42 Hosts Inspirational Event About the Future of Education
42 hosted a big event yesterday that focused on the future of education. The 250 guests included CEOs, HR professionals and leaders in education. They got to participate in a presentation with some major keynote speakers. It was an inspiring afternoon that connected the way we educate students with the skills that innovative companies are looking for in future employees.
Brad Coen, a co-founder of The Peer 150, introduced the audience to the keynote speeches. The PEER 150 is an exclusive, invitation-only, networking group for the top executives in designated professions. 42 ambassadors gave The Peer 150 members a tour of campus and shared with them more information about our school. Brad shared, “It is an honor to be associated with 42 and help it come to fruition. This is a portion of the day where more students are coming in. This reverse mentorship is the type of interaction we strive for.”
“This school is an inspiration, and it should be everywhere”
Esther Wojcicki, also known as Woj, was given an amazing introduction by Freedom Cheteni, Creative Director of Moonshots in Education, who is a great advocate for what we are doing at 42. A Moonshots school from San Jose, Latino College Prep Academy, attended the event with 10 students, Director Jesus Rios, Associate Director Roberto Palomo, and math teacher Salvador Cerna. It was great to meet educators and students who have been influenced by Moonshots.
Freedom spoke to the crowd with his usual enthusiasm and ease of connecting with people, “It is a profound privilege and honor to be here. Out of 7 billion human beings, I get to be here with you and the chances of that happening are close to zero. Moonshots in Education is fundamentally changing and transforming who we are as human beings. As HR professionals you have been given a particular privilege to make the world work so that inspired Dr. Woj to be here today. She is the most influential educator on the planet. Her pedagogical philosophy and her way of looking at the way schools of the future should work has created results. It has been unimaginable. How many of you have used Google before? Google is a result of her influence and encouragement. If you use Google, consider that this human being made that a possibility.”
Esther Wojcicki, founder of Moonshots and journalism and media teacher at Palo Alto High School, prepared a presentation called “Imagining a Better Future: Empowering Students with Tech.” Her book, Moonshots in Education: Blended Learning in the Classroom, was inspired by something JFK said in 1961 about how it was going to take a lot of hard work to get us to the moon. She shared, “If you think getting to the moon is hard, think about how hard it is to try changing the culture of teaching. The first 5 months of the first 2 years I had to behave like a normal teacher. In traditional schools of education they teach you the motto which is, “don’t smile until Christmas,” and the reason is you want all your students to be terrified of you. I had a hard time doing that because I would laugh at the students crazy jokes.
Why do we need to change? People give their babies iPads and iPhones early, they are crying and it is dinner time, and the next thing you know you have a peaceful child. They grow up with tech, and unfortunately, they don’t get a lot of training in school. What is Moonshots? How do we learn in the 21st century? I can tell you most of you haven’t been to a library in a long time, because you have a library in your own pocket. I am updating Moonshots in Education, but the schools still haven’t changed.
What is upsetting is 47% of jobs will be impacted by automation. 4 out of 5 CEOs say that skill gaps in creativity and problem-solving will make it difficult. 99% of jobs will go to candidates with postsecondary education, but less than 50% of the people in the U.S. will have a college degree. We are preparing kids to do well on the SAT, they are teaching them to follow directions quickly and employers get people who follow instructions. We are still teaching for the last century, the factory worker mentality. This school is an inspiration, this should be everywhere.
The lecture model originated a hundred years ago, this is what we do in lectures, we look like we are sleeping instead of paying attention. What should we be teaching for the 21st century: collaboration, critical thinking, communication skills, and creativity. This is what you see at 42, all four of them. This is what everyone wants their employees to have, but they don’t get them. The secret behind the 4 C’s is the acronym TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. Learning has changed dramatically, we learn today via Google, Facebook, Youtube, Khan Academy, Udacity and more. What kind of education promotes a passion for learning? Adaptive Learning. Every brain is different, therefore learning must adapt to meet each learners needs. The computer doesn’t ask you to do the same things again if you already know it, so it is like having a private tutor for every kid.
