“There is nothing like knowing it all to kill the imagination,” write Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon, authors of Imagination First, on the Education Nation web site:
“When we become expert, or think we have, we get the benefits of intellectual shortcuts and far greater processing efficiency-but we suffer the cost of closed-mindedness. Having seen it all, we stop looking. Having been there, we stop going. Having done that, we stop doing.”
“Seriously?” asks Robert Pondiscio in Idiot’s Delight on Core Knowledge Blog.
As an alternative to mind-numbing knowledge, Liu and Noppe-Brandon praise GeoDome, an “experience of pure wonder.”
Using Google Earth, real-time NASA data, state-of-the-art animation designed by a Pixar veteran, a single laptop, a projector, and an Xbox joystick, McConville takes the guests on a journey to . . . anywhere they want in the known universe.
“We did not dream our way to Google Earth, NASA, Pixar or the Xbox,” Pondiscio points out.
A deep knowledge base, years of training and expertise enable us to create the things that inspire awe in others. And I can’t help but wonder if physicists, engineers, and scientists of every stripe would be surprised to learn that their hard-earned expertise has resulted in “closed-mindedness.”
My husband knows a great deal about electrical engineering, a field in which he earned a PhD. Knowing a lot has enabled him to come up with new ideas, for which he holds several dozen patents. Ignorance is not the mother, father or brother-in-law of invention.
If I were to make a list of the problems afflicting American education, excess knowledge would be very low on the list.