Monday, February 14, 2011


Here is an article shared with me from our AEA Chief Administrator, Jeff Herzberg. In his email Jeff states
You may have all caught this article but it should be read by every staff member, community member and board member in rural Iowa...
The article, When Factories Vanish, So Can Innovators, discusses the impact to other industries because of losing manufacturing jobs in the United States. How do schools reverse what the article points to? “Young people stop thinking about making things,” Mr. Jordan says. “It is no longer in their heads. They have a different mental orientation."

If this is true, how do we get them thinking about making things? To be creative and innovative?


  1. We have removed so many of the good vocational programs from our schools to replace them with the college-prep courses. When do our students get the opportunity to explore and create in the world of manufacturing/engineering if they never see a wood shop, never experience robotics, never turn on a sewing machine, tear a computer or car engine apart, etc. Many of our students need these opportunities at a young age--not when they are juniors and seniors looking for a class to fill in their schedule. When I toured WIT's manufacturing area--I was amazed at what they can do. I don't think our students even know these types of careers exist--we are too busy telling them they all need to go to a four-year college. Exploratories are needed at the middle school level, job-shadowing and internships are needed at the high school level. We might have to rethink our scheduling--break it into 4 week sessions, different hours for some students, etc. Then--we need to push them to think outside of the box--to challenge the norm--that is the tough part--for students and teachers.

  2. I would agree with Kari. We need to get our students thinking outside the box and problem solving. They have become accustomed to others taking care of things and fixing things for them. Some of our staff does a great job designing units with these skills but we all need to incorporate them. There are many jobs/careers out there that do not require or need a four year college degree. I would like to see us look at some scheduling changes to make it easier for our students to choose both the college prep classes and the trade classes. Laurie R. posted a schedule on our book wiki that we might want to explore further to open up opportunities for our students.

  3. I think we need to safeguard discovery learning in the primary grades, as well. A great deal of teaching can occur with manipulatives and hands-on projects in the early grades. It may not be prudent to eliminate paper and pencil, but we need to create opportunities for every learner.