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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Making Students Knowledge Producers, Not Passive Consumers

October 16, 2013, 1:39 PM
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The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas on Nantucket, MA, is described by its founders as having reached version 2.0. What does that mean? Instead of this event existing as a mutual admiration society, founder Tom Scott says he wants the ideas that are planted as seeds on Nantucket to grow into actionable ideas.

One of the speakers that exemplified that maturation process this year is Harvard professor Lisa New. Inspired by a panel discussion at the 2012 Nantucket Project on MOOCs, New decided to develop a Harvardx American poetry course.

The course offers students the opportunity in a very hands-on way "to think through a poem," New says, which needs to be a very active process. The idea is to lift a poem out of history, New says, and "into your own history."

In a conversation with Big Think co-founder and CEO, Victoria Brown, New says that at the center of her course is conversation - between students, teachers and other experts - and these conversations are used to transform students "from passive consumers of knowledge to producers of knowledge."

Watch the video here

More from the Big Idea for Friday, November 29 2013

The Education Superpowers

While the United States is still a military and economic superpower, there is growing evidence that the country is no longer an education superpower, particularly when it comes to K-12 education. ... Read More…

 

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