Where nothing happens

When I point a remote control at an old television with those on/off, volume and tuning knobs -- nothing happens. If I take the corded wall phone with me to the backyard to receive a call while I'm weeding the garden -- nothing happens. When I put game software from the Windows 96 era into the drive of a Windows XP or Vista system -- nothing happens. If I put a DVD into the "multimedia drive" of a PC from back when we watched movies with VCR's and computers only play CD's -- nothing happens.

I know sometimes what it feels like to be a school dropout. They put their curiosity into a classroom like they routinely put it into text messaging, surfing YouTube and downloading music -- nothing happens. They play the school situation like it's a game with levels to achieve, ways to score, cheats to try out and roles to play -- nothing happens. They get as creative in class as they do mashing-up music videos, creating animations, drawing manga, and customizing their social networking profile -- nothing happens.

They know they're right. They've learned from experience that it really works to be curious, playful and creative. They've succeeded at these approaches every day when they are not doing school work. They've got toys and tools that support these experiences and reward their adventures. They are surrounded by evidence that they keeping up with the changing times, fitting into the evolving culture and staying ahead of the curve of constant innovations.

All this adds up to the obsolescence of school work that fails to support individual creativity, gamesmanship and creativity. Those conventional assignments are looking an awful lot like knobs on TV's, cords on phones and antiquated computers. There's no point in trying to make it happen. The dropouts wisely stop happening in places where nothing happens.

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