The momentarily stern-looking gentleman in this image gave the opening keynote address at the recent ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, June 26 through 29, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. I’m certain his face is familiar, but do you know his name? I didn’t, although I feel like I’ve seen him a thousand times on TV explaining everything from time-travel to warp-drives (neither of which exists, of course; but after he got through explaining them I did finally understand why!). And with his infectious enthusiasm and shock of gray hair, he is hard to miss.
It embarasses me to confess I never caught his name: it is Dr. Michio Kaku. His doctorate is in theoretical physics, and he is a professor at the City college of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. A futurist and science popularizer, he has written a number of best-selling books including his most recent, The Future of The Mind (2014) and Physics of the Future (2011).
Since I never caught his name, I have yet to read one of his books; but if he writes with the same enthusiasm and clarity as he speaks, I’ve missed a great deal (a deficit I intend to soon overcome).
In keeping with his clarity of speech and vision, Dr. Kaku began the conference by pointing out to the attendees from across the world, “We don’t live in 1950 anymore...“ and “We need to undergo a revolution in how we view education… Jobs of the future will require creativity, imagination and experience,” he said. “We have to prepare young people to live in that future.”
Dr Kaku spoke of three major waves of technology that he thought drove the economy from the beginning of the Industrial Age up to the present, steam, electricity, and high tech. He now believes we are about to be overtaken by a fourth powerful wave formed by biotech, nanotech and artificial intelligence. “You have a duty to teach young people, the generators of wealth in the future,” he said. “The future of education will gradually be changed. This means that educators are going to have to stress concepts and principles, rather than the drudgery of memorization.
RobotLab had a booth at ISTE 2016 when he gave this stirring speech on the importance of technology in education. We'd like him to know how much we enjoyed what he had to say, and how here at RobotLab we want nothing to do with the “drudgery of memorization.” Our robots turn every teaching discipline from English to Math into something exciting. To continue Dr. Kaku’s wave-analogy (with our apologies), we believe our surfboard is made up of robots presenting a curriculum that inspires students by making the technological future enjoyable and interesting as well as absolutely vital.