Here's a thing about how our education system sucks.Here's one attempt I've found to validate that east/west thing he mentions.
It would certainly fit in with all sorts of east coast/west coast stereotypes, which is why I'm even more skeptical.
I also wonder about the whole "uses for a paperclip" thing. I see where he's going with the sheer numbers, but I'm not sure if the numbers tell the whole story: I personally can't come up with more than
four in five minutes - hold things together (including as a key chain)
, mark place in a stack of pages, conduct/resist elecricity, unfold to make a long pokey thing to poke things with
, repair or temporarily replace a key chain
- but a good chunk of that time was spent debating how many uses "hold things together" counted as. ("Things" could for instance include ties and sewing patterns and hair; and are we making a distinction whether we use the clip as is, or bend it into a new shape, or run the pointy end through the thing to be held instead of using elasticity+friction?)
As a side note, I don't think it consistently goes downhill with age, even with educated people. I've had plenty of times where I've ended up mentally stuck in a procedural tunnel and I (and implicitly the client and opposing party) had to be rescued by senior counsel who seemed to pull something out of their ass that despite not being spelled out in any relevant statute fit the parties' needs (needs, not wants) perfectly.
But then, this is often after I've previously come up with all sorts of remedies that have turned out to be illegal or unenforceable. :S
Which I suppose just takes us back to a point that Sir Robinson acknowledges but spends no time explaining in the vid: the distinction between valuable
creativity and divergent thinking. Some of the stuff the kindergarteners came up with likely wouldn't work in real life: the clip might not be strong enough, or the use might create some sort of fire hazard, or something else just as easily found (say a toothpick or a string or even a hair) would have done better.
For creativity to be worth anything the creator has to start out with enough base facts and assumptions to establish a range of ideas that would be
of value, and focus their
divergent-thinking resources within that range. Education should focus on establishing these frameworks, letting students know explicitly
that these frameworks are merely a means to solve problems later on and how the particulars of those frameworks function in that role, and helping students develop these frameworks on their own whether adding to pre-made ones or building ones from scratch (which can be two very different skills).
...come to think of it, the audio in that vid got cut off rather awkwardly. I suspect that this was exactly the sort of thing he then proceeded to talk about.
EDIT: And of course another rebuttal
which is not at all inconsistent with the conclusions in the preceding two paragraphs above.