Andrew McAfee Tells it Like it Is

Andrew McAffee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at MIT Sloan, author of Enterprise 2.0 and (with Erik Brynjolfsson) of Race Against The Machine, widely read blogger, and public intellectual in the business and IT world, wrote about Montessori in 2011, in the Harvard Business Review: Montessori Builds Innovators.

Here, in a video interview with his co-author Byrnjolfsson and NYT’s Thomas Friedman, he gives another shout-out. (I can’t post a clip, but the Montessori bit starts at 28:38.) Friedman is asking him what, given the economic disruption created by the digital revolution, we as a nation should be talking about “in terms of education, jobs, and the future.”  McAfee:

I was a Montessori kid for the first years of my schooling (applause!), and I’m so thankful because that is an educational system that teaches you that the world is a really interesting place, and  your job is to go explore and understand it and maybe change it somewhere down the road. Thank heaven for that.

My school only went up to 3rd grade, and after that I went into the public school system for the 4th grade and I felt like I had been sent to the gulag. I’m like, “You want me to sit there in this grid of desks all day, and then a succession of things are going to be either inflicted on me, or instructed  —this doesn’t make any sense.”

Eric and I were at TED  earlier this year and the TED prize was given to Sugata Mitra, the educational researcher for India, who he says that system was designed to turn out clerks for the British empire, and we don’t need that anymore. We need to teach people that the world is a really interesting place.

Sounds like he got it about right.  Friedman, McAfee, Brynjolfsson, TED, Mitra (who I posted about here and here), MIT Sloan—this is the conversation we want to be in.

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