Elon Musk’s Next Challenge: Education Reform?

It’s no secret: Elon Musk is a titan of industry.

It’s not just that he’s the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, he also has a brain that’s hard-wired for innovation. Just look at his Hyperloop idea, for example, which may eventually make it possible to travel from New York to DC in 30 minutes flat. A transit system like the Hyperloop would revolutionize everything about travel, trade, or even your morning commute.

And that’s not all — Musk also has plans to colonize Mars and build a million-person city on Martian soil. I guess it’s a good thing we’re getting a Space Force after all?

But more relevantly, Elon Musk has also taken a turn testing out the ed reform waters, and his ideas on the way we teach — especially math and problem solving — should be of interest to those of us passionate about improving our public schools.

“You just sort of get dumped into math. Why are you learning that? It seems like, ‘Why am I being asked to do these strange problems?'” Musk said in a recent interview at the ISS R&D conference in Washington. “The why of things is extremely important because our brain is evolved to discard information that it thinks is irrelevant.”

That sort of thinking echoes what we’ve known for a while now: if what students are learning doesn’t feel relevant or meaningful to them, it doesn’t stick.

Instead, Musk suggests that problem solving should be a more integral part of learning. Instead of students solving random math problems or answering lower cognitive questions, problem solving makes learning more interesting and fun for students. It’s also an effective strategy for developing lifelong learners in our public schools.

Given his sharp intellect and incredible knack for acquiring new skills, Elon Musk certainly seems like the ultimate lifelong learner himself. Perhaps his next greatest innovation will be in education reform?

Here’s the complete video of Elon Musk talking education, space colonization, and more:

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk, CC-Licensed.

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