Eminent educator Ken Bernstein reviews Invent To Learn in the Education Review Journal

Education Review / Reseñas Educativas  / Resenhas Educativas (ISSN: 10945296) is a multi-lingual journal that publishes reviews of recent books in education, covering the entire range of education scholarship and practice.

Review of Invent to Learn (PDF)

The eminent educator Ken Bernstein reviews the book and weaves his own experiences with teaching and STEM education into a thoughtful and surprisingly personal essay.

Each of the foregoing quotations I have selected is embedded in chapters of practical worth. Trust me, the amount of useful resources is hard to imagine. There are tons of practical suggestions, ways of addressing concern, illustration of the use of specific pieces of software and hardware, and so on. This book is thus both a wonderful practical resource and something that presents an aspirational approach that address issues well beyond those normally considered in discussions about STEM education.

I would argue that one key takeaway for me was the clear understanding that for STEM education to be achieving its real goals our approach to educational policy will have to be very different than what we have been seeing over the past several decades. It is clearly insufficient merely to insist upon ever more math and science courses that are deadly dull, do not invoke student interest, and seem to have little focus beyond increasing scores on tests so that we can claim that somehow we are doing “better.” While I was in the midst of reading this book, I emailed Dr. Stager to tell him how excited I was to read it. In fact, my decision to take my forthcoming position, where I will be teaching both Social Studies and STEM, might well not have happened had I not read this book. On a personal  level I found it of great value, even though I will never have to as a teacher concern myself about the proper use of computer printing in a makerspace. Part of what is exciting is to see the clear exposition of how scientific and related learning can be done within the framework of a constructivist approach to education and learning. As a teacher I want to see my students empowered in all their learning. Perhaps the most telling words in the book, at least for me, occur not at the end, but near the beginning. It is with those words I will conclude, after reiterating the following: if you have interest in how best to do STEM education, if you have interest in how we shape educational policy, if you care about student involvement in their own learning, you should read this book, and make sure others read it as well.

“For those of us who want to change education, the hard work is in our own minds, bringing ourselves to enter intellectual domains we never thought existed. The deepest problem for us is not technology, nor teaching, nor school bureaucracies – it’s the limits of our own thinking.” (p. 56)

We invite you to read this thought-provoking essay.

Update: The links to Education Review have disappeared, the PDF is here.