Thursday, 23 April 2009

Education vs Fun?

Today I've found a Guitar Hero video at youtube that shows quite clearly why some of us strongly believe that education should also be funny and enjoyable. Kids and students would learn much faster and would achieve unparalleled skills in science, math, history, and anything else they´d try if they enjoyed while studying instead of getting absolutely bored.

Example #1:

How many hours do you think this guy dedicated to Guitar Hero, just to be able to do this? Anyone who has played this game knows that the answer is: A LOT. Probably much more than the hours needed to pass any subject at university. And why he did that? Well, some people would say that probably because he has no life at all ;). Maybe. But the truth is that he was able to do that, because it was fun. That´s all.



Example #2:

Professor Walter Lewin is a physics teacher at M.I.T.

Everybody say that MIT is one of the best places to study on earth. And everybody say, that´s just because it´s one of the more expensive too. Well, in part may be true but… There are other reasons as well:

1.- Apart form the fact that this people probably earns a very decent amount of money, the motivation and vocation of people like Walter Lewin is out of any doubt. It´s very unusual to find that kind of passion at any university here, and our teachers have decent salaries as well. Check out:

2.- Harvard or MIT teachers don´t have a life-lasting job no matter if they do it well or not. They have to pass evaluations and their job depends in part on that. As few as a 20% or less of my university teachers really liked the job and tried to do it well. The rest were just there because it´s a safe job, no matter what they do, installed in mediocrity.

3.- I was visiting Harvard and the MIT once, and it was an impressive experience. Apart from the resources they have, it´s astonishing the level of proximity and normality found in teachers that are actually “legends” in their fields, with dozens of published books. I had the honor to assist to one lecture by one of this guys. When my friend asked him for permission for us to attend, he said: “Of course” and came to us to introduce himself with a handshake. And it was even better. After presenting the case they were studying that day, and after introducing to the class the CEO of the company they were talking about that day, he introduced us: “the four Spanish friends of David that come today to visit us”. I really couldn't believe it. This is what you usually find at the doors of the teacher´s offices at the M.I.T: “You don´t have to knock. Please come in! ”.


So, maybe we don´t have as much money as the MIT, but that´s just one part of the equation. Why don´t we at least try to imitate what we know is good? We don´t need money to be passionate, close and gentle. We don´t need money to take the trouble of being fun in our lectures. Do we?

So fellas: let´s make it fun and passionate!


jk said...

Totalmente cierto, en mi pais lamentablemente llegamos a un punto donde el concenso general es que "aprender es de tontos". Es muy triste la situacion actual, la base del progreso de un pais es contar con gente apasionada y capacitada, pero estos especimenes se encuentran en vias de extincion.

PD: mucho del material usado en los cursos del MIT se encuentra disponible en su web.

Iñaki Ayucar said...

Muchas gracias por el apunte. Habrá que buscar ese material. Salu2