When I was a young child and asked why the answer from most adults was more than often “because I said so.”  I agree that there are some areas of life that children aren’t prepared to understand and that answer is likely the most appropriate one at the time.

The world is much different today and we need to know why and sometimes the answers that we receive don’t sit well with us as adults.  Many times we accept the answers as to not “buck” the system or doubt the expert but what if their answer is inconclusive?  What risks do we take by not challenging ourselves to either understand their answer better or discover if there is a better one?  Are we preparing the next generation to solve today’s complex problem and those unknown in the future?

We can start today with creation of ideas that develop into action plans.  Taking small steps of action is better than do nothing at all or taking only the information from the past and using it to solve unknown problems of the future.  Many pioneers from the past and present give us resources to start with and build on to thrust us into innovation for the ever changing present as well as the unknown future.  Venturing into the unknown is not just a far fetched idea of what it might be like years from now.  Instead we many times venture into the unknown on a day-to-day basis and we must prepare students to learn how to learn.  Research tells us that authentic learning from creation is a necessary lifelong skill.

Everyone has a stake in cultivating learners that innovate to solve seemingly unsolvable problems from health-care and education to social issues and job creation.  The foundation of problem solving skills that I acquired was simply through one robotics class in high school where students had to build, try, adjust and try or rebuild again until our project was successful.  The teacher of this class was supposed to teach us all year long but she merely observed and commented every now and then so we constantly called her the worst teacher ever.  I’m glad that she did not educate me so that I was able to learn.

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