Do you think school is valuable? Why or why not?
Understanding certain subjects, like learning how to write well, highly influential historical events, and some science, are valuable, but the amount of “do exactly what you are told” learning is harmful, not helpful. I strongly disagree with the way certain teachers reward students who, in my opinion, don’t think for themselves, while penalizing students that question the information presented and form their own opinions.
What are your thoughts on working in groups versus doing work individually? Do you like one or the other?
Both are equally important. As we spoke about earlier, collaboration leads to greater success. Therefore, developing the skills necessary for group work is important. At the same time, one can’t depend on others with everything, so being proactive and having the self-discipline to work individually is also important.
What makes a good teacher good?
The teachers I admire most are the ones who focus on a student’s individual strengths, as opposed to trying (often unsuccessfully) to mold a student into their idea of a “good student.” We all have our own talents; so, working for and not against a student’s natural abilities makes a good teacher good.
Do you feel that googling facts in real-time can replace having them committed to memory in advance?
YES. (Bold, caps, underlined, highlighted).
I know people like you always have a half dozen projects in your mind that haven't made it into the public sphere yet-- what projects are you looking to start planning in the near future?
For a while now, it has been a dream of mine to give a TED talk, so I am working on taking the necessary steps to accomplish that. My mind rarely goes a day without thinking up (or coming across) information that I would love to share in a TED talk - my iPhone notepad is overflowing with all my notes! I am also excited about a project I have begun working on with my friend Jessica Lawrence called “The Remarkable Effect.” We will be taking concepts from Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” and re-purposing them into fun, short webisodes. The project will launch on Kickstarter in a couple weeks.
What are your long-term goals?
To never become jaded.
Check out the previous interviews in the series:
Todd Oh 17-year-old App developer from South Korea
Lane Sutton 14-year-old entrepreneur