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I’ve written about this before. Here and here. And while they don’t specifically say that you don’t need a degree, were you to show up and demonstrate your competency (skills), they wouldn’t turn you away. The ebola crisis is just that, a crisis, and they are desperate for help (see image below). So get busy learning the thing that you want to do, and then, do it. You don’t need credentials, you need the knowledge and skills.
I don’t believe that anyone can fairly blame China for wanting to impress others – and make no mistake about it, Chinese creativity is very impressive. (Just watch the video and see for yourself.) All of which reminds me of how China spent some 20,000 RMB on medicine to try and save Phoenix.
China can impress AND help it’s poor. As so many of my Chinese friends say to me: 加油！！！
This is a pretty amazing talk by Sarah Stein Greenberg, who helps lead the d.school, an interdisciplinary institute at Stanford that nurtures innovators and spreads design thinking. Watch it in the link, or below.
As Executive Director, Sarah supports a multidisciplinary learning program of about 25 courses that reach more than 500 Stanford graduate students annually, taught by more than 60 experts from the d.school, Stanford faculty and the Silicon Valley community; she also launches and supports new or newly iterated d.school initiatives, including the fellows program (a creative leadership accelerator), a new version of the K-12 Lab focused on innovators changing education, curriculum experiments like “pop-up classes,” and a new project to help university leaders imagine the future of the on-campus experience at Stanford.
Amazing not just because of its content, but because it confirms so much of what we are doing with Quixote University. Her summary of the four big ideas could have been lifted from our school.
1. Lose the 4-year Degree
“If I told you that you could exercise everyday for the next four years and at the end of the four years you would be fit for the rest of your life you would laugh,” Stein Greenberg says. “We give students one shot in early adulthood to learn what they need to know and then send them out into the outside world.” Instead, she asks, what if college was a six-year program that you could enter, leave, and re-enter again later? This way, work experience could inform higher education, and vice versa. This model is based on the idea of taking a year off, which students often do to travel or work. As Stein Greenberg sees it, this tends to get frowned upon, but can have enormous benefits for students.
A Quixote University degree isn’t based on classroom credits – it’s based on actual work in each student’s chosen field, what we call their ‘minor’. EVERYONE at Quixote University has the same major: Leadership.
2. Lose the High School to College Model
Unless you’re on the Van Wilder plan, undergraduate college is a four year stint. But Homeboy’s participants need to show up when they’re ready, and students, in their own way, do too. Four years can corner students into making important decisions before they’re ready. ”We only really offer [students] one rhythm, and they have to declare a major before they have any real idea of what it might be like to work in that major.” Her proposal? Abolish the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years, and let students move at their own pace from exploring various topics, to gaining some expertise, to applying those skills in practical settings—maybe failing—and then trying again.
It doesn’t matter how old (or young) someone is, we all have the ability to Lead. It’s the desire, and the willingness to sacrifice that are the key characteristics we are looking for.
3. Lose the Transcript
“We now live in a world where you can get any piece of information at any time. What if it wasn’t about information accumulation, but about developing competencies and skills,” Stein Greenberg says of this slightly more vocational proposition, in which students build individualized skill portfolios. “What if a transcript could be as unique as a fingerprint and really show and emphasize the skills you have going forward?”
Quixote University has no transcripts, instead everything that a student learns, does, or creates will be documented by the student, on their own Quixote University webpages. So when you read a book, a summary, written by you, will appear on your QU webpage (ex. www.QuixoteUniversity.com/YourName/Built-to-Last) This will form the basis of your portfolio and your QU transcript. You will be editor and are responsible for the content. Of course, QU reserves the right to remove fraudulent content, not that we would ever expect to need to exercise that right.
4. Lose the College Major
Part of having an 800-year-old higher education system means that some majors also haven’t changed. Liberal arts are valuable fields of study. But they might not bolster students for careers the same way a decided “mission” might, like tackling climate change. “What if students declare missions, not majors? Wouldn’t that fuel their studies in some way of real purpose they don’t get?” This way, students would pursue, for example, anthropology degrees to help their family’s ancestral Native American communities. It’s a new kind of incentive: give students real world applications, and then build a course around that goal.
Quixote University’s mission is simple: To develop more and better Leaders
There are things that are incorrect with this video, which is just another great example of why you shouldn’t trust a single source. But many people will be surprised to learn that our entire solar system orbits, en masse, around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. (I’m a little embarrassed, but I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t know this. You could fill millions of web pages with things that I don’t know.)
People much smarter than me explain some of the video’s errors here. I found this explanation particularly useful. “The claim that the Sun is at the tip of the solar system with the planets trailing behind is also demonstrably wrong. The Sun does not really lead the solar system through the galaxy like the tip of a bullet as Bhat apparently claims (and as Sadhu’s videos show). The planets go around the Sun, and the whole shebang moves around the galaxy as a unit, tipped by that 60° angle. That means sometimes the planets are ahead of the Sun, and sometimes behind it along that galactic orbit.”
And here’s the money quote:
“Not everything that’s cool is science, but everything in science is cool. That may not be one of those universal rules, but from everything I’ve seen, it’s true nonetheless.”
Here’s his follow up video with his explanation of how our solar system orbits the Milky Way Galaxy’s center. Fascinating to think about.
Khan Academy is a great learning resource and it has an excellent beginner’s project to learn how to code in just one hour. (I learned how to make this greeting card using their course.) The truth is, I already knew a little bit about programming, how to change colors, fonts, etc…the basics. And EVERYONE should know the basics of coding, so…..why are you still here?
Made using: Khan Academy Computer Science.
Miami is my hometown, and our slogan is Miami – the Magic City. It’s beauty is phenomenal. The oceans have risen before and will rise (and fall) again. It’s called nature. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in Global Warming – just like the oceans rise and ebb, the temperatures also rise and fall. (In fact, it’s been getting warmer ever since the last Ice Age.) Apart from that, it’s just plain stupid to pollute our source of oxygen. Actually, it’s beyond stupid.
Bill Gates poses a particularly pertinent question at the 3:54 mark: “Why hasn’t science gone after malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia – the modest number of things that would bring us health equity so that all children’s lives were treated as though they have equal value?”
We have the tools and resources that we need in order for every child to be well-fed, educated and yes, loved. We merely lack the Leaders to make it happen. This is why I am building Quixote University. Because I agree with Bill Gates, not only can we do better, we must.
All we’re missing are the Leaders…