enviroments in which whoever is there is glad to be there ,where questions fly thick and fast; where everyone learns something new and where no question is a dumb question.

  11. Z says:

    1. How to think in unconventional ways.
    2. The classes that will make me love a subject so much that I will want to pursue it in life.
    3. When the equation E=mc^2 will really be useful.
    4. An environment where everyone is EXCITED TO LEARN & PEOPLE LEARN JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT! Grades are just a formality…