Education needs to be inconvenient

It seems as though people now spend more time with their smartphones than they spend with other people, and the smartphone and app makers are working hard to make every interaction we make online ever more convenient.

Convenience sells.

It’s the dominant driver of our culture, and has been since the 60s. How can I get something that’s just good enough in exchange for it being more convenient? Hence the drive through fast food window, the microwave oven, the remote control, shrinkwrap licenses and 140 characters as a stand in for exchanging ideas.

It turns out that the quest for convenience also drives many of the choices we make about education. It’s more convenient to have standardized tests and rigid curricula, so we don’t have to treat every student differently. And it’s more convenient to imagine that continuing education for adults might involve reading a summary of something instead of actually doing it.

Alas, we’re confusing the convenience of physical time-saving with the convenience of not extending ourselves in the quest for something better.

Education needs to be inconvenient because it relies on effort and discomfort to move us from where we were to where we want to be. The internet gives us more access than ever, and if we care enough, we can use that convenient access to explore the inconvenient places that we know we should be exploring.

Here’s my annual link to my rant on education entitled, “Stop Stealing Dreams: What’s School For.”

And here’s the 18 minute video, which is a little more convenient.

And here’s a new viral video on the topic. Related to Ted Dintersmith’s new book.

The Bootstrapper’s Workshop is a decidedly inconvenient program we’re running now, one that challenges each participant to engage and experience and connect. You can save a few dollars this weekend if you click the purple circle on the sign up page. Then it’s gone.

Useful education is inconvenient, but worth it.