TEDx University 2013
Photo CC By-Bret Simmons

When I think of the word “hacking”, the image that comes to my mind (and I think many other peoples’ minds) is very similar to the one described by Logan LaPlante in his TEDTalk.  I imagine someone sitting in a dark and cold basement, typing away on a screen in search of a way to hack into computer systems for their own profit.  For this reason, hacking definitely has a sort of negative connotation attached to it, and rightly so.  If it’s possible though, I want to ask you to try to think about this word in a way that is both positive and promising.  Maybe hacking shouldn’t just be a fiddling with or breaking of something, but rather a challenging or revamping of a system for the greater good.  Maybe hacking is a push for change and a push for improvement, and we should all give it a chance.

In his presentation, Logan suggested that hackers are innovators, and that “hack schooling” is not an action or system, but a mindset.  As future educators, I think it is important to evaluate our teaching methods and determine what we might be able to do differently to ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible, not only so they can make a living, but so they may also have life in their years.

The concept of “hack schooling” is extremely intriguing to me.  As outlined in Logan’s TEDTalk, it focuses on experimental classes and camps, utilizing technology and online resources, and creatively becoming happy and healthy human beings.  Each of these things are what any sensible person would want for our children, and yet, some of these things are not made to be priorities in many of our traditional school systems.

The focus in schools today is set on one thing: testing.  The standards are set, teachers teach to the test, and students attempt to spit back the relatively meaningless knowledge that was crammed into their brains, only to forget it all the next day.  Surely, there must be a better way to go about educating our students.

Perhaps, we should take a look through some of the lenses that Bud Hunt offers in his blog, “Centering on Essential Lenses”.  Make, Hack, Play.  These are the “lenses” which Hunt believes we should all be using to focus in on our education system, and I agree.  While every student is different, the vast majority of students learn best when they are DOING something.  Activities that place something visual in front of them and require hands-on attention stimulate students’ brains and engage them as learners.  Making and playing are two of the most essential components that contribute to a strong educational foundation.

When we begin to transform the way we educate so that we become facilitators of learning rather than monotonous lecturers, only then can we encourage our students to explore their passions in a way that will lead to a happy and healthy life.  Maybe we should give hacking a chance.



  1. I think that you summed up schooling currently perfectly with the focus being on testing for educators. I think that some testing is alright but far too much pressure is being put on students and teachers to preform well on these assessments and these alone. What testing does is put students in a box and assume that they all learn the same way. Becoming facilitators is a great way to start hack-schooling and stop putting students into boxes.


    1. I agree. An overload of assessments does nothing beneficial for the students who should be learning in their own way and the teachers who should be teaching creatively and inclusively. Every student learns in a unique way and it is important that we remember this.


  2. Ashlyn,
    I agree with you on how teachers are cramming students brains with useless knowledge and the students are not retaining it at all. I also agree with Mackenna on how the testing limits the students. It does not give them a chance to be creative and learn through experience it is just strictly by the book.


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