Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lots of great ideas...

To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” – Thomas Edison

I love that quote. It speaks to the spirit of not giving up. Of opening your mind to the many possibilities of something. Being open-minded is a gift and is crucial to success in this millennium. It is something I value and teach my own children.

Their generation needs to invent the future. They need to keep innovating. It’s 2007, after all, and even last year’s technology is outdated. Is it possible that theories on the teaching of mathematics that were disseminated in 1989 could still apply today? They might if they actually worked.

Just because something is new, it is not necessarily improved. Especially not something going on two decades of “newness” that ultimately has little to show for the effort. Clearly, there has to be a better way.

Everyday Mathematics and it’s many algorithms have been around long enough to see something great come from them. Something even Edison, or even better, NikolaTesla might admire. But I do believe even Edison knew when an experiment was something to be learned from, but could not exactly be considered progress. It was he who said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Edison had the courage to admit when something wasn’t working. If he did not, how could he ever move on to something that actually did work?

I am all for progress when it moves us forward. Most of the time change is for the better. Or at least, that is the original intention. Hanging on to an idea that is at least a couple of decades in the making and is still "experimental" isn’t new, it isn’t progress and it’s so yesterday.

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more." -- Nikola Tesla

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