Redefining Hacking

Photo CC- By Sean MacEntee

Growing up, education and the process of learning always seemed pretty black-and-white to me. Students go to elementary school and learn “the basics.” Then they go to middle school where they make a gradual transition to high school. I remember the overwhelming joy I felt when I got to put my belongings in my very own locker for the first time in sixth grade. Then in high school, students are supposed to decide what subject they are best at and choose a career based on this discovery.

There is always that dreaded question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think Logan Plante put it perfectly when he said that people should just want to be happy and healthy when they “grow up.” Also, what does that even mean? Who is considered a “grown up?” Is it when you leave home and go to college? Is it when you graduate college and get a job, or is there just some point in your life where you seem to have it (whatever “it” is) figured out?

Either way, how should kids have even the slightest clue about what they want to for the rest of their lives when all they have experience in is reading picture books and learning long division? Even when students are in high school, they arguably still don’t have enough experience to make this decision. Logan seemed to be extremely wise for his age, and it seemed to be because of his unique schooling. Also, in last week’s TEDtalk, Ken Robinson discussed how traditional schools are educating students to be college professors. It seems that these students are supposed to excel in one or more subjects and take this specific talent/skill as far as they can. However, many people are now arguing that education shouldn’t be this way. Instead of telling students how to think, how to learn, or what they should do for the rest of their lives, we as teachers should be teaching them how to be individualistic thinkers and kindling not only their existing talents but their interests as well.

I think Bud Hunt had noteworthy ideas for educating students through making, hacking, and playing. Out of those three, I have personally found the most success with making. No matter what I am doing, I am so much more motivated if I can see my product or my progress, whether it is in sports, class, playing an instrument, etc. Before watching the TEDtalk and reading the article, I had only heard the term “hacking” when talking about mischievous computer activity, but I think it is very important for today’s education. I think schooling has fallen into routine, and I think it needs to be “hacked” for students to get the most out of their experience. Before, I had also only heard about learning through play with elementary students, but I think that “playing” with literature in a high school English class can also be very beneficial. I’m not extremely familiar with this term, but I intend to learn more about it and how it can be applied to a high school class.

No matter now education is reformed, I believe it needs to be changed to truly benefit the students even though it will be more difficult and inconvenient to teach this way, and I am excited to be a part of this change.



Centering on Essential Lenses



  1. I agree that my most success has been in “making” too. If I can visually see my success rather than look at letter grade, I respond much better. I have a hard time learning and memorizing if I can not see it coming together in front of me.
    This is also the first time that I have heard of hacking school, but I have always noticed something wrong with education. I hope that as a future teacher I will develop the skills necessary to hack my classroom.


  2. I really enjoyed your focus on the question “What do you want to be when you grow up.” I think that we live in a society that is too focused on what your profession is or what you want it to be. Too much judgment is passed based on what career path you choose to follow. Many of my high school classmates are simply miserable in their fields of study because they chose it for the money that comes out of it or their parents pushed them to it. I don’t think that either of these reasons are good enough to stay miserable.


  3. I really think that we need to teach students to be happy and focus on their interests just like you said. If we try to make every student the same we are just killing creativity. The younger the age we start making students think about their own interests and what they like the better.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s