Thursday, January 10, 2008

[TIPS] In search of a particular story

Who better to ask than all of you?

 

Some time ago I listened to a report about a school in New York City. It was founded, I think, by Thomas Watson, Sr and was located on the second floor of a building there, and the report said that the building still stands.

 

The way I’m recalling it, the story goes that after the War Thomas Watson, Sr had the idea for a school unlike any other. It was equipped with all sorts of electronic equipment, radio equipment, chemistry equipment, etc. The kids, whom I believe were middle school age students, were brought in there and allowed to explore freely. There was no curriculum.

 

The report said that at first the students just drifted from one area to another, just playing with all the cool stuff. The instructors were there purely as facilitators and to be sure that the students didn’t mix something that would blow up or otherwise be harmful, or didn’t do something that would risk electrocution, etc.

 

Gradually the students began to stay in one area, deciding to concentrate on the chemistry or electronics, etc. They began to ask how to do certain things and where they could find out more about how to do what they were trying to do. They explored on their own. No grades. No tests. Nothing but access to the equipment and to books, etc.

 

The story went on to say that they accomplished amazing things, often staying late to work on their projects. It also said that EVERY ONE of those students, boys and girls alike, went on to become a CEO or President of a company in that field.

 

I THOUGHT I had heard it on NPR, but I searched the site and even wrote in and asked someone to help me find it, but to no avail. Maybe I didn’t HEAR it, but maybe I had SEEN it on TV years ago. But, my memory doesn’t include any images that would likely be included from SOME part of the story, don’t you think?

 

So, I’m asking YOU. Did you ever hear (or see) that story? Might you be able to point me to it again? I’ve been trying to refer folks to that story for a long time, but have nowhere to send them. Thanks in advance for anyone who makes the effort.

 

1 comment:

Jim Beeghley said...

Jim,

Do you mean the IBM Founder?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Watson

Jim Beeghley