The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education For Everyone

Your Education is Our World

Education may be understood in one of two broad ways. Either it is about teaching people a discrete set of facts they will be able to repeat – multiplication tables and The Lord’s Prayer are two examples – or it is about helping people learn how to function in the world – crossing the street, using the Dewey Decimal System, reading a map all fit into this category.

The first understanding is not without value. It is important to know an alphabet, basic math facts, or what “President” means. But the second is crucial to survival. Humans, from the very start, needed to know how to hunt, how to recognize safe plants from poisonous ones, how to find their way back home.

And almost as soon as humans began to function as “humans” – this process of learning to function in the world began to revolve around tools. Humans are tool makers and tool users. It truly is our most significant distinction among the species on the planet. Sure, many animals use a few basic tools, but no other creature uses as many tools, or constantly refines those tools, or continuously invents new tools. It is almost a definition of “humanity.”

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