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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What kind of kid were you?

Lately I have been working on trying to determine how we can make education exciting to kids. One way would to treat each kid differently according to whom they are and what interests them. Bill Gates wants a “common core.” I want an individualized set of options. This can be done in with computers quite easily (but it will cost a lot of money to build it all)

At the end of this article, I will list the kinds of kid that we have determined exist. It is just a first stab at this and far from complete. But, first a personal story:

I remember the kids being asked, when I was in kindergarten, if they wanted to sing a song to the class. I volunteered. My father loved to sing and we travelled a lot. We always sang in the car. The songs were ones he liked, frequently ones he had sung in the Army in World War II. So, I picked one of my favorites, and sang:

a boy stood on a burning deck, 
his feet were full of blisters
he tore his pants on a rusty nail 
and now he wears his sister’s

oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more no more, 
it ain’t gonna rain no more,
so how in the heck can I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more?

A skinny old lady once took a bath,
she never told a soul,
she forgot to put the stopper in,
and she fell right through the hole

oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more no more…

The teacher was very angry at me, but I never knew why. Because I said “ain’t”?  Because there were naked people being mentioned? I didn’t know and don’t know.

Why I am telling you this? Because I was a natural performer (as was my father)  I was, in effect telling school about the kind of kid I was. Of course, no one cared.

Later that year, the boys were asked to play by themselves for a while for some reason. I immediately organized a block building crew and a bunch of us built a city. This was a portent of my life to come. I still run a block building crew, only now they are building software for education.

In edition to being a performer, I was also an organizer. And of course I am still both of those.

I was telling the school how to deal with me, but no one was listening. This same story plays out in schools every day. Watch and listen, and kids will tell you who they are. But the school has no ability to adapt to them. Of course the geniuses in Modern AI will tell you they build “adaptive learning” which means if you are bad at algebra they will slow it down for you.

Here is my first attempt to determining what kinds of kids there are, based on what they like to do when they are little and work we have been doing to determine which kids grow up into which kinds of adults:

Puzzle solver
Deal maker
System creator 
Rule breaker 
System analyst
People person