X is for X Marks the Spot

| February 9, 2014
1. The X on a map is the place where you need to be. All other aspects of the map represent the guideposts and obstacles that will either help you along your journey or hinder your arrival to the marked place.
2. The X is most popular on treasure maps. My brother and I would make buried treasure maps in the backyard of our childhood home. Each map had a large X, usually in red, that told us where we needed to go. We didn’t really need the map, since we had buried the treasure just a few hours before with the intention of having to find it again, but the map was a necessary part of our journey.
3. The treasure map is an invitation to adventure. The treasure, of course, is a nice reward, but is secondary to the experience of searching.
4. Many aspects of the field of education tend to focus on the X, the possibility of treasure. Whether this treasure is higher test scores, or a well-paying job, or acceptance into an elite college, each educational path tends to focus on the X, the end goal. The adventure has been relegated to a lower status. The learning experience becomes secondary to the desired outcome. How much learning is lost when we try to remove the actual experience from the learning environment?