Our time at the 24-Hour Think Challenge has been a day — literally a full 24 hours — of exploration, discovery and evolution.
We came in with the expectation to learn about and offer solutions in some of the most complex, challenging and often political subjects facing our society. What we came out of this experience with not only some great ideas we feel have potential to inspire change, but also a new appreciation for the alternative ideas and approaches of our peers.
We heard from Sam Levin, who decided to approach things differently while he was in high school. Sam challenged his teachers to stop putting subjects into silos and instead consider how each subject relates to another and how it is relevant to life. After creating his own successful curriculum, Sam derived that high schoolers should be given much more responsibility. After all, we’re the ones who are going to inherit the earth. Sam closed mentioning that no system will work forever, which I took to mean that the challenge to innovate, evolve and create will always be upon us. That’s an exciting prospect.
When the time came to start the clock looming high above our heads, ideas were already buzzing around the room. How could we change the future of education? What is the key to healthy communities? How can we encourage STEM in schools so we don’t have to recruit jobs overseas? How do we make sure students end up in the right majors in college based on passions and skills?
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When the clock began ticking, we broke into groups to glean as much information as possible from leaders and experts in our tracks (education, STEM, health and life). We heard how education yields a better-prepared workforce, higher paying jobs and a stronger economy. We also learned the process of entrepreneurs and what skills are beneficial for start-ups. We learned some of the great things that are being done and some of the challenges we face in education. We also heard about what companies like Micron are looking for when they hire and the shortage of those skills in Idaho.
Then, it was time to get to the problem solving. With groups hungry (literally and figuratively) to get started, we took a quick break and visited the food trucks outside to sustain us for the long night ahead. Then, we got down to business. We revisited the problems we heard throughout the day to identify themes and patterns and prioritized in groups how to address them. And, through the night, great ideas began to emerge.
Like any good project, some testing and revising was in order. So, after getting some feedback from people on the street, we put the finishing touches on our ideas. We were ready.
Idaho, thank you for giving us the opportunity to provide our best (and quickest) thinking on these important issues. We are looking forward to being part of the equation when bringing these solutions to life in our state.
Post by Grant Koehl, Bishop Kelly High School, and Kate Simonds, Timberline High School