Pointful Education's Approach
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
With Pointful Education courses, we want students to:
Grasp the Technology
Understand the Challenges
Realize the Potential
To describe each of these in a little greater detail:
Grasp the Technology: We want students to grasp the complex technologies that are out there in the world and are and will be a big part of their lives. Of course, many concepts are very advanced and technical. Things like artificial intelligence, cryptography, and additive manufacturing are extremely deep and complex and can take years of undergraduate and graduate students (along with actual work experience) to fully master and apply. To make these courses introductory and accessible to high school students, we scaffold at a slow, methodical pace. We make sure to define all potentially unknown words and use plenty of real life examples and analogies to illustrate a technology or principle. By grasping and in many cases simply becoming aware of what is happening in the world around them will better help them identify education and career paths that they otherwise might not have gone down.
Understand the Technology: We are not technology maximalists and recognize that there are downsides and challenges to new technologies and ideas. Automobiles allowed people to be more mobile but also contributed to air pollution. The Internet disseminates knowledge and connects people across the globe, but also can be used for cyberbullying, hacking, and a whole host of illicit activities. Our courses do not ignore or gloss over the potential problems with new technologies, but make it a core component to allow the student to absorb, contemplate, and discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of a new technology.
Realizing the potential is two-fold. First, we want the student to realize the potential and growth of new technologies. Much has been said about exponential growth of certain technologies. Initially exponential growth looks linear, but over time a constant doubling can mean explosive growth once technologies become mainstream. We encourage students to think about new ideas and applications of technology, as they will be our future engineers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. Second, we want student to realize their own potential. Since these courses are introductory and unlike any other elective the student has likely taken in school, they can be beneficial for the gifted student at an elite private school, to a rural or inner-city student struggling with credit recovery, and everywhere in between.
When students apply and master this framework, they will be better prepared to handle the changes that technology will bring during their lifetime.