It promotes equality in learning, it frees up time for project-based learning. You learn by doing projects. All of those companies have projects for their employees, that is what we are doing. Why not change it for the schools? I have the 20% moonshot idea, 80% lecture and do what you want, 20% of the time the students get to do what they want, just like they do here at 42. Can we move 42 into all of the schools 20% of the time? Schools actually like this idea. Students should do what they want and control it for 20% of the time. Use real-world STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Media). Project-based learning promotes passion. I was introduced to 42 in Paris and it is an incredible school, and it is exciting to see them here.
It is also important to teach math as well as journalism and media. LA Unified School District banned YouTube from school, and Google search. The reason I believe in teaching journalism and media is so you know how to cope with the world. Daniel Pink in Drive, he teaches that journalism prepares students for a world we cannot predict, a world dominated by social media, AI, climate change etc. Students need to experience real-world learning. Journalism integrates the curriculum, journalistic skills are really powerful such as search skills, interviewing, critical thinking, etc.
We need to educate the parents, we need to pay attention because they control the school boards. You can’t blame the teachers because they tell them how to teach, and most teachers don’t fight and follow the directions. The quality of our politicians sets the quality of our school. Talk to your friends, increasing student achievement would add $70 trillion to our economy. I think it is the individual voter who will make the difference. Don’t just worry about yourself. Let’s all work together to change the quality of our schools, improve the lives of teachers, and imagine a better future. If we want to change the world, it all starts with education.”
42’s Chief Academic Officer: Moonshots in Education Certified Educator
Gaetan Juvin, Chief Academic Officer at 42, and also known as the “AI Jedi,” was presented with a Moonshots in Education Certified Educator Award. Freedom told the audience, “Woj talked about 42 being the model school. What you see at 42 is the first self-driving school. Gaetan is an extraordinary person. He created a system that is self-driving. So 42 uses a system where AI in inherent and the teacher is a guide on the side. We are going to acknowledge Gaetan, he is called the AI Jedi, and give him this award.” Gaetan accepted the award and said, “Thank you very much, I really think that education is the key to everything. 42 students today can tell you the truth, it is always important that we teach you all of the soft skills, you know that this is the key.”
Fireside Chat with Esther
There was a fireside chat with Esther where she answered questions from the audience. She gave some advice about how to cultivate a positive work culture and how this relates to how students should be treated in school, “So if you look at the culture of Google and the way that they treat their employees, a lot of those ideas are my ideas. You hire that employee and you trust them that they will do the best they can. You respect those ideas and have them work collaboratively. I think one of the things that is important to do is put people together in groups. Let them know it is okay to make a mistake. You may try again and fail again, but you are trying. But if you get support from a group, it will make a huge difference.
It is the culture of the company that produces amazing results. Then there are other companies that are still time clock businesses. Looking over your shoulder, with the mentality of, ‘I am paying you enough, so am I getting enough?’ It is crazy how people will work really hard when you trust them and respect them. That is the key and relates to what I said before about the acronym TRICK. Private schools are all doing this, that is how they keep on getting parents to pay the expensive tuition, they know all of the soft skills matter. I have looked around and been impressed but disturbed that you can’t get it in a public school…95% of kids are in a public school. If you want to get something right, I would like all schools to start doing it. All kids should be treated well and with respect.”
“Go break the fences people!”
We had a surprise guest appearance by fashion designer and La Perla Director Julia Haart. Freedom shared with the audience that Julia was a teacher for 15 years, “she is also a moonshot, she just stood up and started designing. There is Julia than everyone else. She has created fashion technology. Not only is she a designer, but she is also a scientist, a mover and a shaker.” Julia shared her journey of how she went from a high school teacher to starting her own shoe brand without going to fashion school.
She talked about an experience at a zoo that changed her life. There was an animal that can jump really high but was contained in an area with no fence. She learned that the animal stayed in that area without a fence due to something that is psychological. Even though the animal had the ability to jump, it chose to stay where it was. Julia ended her talk by reminding the audience, “We create our own fences and don’t even try. You are the fence breakers… understanding what you are capable of that represents your capacity to tap into your own extraordinary potential. Go break the fences people!”