Do Schools Kill Creativity?

It is possibly a symptom of something awry in our culture that the most-viewed TED talk ever is entitled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” (The existence of TED talks themselves might be another symptom, but nevermind.) The 20-minute speech by British education guru Ken Robinson has been viewed 43 million times since being given in February 2006, about the …

Books to Get Your Students Outside

Books to Get Your Students Outside and Immersed In Nature Nerdy Book Club This looks like a great collection of children’s books about nature and ecology. There’s something here for every age, from the picture book Little Owl’s Day to The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, a YA novel about mountain climbing.  The list was …

Education of a Computer

Yale University recently announced the renaming of John C. Calhoun College to honor computer programmer Grace Hopper. The replacement of an impassioned defender of slavery with a trailblazing woman of STEM obviously reflects our changing views of race and gender. Yet the move also makes a statement about what education should do: bring people together, …

Help Your Child to Wonder

Are we losing our knowledge of the natural world? Amanda Giracca’s Orion essay “Into the Field” takes on this very broad question by looking at a specific issue: the decline of field research courses in biology education. She tags along on a “Concepts of Ecology” course that brings Prescott College students to study the flora and fauna of …

The Education of Innovators

How do people imagine things that have never existed, then go out and actually create them? In The Innovators, a dazzling history of the digital revolution, Walter Isaacson explores “how innovation actually happens in the real world.” Weaving together the history of physics, programming, networks, and much else, Isaacson shows how computers and computing produced the world …

Nature in the Margins

One of the inspirations for this blog is Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, originally published in 2005. Louv argues that today’s children are being increasingly alienated from the natural world. “Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically . . . . Today, …

Doing the Wrong Thing Right

Are schools “doing the wrong thing right”? Will Richardson argues that educational institutions focus more on efficiency than effectiveness, that is, the perfection of certain techniques regardless of whether those techniques actually work for students. This “wrong thing right” tendency seems to be the special affliction of many so-called “good schools.” Thus we see ever …

Welcome to Margins!

“I love a wide margin to my life,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. I began this blog out of an interest in how margins might help us learn and live better. The margins of books let readers write back to authors. Marginal landscapes hold unnoticed beauty and overlooked possibilities. Marginal people create new ideas and new …