What is Your Dangerous Idea about Education and Learning?


What is your dangerous idea about education and learning? This question is a trailer of the riddle asked of some of the world’s most recognized thinkers.

Miriam Cosic summarizes the fascinating riddle series that John Brockman asks a roster of recognized thinkers as a provocative question. This year he asked “What is your dangerous idea?”

“The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?”

Each question is Brockman’s attempt to create the “third culture,” a bridge between C.P. Snow’s two cultures science and the arts.

Brockman created and works through the Edge Foundation, the purpose of which is to “promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society”. Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions.

Imagine that Mr. Brockman asks you his question. What about education and learning would you say as a response to indicate a bridge between science and the arts? How might you use this response in your vision of education and learning in 2010?

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.