Want to use your maker skills to get into MIT? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is now encouraging young makers to share their creations, be it video, a computer program or a robot, as part of their application to the prestigious university. Sure, for now you still have to provide a transcript and do well on the standardized tests, but at least now MIT has created a broader context for admission. Is this a trend? Well, considering the fact that Google has abandoned it’s academic grade-focused approach to hiring and embraced direct inspection of prospects’ online presence, the trend among elite universities and employers is clearly away from grades. Recognizing that the work environment is nothing like the school environment, Google decided that GPA and test scores had zero correlation to workplace success.
How will this affect students, academia, and ultimately, the workplace? It will completely disrupt it, of course. Just like the MOOCs muscling into higher education and shaking it to its core, makers are taking on new prominence as the future thinkers, replacing “book smarts” with knowledge and skill. And the implications for the workplace? Aligning people with their interests (for the first time in hundreds of years) means that young people will go on to pursue careers suited to their interests. When people love what they do, they’re more engaged. This shift has the power to topple bureaucracies, placing more value on doing and less on management and control. With serious global issues like global warming, industrialization of the developing world and even a space economy looming, the world needs applied thinkers, creative geniuses, and an empowered workforce ready to solve big problems of an unprecedented scale. MIT is heading in the right direction and Google sees the light.
Want to be part of this new landscape? Just say no to more homework or the extra hour in your cube. Instead, make something new, write a novel, compose a piece of music, build a robot, or design a video game. Doing homework might earn an “A” in a class. Taking time to explore interests might land admission to MIT and a job at Google. Which one will you choose?