Jerry Yang


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What do you like to learn about, and how has that impacted your life?

Our education shapes our futures. And in these days of high-stakes testing, our education shapes our lives. What do you think?

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      Apr 16 2013: I like this answer - in so many words you give an example of how important it is for each individual to continue learning, even beyond formal education, because it truly shapes who and what we are as a person. The knowledge that you gain, meaning what you choose to discover out of interest, becomes such a part of your personality and overall happiness.
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    Apr 7 2013: I like to learn about everything, constantly - and that has had an extremely negative effect on my life in many ways. In these days of 'high-stakes testing' I believe we are rewarded for great knowledge on specific subjects, not a great well-rounded understanding of many subjects. This has evolved (in my opinion) into the current debate of liberal arts vs. STEM education, which is basically jobs versus humanity. What do I think about it? I think that we are entering a stage in human history unlike any other. We will be facing moral and ethical questions, as a result of our technology (I'm using a very broad brush here), that we don't even have words for yet. Our zeal for knowledge and 'gadgetry' in technology, and it's profitability thereof, is far eclipsing the consideration of the long-term humanistic/social ramifications that these efforts will produce. I'm not talking about ipads and cellphones here, I'm talking about genetic farming of body parts and whole replacement people, personality download and sale, custom-ordered children, who gets access, who decides what is allowed, etc. So, I guess what I like to learn about effects my life, there's just so much to consider. It's very exciting, yet formidable.
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    Apr 6 2013: Trying to clarify this question, Jerry. Sort of guessing you're beyond school days, seeing that you have 500 tedcred's and are a tedx organizer, those just don't sound like a 22-year-old still going to college. So why are you asking? Perhaps you have a child in school?

    I tend to think we can answer better when we know where a question is coming from.
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    Apr 5 2013: Jerry, could you clarify the connection you are making between what we like to learn about and how it has shaped our lives, on the one hand, and "these days of high stakes testing" on the other?

    What intrigued me most certainly shaped my life, but I was educated at a time of standardized testing that would not have been called "high stakes." I would not have studied something different if there had been high stakes testing.

    My kids were in lower education during a time that you might place in the days of high stakes testing. This did not affect their choices either of what they chose to study with greatest energy. What they do now is an outgrowth of the choices they made and make.

    The love of learning is widespread if not ubiquitous, I think, and where and how we choose to invest our attention surely shapes our lives. The most important role of lower education is to develop in us the critical thinking, disposition, and skills to learn on our own, to examine material open-mindedly and with the tools to judge the credibility and quality of the information and arguments we read/hear, to ask questions, and to experiment. Ideally we would also learn to accept feedback and questions from others rather than feeling threatened, insulted, or reduced by it. I am grateful that my education did that for me and that my kids' education has done that for them.

    Looking more broadly, I think there are many students at school who are affected little, truly, by high stakes testing because they would in any case invest in the sort of basic learning of reading comprehension, math problem solving skills, and science that modern tests tend to feature. High stakes testing likely has a greater effect on those who would not, in the absense of such tests, choose to invest in those areas enough to pass such tests.

    So the effect is very much not uniform!