The great American architect, author and inventor Buckminster Fuller, invented the “knowledge doubling curve” that measures the amount of time it takes for knowledge to increase. According to Fuller, up until 1900 knowledge doubled every century. At the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today, it’s believed that knowledge doubles every 12 to 18 months.
The true key to increasing knowledge is access— access to a supportive learning environment, and access to tools that facilitate learning. As a teenager, Bill Gates was given access to a General Electric computer and a teletype machine. His teachers gave him access to their knowledge and access to computer time.
I believe that we have a responsibility to give our students access to the tools that they need to succeed in life. Over the years, the Sweetwater District has developed several initiatives that provide students with opportunities for success. The Compact for Success and our partnership with Alliant University and Point Loma Nazarene provides access to college. Our iPad initiative provides access to technology and learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
As the speed of knowledge increases, so does the need to increase the speed at which we access that knowledge. Learning and instruction have changed drastically over the past several years and the Sweetwater District intends to keep pace.
Our staff has been working hard over the past several years to implement the Common Core State Standards and to do it in a way that gives students the best opportunity to succeed. We want to prepare students to not only keep pace with the increase in knowledge, but to also contribute to that knowledge.
If you read about the most successful, innovative and creative people in history, they all share a few key traits. They have a drive for knowledge and a drive to make an impact on the world in which we live. They don’t let failure get the best of them and they never give up.
In the Sweetwater District we need to instill these values in ourselves and in our students. There are no obstacles that we can’t overcome and there are no challenges that can’t be remedied. Most importantly, we have the ability to give our students access to the skills and the tools that they will need for success.
Let’s not forget that we make an impact in our students’ lives on a daily basis and one day they will contribute to the speed of knowledge.
Brand is the superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District.