Lectures Didn’t Work in 1350–and They Still Don’t Work Today

Hope Reese:

“Of all the places I remember from my childhood,” David Thornburg writes, “school was the most depressing.” The now award-winning educational futurist and creator of the “educational holodeck,” Thornburg’s early experience in the classroom prompted him to help others rethink traditional classroom design. In his latest book, From the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning Environments, Thornburg outlines four learning models: the traditional “campfire,” or lecture-based design; the “watering hole,” or social learning; the “cave,” a place to quietly reflect; and “life”–where ideas are tested.
I spoke with Thornburg about his project-based approach to learning, why traditional models of teaching fail, and how to incorporate technology into education to teach students how to think creatively. Here’s a transcript of our conversation, condensed and edited for clarity.