It's a Social Media World

A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

The Decay of the US Brand – Why It is Time for Education to Revolt

The United States has a clear and defined brand. Documented historically in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution the US is about freedom, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. This promise has allowed us to become one of the greatest and most innovative nations on earth. However, since the industrial revolution our country has done little to iterate or pivot. We have led the technological revolution by default and are falling further and further behind in production, education, innovation and industry in general. Bureaucracy seems to be overtaking our countries key brand attributes. Instead of people working hard to build the American Dream other nations find us fat, lazy and stupid. The rift between communication and action is finally destroying the clout associated with being born in the USA. To say I am disappointed is speaking mildly.

As Independence Day approaches, I thought it fitting to discuss how independent thinking can reenergize our nation, increase our capacity to innovate and once again capture the imagination of our nation’s children.

Many people are aware that our educational system is failing our youth and our country. Scores have never been lower and students have never been less proficient in math, science, history and English. If we can’t even master the basics, how can we teach them about technology, creativity, arts and other humanities? (View the 2011 Condition of Education Report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP))

It is time for a new revolution; one that centers on the reimagining of our educational system.

I had the recent pleasure of taking a graduate course in creativity and innovation. The forward thinking of Dr. Kim Gregory and her assistant Patti Palmer, created the most enjoyable learning environment imaginable. Students, ranging from early twenties to late fifties were learning new technologies, exploring writing, understanding communication theory and engaging with class material for multiple hours a day (outside of scheduled class time). Gregory and Palmer created this type of environment by allowing experiential learning to take the place of a traditional class setting by incorporating offsite activities such as painting, yoga, storytelling, architecture and speakers from a variety of genres with theoretical readings. Students did not just learn new concepts they were given the ability to experience them.
The class ended on June 28, 2011 and students are still writing, participating and engaging with each other to discuss different aspect of the course. Kudos to Gregory and Palmer for daring to step outside of the traditional educational paradigm and approach learning differently. Similarly to experiential marketing, the types of activities that we completed created shared experience, meaning and a true personal understanding of the material.

In a world where entertainment dominates our news, constant personal use of technology captures our attention and video games dominate our children’s living rooms; don’t we owe it to our youth to reinvent our educational system? Having fun does not mean that you are not learning. Using Gregory and Palmer’s model, let’s shift our paradigm and recapture the true American brand by providing creative ways to educate tomorrow’s generations. Our future is in their hands and it is time to provide them the tools they need to fight for life, liberty the pursuit of happiness.

Education it is time to revolt!

You can follow Dr. Kim Gregory on Twitter @ocomfly or Patti Palmer @pattipalmer1.

One comment on “The Decay of the US Brand – Why It is Time for Education to Revolt

  1. Patti
    June 30, 2011

    Thank you, Kristen! Dr. Gregory’s “Creativity & Innovation” course is a perfect demonstration of the passionate, innovative thinking that can happen as a result of experiential learning within the larger context of communication theory. It also demonstrates how each of us can be powerful creators of social capital in today’s hyper-connected world by being willing to immerse ourselves in experiences and cultures unlike ours, and by surrounding ourselves with people who (to steal Apple’s tagline) “think different.”

    That said, experiential learning and progressive scholarly theories don’t necessarily equate course success. The success of this course, truly, is because of students like you who were brave enough to set aside your cynicism, trepidation, and fear (even your intellectualism!) to make room for new ideas and new (small t) truths.

    To #639create I say, “Bravo!” (And humbly I say, “Thank you.”)

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2011 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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