EdRev’s second keynote speaker on April 13, 2013 in San Francisco was Todd Rose, co-founder and president of Project Variability, This organization is dedicated to providing leadership around the emerging new science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society. Todd is also a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education teaching Educational Neuroscience.
Todd Rose’s presentation was built around a premise of the need for society to change a belief, one that gives credit to the myth of the average person. Our education system is build on averages rather than supporting the different needs of the individual.
Todd knows whereof he speaks. He was a high school dropout. His education did not support his learning differences. When he discovered that boredom, not laziness was the issue, ideas and the drive to create a different life emerged.
A high school dropout he accepted that he needed an education. Perseverance at night school resulted in obtaining his GED. A teacher in a community college gave him the encouragement and support and with hard work on his behalf he graduated cum laude. He was accepted at Harvard. His initial experience at this institution gave him the feeling that Harvard’s process of education and his ADHD were at odds. A Harvard professor challenged him, commenting that it wasn’t Todd it was the education system that was the problem. Harvard did not nurture individual talent. This gave him the drive to challenge Harvard. He began to focus on designing a new approach, away from the concept that our education is about a science of averages. His study promoted the need to find a way to evaluate individual talents, rather than comparing one individual to another individual.
Todd along with others have initiated Project Variability which focuses on the science of the individual, creating flexible environments. Its sole purpose is to bring to the public an awareness and new approaches to ensure a means of learning that lives up to our capabilities.
Todd offered the EdRev audience a challenge: start shifting. The change is about a mindshift. He asked this PEN membership who knows there is a problem with the education system to become a part of creating the solution.
He offered a first step involving one week of effort.
When there is a behavior, be it your child’s or your own, that needs correction find a context for making that change. Begin by asking yourself what is your default habit. State it and see what change you need to make. The goal is to allow your or your child’s true potential to emerge? Consider:
- What environment do you or he/she need?
- What relationships are important?
- Spell the information out for yourself or your child and put it into action.
- Ask yourself what do you need to do to be ready for this change
- How can you contribute to this?
- Discover the first step.
Remember we can build technologies. Ultimately, however, it’s not the technologies but individuals, parents and educators who need to take the responsibility to make this shift. PEN membership knows there is a problem and that when solutions start to exist more will come.
Todd Rose has written a must successful book, Square Peg.