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“If everyone could make a living doing what they love to do, then what could be better?”

While watching the closing comments from the “Future of Education Panel” at Maker Faire 2011, I resonated with the answers to the question, “What is your hope for the future of education and technology?”

Mitch Altman: “I would love to see a world where everyone can truly explore what it is that they love to do. And if everyone could make a living doing what they love to do, then what could be better? That would mean we have a world full of many more people living fulfilling lives. And if we had a world where people could be encouraged to explore who they are and do what they love, then our education system would be tops.

Ben Heckendorn: “Expounding from that point, I grew up in a small town… think if it was 100 a years ago, what I do for a living, assuming they had graphics artists 100 years ago, `Mary’s Cow Powder’ advertisements in newspaper… you would never get out of your small town. You’re stuck there. You can do what you can do in that element, but that’s the limit of your scope. But the internet has opened up the world to everyone. Anything in the world is no further away than your computer. That is a great resource, and we’ve only started to scratch the surface of its potential.”

Jeri Ellsworth: “I’d encourage everyone to go out and become a mentor. I try to help out as much as I can.”

In her closing comments, the moderator Michelle Dobson said: “It’s time that we knock down the four walls of the classroom… The world is now the classroom… students will learn when they can be engaged in their learning; have teachers as facilitators of knowledge, not as the givers of knowledge, the holders of knowledge. We need to have authentic learning opportunities for students to succeed.

I was particularly moved by Altman’s vision: “I would love to see a world where everyone can truly explore what it is that they love to do. And if everyone could make a living doing what they love to do, then what could be better?” That, right there, is what I want my role as a researcher and an educator to be — to help make that world a reality.

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