Many students struggle with school work, yet find it easy to navigate complex games and different social media sites. More than 56% of teens go online daily according to this report. Also, 71% of teens have more than one social media account. This makes me conclude that young people aren’t lacking curiosity, which is an essential skill necessary for the 21st-century learner.

Many students find it easy to learn outside the classroom, in an unrestricted environment, and the reasons are not far-fetched. What I think the problem is, is that education as we know it isn’t necessarily out date, but it is competing against a lot of things that is distracting the students mind. Usually, those things like the internet and gaming are presented in a more fun way that truly engages curiosity and encourage need finding and problem-solving.

It is very common to hear secondary and tertiary students say “school doesn’t matter, it’s what you do after school that really matters”, this may seem true on the surface, but it shows the lack of understanding of what an education really is. Any form of training or development that guarantees- learning, is really what is called an education. Where one is tempted to agree with the young minds is that students aren’t getting much of that skill/training in today’s school. Then why attend in the first place? Certificates.

I believe students are bored. Our educational system still teaches skills and tools that were required 30 years ago. Students aren’t learning things that would help them compete in today’s world, and because their minds are at an age that is optimized for learning, they easily become distracted by other things that promise learning, even if that learning is a pseudo-learning.

You teach a science student how to create fire by rubbing two stones when she can simply do that by pressing a button, she is obviously going to be bored because she can’t find any immediate relevance to what you are teaching her, in her mind, that information is only of historical significance. But if we change that and try to guide her to create clean energy that makes the world a better place, you have succeeded on many levels.

Firstly, she knows a little about the falling oil prices because everyone from social media to market women is complaining (albeit unnecessarily) about the fall in oil prices and high exchange rate. She knows that the ozone layer is depleting and the world is looking for cleaner, better alternatives, and you give her the excitement of creating something that directly applies to the world she is living in. The practicality and novelty of this experiment are more likely to hold her attention in class.

In my opinion, this is what attracts the attention of many people in social media and games. You post a tweet and you see instant replies or RT from people, you say things on facebook and someone miles away reply, you launch your game and by falling a lot you learn and proceed to more complex stages. Something is ongoing, seemingly relevant and the effect is immediate.