The genius of learning is to have fun. Here's what that looks like today.

The genius of learning is to have fun. Here’s what that looks like today.

Once, as a K-12 student, I remember the kids in my class moaning about a particular content area. My teacher responded with a rhetorical question that has stayed with me since: “Don’t you want a teacher that is energized by the topic and who loves to teach it?” Yes, yes, I do. We all do. And I am GenX: We gave rise to nerdy as the new cool and we properly elevated nerdiness on the social strata.

Learning is cool. It is this endless fountain that feeds creativity, thinking and connections with other people. That is in part how I happened to talk with Eleanor Smalley with JASON Learning. I was meeting with a K-12 school superintendent who was telling me about how they are bringing intensive STEM to their district via JASON Learning.

My regular readers know I am obsessed lately with how education is changing. We all know that K-12 cannot go back to the old way of learning – and educators do not want to. The future lies ahead.

So, I did what anyone would do, I said “Introduce me. I’m fascinated and I want to know more about it. For no other reason than I am just interested in what they are doing.” A few days later, Eleanor and I were Zooming. She took me on a tour of all that they offer and I’m hooked. Full disclosure: I love watching documentaries and learning from experts.

JASON Learning was founded by Robert “Bob” Ballard. He is most well known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985. He is world renowned and for that reason he would receive correspondence from students who would say, “I want to be just like you. How do I do that?” From there, JASON Learning was launched.

JASON Learning is a name inspired by Jason and the Argonauts. They searched (and searched) for the Golden Fleece. The name represents our collective and individual need for learning and knowledge. While the name and the legend stems from a mythological past, it also represents the future.

“Students today need to be scientifically literate, to understand variables and stats,” noted Eleanor. And, in taking me through their site, their product does just that, featuring videos on a wide array of topics. It can be delivered as an online and/or in-person curriculum.

The site is endless but so, too, is the future of STEM education. Eleanor Smalley is a former superintendent and she knows first-hand what JASON means for today’s educators and students.

“Superintendents are really important,” Eleanor stated. “They play a very important role in their entire community and they need to be aware of what and how students learn. They are experts.”

Here’s what I know, too: Education is changing and the future is with STEM. It’s also about seeking new frontiers of knowledge. And learning is not just about the end game: It’s the thrill of the hunt.

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