Marshmallow Challenge

This year, I have been granted some additional free time which I am using to test the adventurous waters of MOOCs (massive open online courses). I plan to write a post on MOOCs and my experience and my thoughts on the ever growing online debate (featuring Clay Shirky and Aaron Bady and many others). But, for now, I’d like to share a video and a few thoughts on education.

The Marshmallow Challenge is a design challenge, where kindergarten kids outperform business graduates and many other adult groups (other than engineers and architects), because of our inherent divergent thinking capacity.  (check out Ken Robinson’s video if you wonder what that is) Watch Tom Wujec’s TED talk about the challenge first and meet me below for some observations.

This video, and the MIT Media Lab course I’m currently following made me think about this. I would fail this challenge. The only way I imagine doing well in this challenge is if I had a smart group of people and I could manage them to do even better. My feelings about this challenge are pretty similar to my first undergraduate year when I thought I might do engineering. I passed my classes because I had a nice group of friends who motivated me and who I could manage during projects. (Apparently, more officially called friendship-driven learning). But I did not like it and changed course at the end of the year.

Up until university, I was at an education system where I did well so that I could pass the high school entrance examinations so that I could get into a good high school so that I could get good grades so that I could do well in the university entrance examinations so that I could get into a good university and you see where this is going. Mind you, I had supportive and awesome parents who understood I didn’t quite fit into this mindset so I had a good version of this and I did not suffer. But this was the only option to get out of the system, do well until you have a way out. By that time, I feel I lost my connection to creativity a bit, and the idea of being creative intimidates me sometimes.

How to connect with that little bit of the creative me that survived, that is one question I would like to solve.


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