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When 13-year-old Tahoe native Logan LaPlante takes the stage for his TEDx talk at the University of Nevada, what follows are 11 minutes of eloquent, confident wisdom on his style of education, which he calls “hackschooling.” Here’s a sample:

I’m not tied to one particular curriculum, and I’m not dedicated to one particular approach. I hack my education. I take advantages of opportunities in my community and through a network of my friends and family. I take advantage of opportunities to experience what I’m learning, and I’m not afraid to look for shortcuts or hacks to get a better, faster result. It’s like a remix or a mashup of learning. … And here’s the cool part: because it’s a mindset, not a system, hackschooling can be used by anyone, even traditional schools.

He touts the virtues of having the hacker mindset:

A lot of people think of hackers as geeky computer nerds who live in their parents’ basement and spread computer viruses, but I don’t see it that way. Hackers are innovators. Hacker are people who challenge and change the systems to make them work differently, to make them work better. It’s just how they think, it’s a mindset.

I’m growing up in a world that needs more people with the hacker mindset, and not just for technology. Everything is up for being hacked, even skiing, even education. So whether it’s Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Shane McConkey, having the hacker mindset can change the world.

He emphasizes the importance of being happy:

We don’t seem to make how to be healthy and happy a priority in our schools; it’s separate from schools, and for some kids it doesn’t exist at all, but what if we didn’t make it separate? What if we based our education on the practice of being happy and healthy because that’s what it is: a practice, and a simple practice at that. … Education is important, but why is being happy and healthy not considered education? I just don’t get it.

And he pays homage to Sir Ken Robinson’s famous 2006 TED talk on how schools kill creativity, touting that creativity is as important as literacy and should be treated with the same status. Thus, the key components of hackschooling are to be healthy, happy, and creative, with a hacker mindset.

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Check out Logan’s full TEDx talk, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy,” and get excited about the future:

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


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