Renowned author and writer Malcolm Gladwell greets ISTE/NECC Conference on Sunday evening with thoughtful ideas about "Learning Environments" from his book "The Outliers".
Gladwell points to the learning theories of Capitalization and Compensation (anyone remember Psych 101?) to demonstrate the idea that learning environments where indivduals are challenged and have to overcome conditions actually are met with higher levels of success than those that are considered "gifted and talented" out of the gate.
Capitalization Theory suggests that you build on successes and advantages in a linear sequential way toward a goal.
Compensation Theory is a multi-directional approach that reinforces the idea of "learning from mistakes".
That individuals with Dyslexia may in fact experience higher levels of success because they have learned to "compensate" for the challenges they face with reading and writing. Skills such as negotiation, leadership, communication all compensate for a lack of ability in reading and writing. "30 % of the best known entrepreneurs suffer with Dyslexia" suggesting that these compensation skills are as if not more valuable that the standards for that type of work. These individual learn how to work in teams because they need others to help them, they learn how to lead those folks getting them to help them and finally they communication with verbal skills because they do not have the skills to communicate with writing.
Gladwell suggest we should consider creating learning environments where students are appropriately challenged and to build skills where they may not believe they have an inate talent such as math or music. Gladwell believes that by challenge peopole appropriately you will watch them work creativity and develop innovations as they compensate.