By Irene F. Starkehaus -
Per Victor Hugo, there is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come. For the purposes of this discussion, the idea is nothing less than the brainchild of technology overlord Bill Gates and Oxford scholar David Christian. Their offspring has been christened Big History and its coming to a high school near you by some organically grown design or another.
Now, to set the record straight, the concept behind Big History isn't completely without merit if we consider the possibilities. I actually love the idea in its generic form. The theory, that is. Within the crunchy-granola, one-world exterior that is the purpose of every Bill Gates initiative lives a kernel of innovation in education that absolutely could improve a student's ability to recognize the cause and effect of any given problem and promote big picture solutions.
If any of you are familiar with the BBC series Connections starring James Burke it's a bit like that, but instead of being offered to the general TV viewing public as an everyman's History Channel look at the world, it's for course credit. You know, how did the discovery of indigo bring mankind to the evolving dollar menu at McDonald's…it's that kind of otherwise random but oddly connected thinking. It's all about stepping outside the preconceived silos of study and seeing the interconnections that exist between science and history – what a great way to make learning more relevant. Why be satisfied with knowing that Earth is round when you can connect it to the reason that people started wondering about its shape in the first place.