Why SOLE Is The Future Of Education

I have a friend who has had a seemingly endless list of “cool” jobs. He worked with Google, he ran research labs at Emory, he’s currently working as a Disney Imagineer. In pretty much all of these positions, he’s had to hire people, usually undergrads, and he always ends with the same question: “If you don’t know how to do something, what do you do?”

The answer that gets you an immediate rejection is, “Well, I ask you!”. Employers don’t want their employees to be another task-- they should be helpful, not a burden. The best answer is “well, I google it.” The most successful people I know use asking people as a final option-- an option that is there and consistently available (and sometimes very necessary), but the least convenient and the most hassle. Knowing how to find answers on your own is more and more becoming a vital skill, and one that top tier employers don’t just want-- they demand.

Traditional education doesn’t fit this model. Traditional education hands students information, which sets a student up to expect this to happen in their future; they want answers to be given straight to them, but that’s not how the world really works anymore. Knowing how to solve these problems on your own is vital, but it’s not something that we always bother teaching. We assume this generation of digital natives already knows how to do it, but we’re not always right. They know how to Google something, but they assume the first answer is the best answer. They get frustrated if the answer isn’t immediately apparent, and then revert to the traditional model of asking a teacher.

SOLE takes the digital skills these kids already have and builds on them. By teachers minimizing their involvement, students learn to be self-reliant. By using technology, students learn how to use it appropriately in a work environment. By making it inquiry-based, students learn how to research (really research, not just picking the first answer to present itself). By having them present, students learn how to share what they’ve learned with others in an engaging manner.

By the time our students enter the workforce, it might look drastically different. What they might need to know to be successful is hard to even imagine-- which is why SOLE is so valuable. If they can learn how to find and use information, then their options are limitless. By using SOLE, we are preparing students for the world they’re going to live in someday-- not the world they’re in right now. 

Erika Howard 



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