Exploring educational innovation… by skateboarding with a UCLA professor.

Remember yesterday’s post on looking at adjacent domains for exploring innovation and learning? [No matter if you don’t.] Thanks to a conversation with a division head yesterday, we were reminded of Dr. Tae of UCLA.

There’s a lot to think about by going to the “skateboarding school.” [Contrast this with “bicycle school” ;-)]

TEDxEastsidePrep – Dr. Tae – Can Skateboarding Save Our Schools?

  1. Failure is normal. “It took me 58 times to get that trick.”
  2. Nobody knows ahead of time how long it takes anybody to learn anything.
  3. Work your ass off until you figure it out.
  4. Learning is NOT [always] fun. “A better word… is FLOW.” “Fun is very different from flow.”
  5. NO GRADES. “The goal in skateboarding is to learn the trick. The reward in skateboarding is landing the trick. Layering grades on top of this adds nothing to the experience at all. Skateboarding is not brought to you by the letter A.” [great visual of this point in minute 9:00!]
  6. NO CHEATING. “When learning is the goal and learning is the reward, there is no cheating.”
  7. NO TEACHERS. “Real-time meaningful feedback.”
  8. Spectrum of learning and spectrum of school are not currently aligned, equivalent, etc. [Really cool physics lesson and metaphor starts near minute 12:00!]

= = = = =

Related post:

What I learned from skateboarding at age 41 and 11/12…

2 thoughts on “Exploring educational innovation… by skateboarding with a UCLA professor.

  1. Bo, I’ve read and reread this and I’m dumbfounded and stunned. I’ve been reflecting on this all day since I read it this AM. I have a great yearning to see and experience school in the way described in #1-8. I wish there was a school (and all schools) with the approach listed above. Reading your post today struck a deep chord within me because this is what I am most interested in. This kind of approach to education is exactly in line with my beliefs about how people learn. My research project on young people gravitating to Communities of Practice is about the same thing really. To continue with the skateboarding example, you have young people who skateboard (all different skill levels). They may or may not practice with other local practitioners, but they’re all learning from each other. Even the most socially-awkward skateboarder is going to seek out media of some kind or another to learn what other skaters know. So there is a local Community of Practitioners in any field (literally, the people in your city or town) and there is the larger Community of Practitioners around the world who now share their skills and expertise online. It seems to me that young people of any stripe could seek out their local practitioners and/or global practitioners to learn from. That gets back to your idea about crowd-sourcing one’s education. I don’t know how to wrap up this Comment in any clear way, except to say that I have a strong desire to contribute to education transformation that honors how people actually learn–in order to ask [honor] the question of each individual: “How are you smart?”

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