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In this op/ed in the WSJ Scott Adams articulates a number of experiences that chronicle what he regards as the most important, useful lessons he has learned.  It reminded me of an op/ed in the Boston Globe recently (memory failing at the moment) by a Boston College professor who lamented that the students he is seeing today have been deprived of the opportunity to flounder.   One of the maxims of theoretical education is that most learning occurs from failure and I often hear quotations from geniuses including Einstein and Edison that echo the notion of taking risks that are likely to fail.  The freedom to fail is given by the assurance that regardless of the outcome, the experience will bear the fruit of learning (probably, if nothing else).  Can we create teaching environments that allow students the freedom to experiment and articulate their learning regardless of the outcome? 

 

That seems like a deliberative conversation in which ideas are presented, considered, and explored for value.  In a conversation we take reasonable risks in order to develop or refute ideas with the value of collective insight.  Of course the dynamic of the conversation is important (I don't bother having such conversations with people like Donald Trump, for example). We need to understand that our ideas will be looked at critically. 

 

One of the fundamental values of social media in education is our ability to train ourselves and our students in just this kind of conversation.  Socratic method with 21st century tools seems like a powerful idea. 

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