In my many years as a teacher, the students that go really far are the ones that thought outside the box. Today particularly, people who think in different ways don’t have to fit into a rigid traditional system in order to be successful in life. Many social media entrepreneurs got where they are today by challenging tradition.
When I wanted to find projects for my New Media students to do in 1995, no one from the traditional media was interested. They couldn’t see the money in it, the point of it, or the future in it. Because of this, the first newspaper that was put online in the whole of Africa was called Grab and published by teenagers from a local township school. No one in the traditional media was interested. My university forced my Bachelor of Journalism students to carry an extra subject and do an extra credit in their second year because their studies were considered too practical and not sufficiently theoretical. At the end of that first year, my students were the only ones in Africa to be able to code and design web pages (all manually), write for online readers, and do research on the internet. Newspapers were phoning me daily begging for my students to come and work for them. Many of those students went on to do great things in the world of New Media. The one who has done the best for himself found a way around my computer typing test (yep I taught typing and shorthand). Not because he wanted to cheat the system, but because he wanted to beat the system. He has been responsible for revolutionising ICT in South Africa.
So I really love many of these answers. These kids may not be working in terms of the curriculum, but many of them are smart!