We are witness to the time when the Einsteinism, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, should be a guiding principle in education practice. The time between what we can think of, and the physical manifestation of that thought, is reduced to the point that the limiting factor is truly only our imagination and how quickly we can think.
As we forge in the smithy of our soul the electronic conscience of our race, (to warp Joyce), it is the discipline of the structure of language that simultaneously limits and shapes our thoughts to what we can publish worldwide, rather than the previous limiting factors such as materials like paper and ink, or devices of distribution.
And not just words, we have 3-D printers to make physical the objects of our imaginations. I think of the dueling wizards in the old Disney cartoon- “The Sword in The Stone”, the winner being the quick thinker, Merlin. Magicians we all shall be, if only we can think to do it.
We rush to a manufacturing economy and tout “made in America” as the next wave, when really the wave we should catch is “imagined in America”, “designed in America”, because it may be the machines that will be the country of manufacturing, and those skills may become increasingly unnecessary.
Which is more to what I believe is the point of it all. The big IT, (and not the Camazotz form), but the spark of us, the potential of us. The freedom people have so long sought is not the freedom to be released into the servitude of manufacturing, of a daily grind, the struggle for sustenance and to pay a mortgage. Imagine a freedom to truly do what you want to do, to create freely. All of our inner poets, painters, sculptors, inventors, – breathing the pure air of …, well,… freedom. If the image of God is as creator, then I think we would be, as Mazlow would have it, “actualized”.
We have not yet escaped the dimming of the spark of life in the eyes of children on assembly line education models. We have moved backward to the idea of children as replacement parts for what falls out of the vast machinery of our society when a job needs to be filled, when we have them walk again and again the worn path. The truth is our society is so changeable that there can no longer be “replacement parts”, this is the time of the individual, if the society is to survive at all.
The classroom should be a joyful place of explorations coming from the students. If “play is the highest form of research”, another Einsteinism, then the classroom should be that laboratory, rather than a labor camp. The skill to develop is what we have prided ourselves on: ingenuity. We will get there with creative approaches to education. We can show them how to make a living, and the joy of being alive.