Photographing The President

The President being photographed is not any president but a 3500 year old one. The President tree is the giant sequoia located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in the United States, California. It is not the tallest giant sequoia tree in the world (75 m), but it is the third largest tree in the world.  
The tree until now had never been photographed completely. A team of photographers from National Geographic and scientists from the Sequoia National Park to be the first to accomplish that feat. if you look carefully you can see the tiny scientists among the branches and leafs of the giant tree. I myself could find four of them, you are welcome to find more if you can.
Courtesy : National Geographic Society

The Link

The sci – fi me was having a rather¬†good¬†time enjoying the discovery channel when I¬†stumbled¬†upon a curious¬†looking¬†and sounding program called “The Link” and hence my title. The show focuses on how seemingly unrelated discoveries or inventions are related and how one invention let to another and finally to the¬†technological marvels¬†that today we take for granted.¬†The National Geographic talk about the show such:

“Technology is all around us. From computers to cameras, cell phones to sat navs ‚Äď our dependence on technology has never been greater. But how many of us ever stop to question how these inventions actually came about? Challenging the commonly held view, that they appear fully formed, out of nowhere, The Link reveals the surprising origins of some of the most important technological breakthroughs, of the modern world.”

graduates after convocationSo, why am I talking so much about a random show I happened to watch in National Geographic? The reason is simple. This is what is missing from¬†today’s¬†educational system the worldwide. Lets take India’s case for example, from the days we¬†start¬†learning¬†we focus on passing exams and mugging up¬†most things. It is a very selected few who go into¬†inquiring¬†about why it came to be. The fact is that education has reduced to more of studying and less of learning. How many of us, the educated mass as we call are able to explain why some certain things came to be and how they influence people, society and humanity at large. Take the case of fire or agriculture or the production line, do we know why it came to be, how it came to be or what it did to the society then?¬†Isn’t¬†that what education was supposed to impart to us?

What I am¬†trying¬†to say is that at some time along the way we have lost sight of our goal and has gone astray. We¬†don’t¬†need to overhaul our entire system,¬†that’s¬†is not possible and even if its possible its not feasible. Our educators are good, our institutions are¬†equipped¬†enough. I¬†don’t¬†mean at any point that all our schools are in surplus of facilities but I do¬†believe¬†that our schools have just¬†enough¬†infrastructure to create a thinking and capable¬†tomorrow. What we really need is a change in the systems and its priorities. The priorities should move away from scoring marks and more on understanding concepts.

When one starts to speak about de-prioritizing marks people usually come to conclusions that exams are the¬†villain¬†and they should be¬†taken¬†to the¬†guillotine.¬†In fact¬†that will only cost us dearly, exams should be there otherwise how will we evaluate our children, how will we ensure their progress? What we need are exams that evaluate¬†children’s¬†understanding of a subject and their¬†ability¬†to correlate and infer. We need exams that will ensure understanding and model our¬†syllabus¬†and¬†curricular¬†to attain this aim. This does not involve a major over haul of anything but a few fundamentals of our educational system.¬†

teaching our children

Let our children be Einsteins and newtons, let them make and create and innovate tomorrow, let them know that they alone have the ability and the power in their hands to craft tomorrows dreams. Let them understand that their dreams are not simply dreams but visions for meeting tomorrows challenges head on, solve then and conquer them. When they understand this and cherish this revelation then only we will have completed our responsibility towards our children and completed our link to the next generation.

“Do watch “The Link” on National Geographic if you can its a great show to watch if you are a¬†technological¬†junkie or just a curious homo¬†sapien!”