What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation In Education: Remixing


Authors note
: This post is based on the ideas from the book Two Beats Ahead by R. Michael Hendrix and Pano A. Panay.

In the spirit of this chapter on remixing, this blog post is a remix of Greta Thunberg’s infamous speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in 2019. To compose this post I took the transcript of her speech and remixed it replacing her ideas on climate change and actions with CO2 levels with some ideas on education and actions with technology. The full transcript of her speech along with the video can be accessed here.

I’d also like to note that this entire series of blog posts serve as a remix of the ideas from Two Beats Ahead. So my message to educators is to remix the ideas that you encounter in the world and reimagine how they can be applied to improve teaching and learning in our schools. Step outside of the education literature and seek other information to help you understand how you can improve your practice.

Below you will find my remix of Thunberg’s speech beginning with her response to a question about the message she has for world leaders.

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be playing outside in the dirt on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. Students are suffering. Students are dying. Entire school districts are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction of knowledge and critical thinking, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal testing of students. How dare you!

“For more than 30 years, the research has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

“The popular idea of adding more technology into our classroom over the coming years is only a small part of a broader solution to the current irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

“Adding more computers into our classroom, increasing access to computer-based applications, introducing cameras and other student surveillance software may be acceptable to you. But those things do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, and additional negative impacts on teaching and learning hidden by structural inefficiencies, content-centered instruction, or the aspects of access and equity. They also rely on my generation blindly adhering to the introduction of data mining with technologies that barely exist.

“So the technological solutions are simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual and some technical solutions? With today’s use of surveillance technology and data mining our individual identities and freedoms will be entirely gone in the near future.

“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with what I am presenting here today, because the truth is too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

“Thank you.”

This is the sixth part in a series connecting the ideas from Two Beats Ahead by R. Michael Hendrix and Pano A. Panay to education. To read part 1 on listening go here, part 2 on experimenting go here, part 3 on collaborating go here, part 4 on demoing go here, part 5 on producing go here, and part 6 on connecting go here.