Training Students for 2030 @DisruptorLabs

Zayn Patel
13 min readJul 29, 2021
current landing page mocked up on figma. this is the only image you’ll see in the article. intentionally wanted to keep it clean for best reader view/concept engagement.

Training students to be problem-solvers vs. answer-seekers is how we solve climate change, reactive healthcare, global poverty, etc.

The problem is, most students are answer seekers. I want to train kids to think differently.

I started writing Gamifying Education in January alongside Eric Koester and Georgetown University. The premise of the book is to write the blueprint to build new schools and document my vision for the education system as I begin to create it throughout the next 5–10 years.

The inevitable fact is — school needs an update. The system is unknowingly training students to think inside the box, follow the rubric, and prioritize passing over learning. A push for enrichment based extracurriculars has helped students maximize their knowledge at a micro-scale but most of the training is confined within the extracurricular time. Students are training new skills in the extracurricular program but are still going to 30+ hours of school/week, working on homework assignments, etc which creates a conflict of cognitive interest. We can’t train students to be the future of the leaders of the world in the extracurricular and then send them to school and have them become re-trained by outdated systems that finite metrics mater and their success is bounded to a career.

The status quo of education is overly structured — sit in a classroom, listen to a teacher, write notes, and study for the test. It’s autonomy-deficient — students are forced to take specific classes for the credit/graduation requirements; and it’s training students for the past — no classes on artificial intelligence, creating networks/sustainable relationships, the metaverse, etc.

Since January I’ve thought a ton about how I want to build the future of education and after I got into On Deck a month ago I decided I was going to build a pilot for the school (August/September launch). Education is a space that needs a moonshot idea. This problem requires a 10x solution, not a 10% fix.

Hence, the creation of disruptor labs — a digital school that’s replacing current education and giving students access to 1:1 communities, gamified grading and incentive systems, and daily build sessions with their peers. I believe that this is the school that will create…

Zayn Patel

Working on space technology and policy, improving government with data science, and launching a cubesat mission.