Energetic Learning

I picked up my niece from school today and, as usual, she immediately launched into a breathless diatribe lasting the entire walk home. Today, her monologue was on the subject of industrial lighting systems. For once, it was actually quite an interesting speech.

It seems that her school, having recently upgraded some of its buildings to incorporate either solar panels or commercial-scale LED lighting, had also acquired an intelligent energy monitoring system that pinpoints when and where energy is being used. As such, the school is conducting an student-led experiment to compare the relative efficiency of each of these new technological interventions. Sounds cool; I’m a bit envious actually. My uni should do this.

I suppose that, once you get to uni, you’re expected to set these kinds initiatives in motion yourself. If you identify a gap to filled, you’re less at liberty to complain about it unless you’re willing to take charge of it yourself. I guess I’m envious of primary school kids in general, where things are generally served up for you. In particular, current primary school children are getting the technologies of the future delivered direct to their malleable minds.

That, I’ll admit, has its downsides as well as its upsides. But in terms of this energy saving tech, it seems like it’s probably going the be pretty useful – especially if it sets up an abiding interest in these kids’ minds, which in turn becomes the round of innovations in that field. Commercial solar system installation, in Melbourne at least, is fast becoming de rigeur, which I think is a good thing. Stuff catching on can definitely be for positive ends, and injecting it into school curriculums seems like an effective way of achieving this.  

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely believe that kids should be taught to think for themselves. I guess, as a psychology and environmental science major, I’m just interested in how the process of ideas catching on takes place, particularly with regard to reducing carbon emissions.