The first thing that comes to my mind when hearing the word “hacker” is a person who good with computers, gaining access to a secured digital device or web browser. Logan LaPlante’s thoughts on the word are: “a hacker is an innovator, hackers are people who challenge and change the systems to make them more differently to make them work better.” While watching Logan LaPlante’s performance on TEDx: Hackschooling makes me happy, I had a few thoughts. My first one—how old is this kid?? His vocabulary is embarrassingly stronger than mine, he has flawless public speaking skills, and a unique outlook on education and on life. I would not be able to stand up in front of a seated audience and give a presentation on a topic that is and topic that is misunderstood. LaPlante asked the audience a very important question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” my answers changed by the age. A teacher, a vet, a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park…and in high school it was photographer, physical therapist, and the last month of my senior year, a teacher—back to where I originally began. To be honest, my dream job is to be a Disney princess at Disney land—and it probably will always be. I get to dress up and look like a princess, I get to have cute kids run up and take a picture with me and sign some autographs. I even YouTubed how do be a princess! My secondary choices of a dream job were to be an ice cream flavor judge, and to name bucking horses (my boyfriend does college and pro rodeo-saddle bronc riding to be exact.)
Anyway, the pressure of being asked what we want to be when we grow up is very stressful as a young adult/college student. In high school, we are expected to know what we want to invest our money, time, and future in, but we still must ask to go to the bathroom? I’ve been told that I’ve been a lucky one…I came into college knowing what I wanted to major in. I still have friends in college not knowing what they want to pursue their future in.
LaPlante says “a lot of kids today are wishing to be happy; to be healthy, to be safe, to not be bullied, and be loved for who they are”, which made me pause the video, rewind it, listened repeatedly, and sat in silence. I reflected on myself as a person in the present and the past. I thought about how upset I was when my little brother blew out my candles on my 11th birthday, how mad I was in the 6th grade when I didn’t get a locker close to my friends, when I was in 10th grade being the only one of my friends who didn’t yet have a smartphone, or even last week when I was annoyed with my boyfriend leaving his wet towels on the floor. All these situations have NOT impacted my life today. I work on bettering myself every day to be happier and healthier, I’m safe—I have a safe house in a safe neighborhood, I treat everyone equal—my boss and the janitor will receive the same degree as respect; therefore, eliminating indifferences to cause bullying, and my family and boyfriend love me for who I am. I should be more thankful for this life instead of letting something that will bother me for 5 minutes control my outlook. “Why is being happy and healthy not considered education?” (Logan LaPlante) as education is considered important (by law) why isn’t the road to happiness and healthiness taught in a curriculum? So, what is hackschooling? LaPlante claims to receiving a large part of his education through being happy, healthy, and creative. He doesn’t use a particular curriculum or is dedicated to one particular approach, instead he refers to his homeschooling experience as a hackschooler as “[a] mashup of learning”
Reading Bud the Teacher, the two sources are hand in hand. Centering making, hacking, and playing are the three points Bud Hunt made in his online blog. Bud says “learning happens when we make things”, which is lead to the term “kinesthetic learner”, a hands-on learner. I am overall a kinesthetic learner, I was never good at test taking or worksheets, but if I was asked to make or build something, the skies the limit. Bud also admits that the term “hacking” has lost its purpose. “Hacking” was used as a fiddle that improved a process or program. (Bud Hunt) Hackers are improvers and thinkers, critical thinking and creativity is their signature. Without trial and error where would be our greatest stepping stone for learning? We learn from experience, criticism, and evaluation, “playing with information or structures or situations can lead to powerful learning” (Bud Hunt).