Innovative thinker John Seely Brown, known for his ideas for merging digital culture and education, shares lessons educators can learn from surfers, gamers, and artists on how passion and competitive hunger can drive intrinsic motivation.
I think the construct that has been most overlooked now on the 21st century and maybe in the 20th century as well is the power and importance of play. That is to say, how do I take an idea and how do I kind of play with it, how do I tinker with it, how do I come to make it personal, how do I come to own it, how do I dwell in the idea itself? And this plays out, for example, in poetry. How do I find that magic combination of now that phrase or that line in a poem says exactly what I mean deep inside me? Likewise, how do I work with engineering systems and kind of see how things couple together? How do I tinker with these devices, things as simple as radios and stuff like that or microphones on cameras to kind of really understand what's the way that these systems really work? And how do I kind of learn that by experimenting with the stuff myself? Because you've got to learn that not everything works. In fact most things don't work. And if the first thing that happens when something doesn't work is it frightens you, then you're not going to be very willing to embrace change. But if you realize that when things don't work, which is almost always, you can get in there and figure out how to tinker with these things and just absorb what happens, very often when you're tinkering it doesn't make pure logic sense. It's something you begin to feel in your hands as much as your mind. Tinkering brings thought and action together in some very powerful, magical ways.