Phone Phreaks, STEM Freaks, and STEM Education

Robert D. Atkinson April 1, 2013
April 1, 2013

For these phreaks phone hacking was not something they were doing to be anti-social (at least most of the time), or something easy they were dabbling in in their spare time, it was a technically complex task they were passionate about; in fact in most cases, obsessive about it. Yet, they all had pursued this passion in spite of their formal education. For the education system provided them no space to follow this passion, despite the fact that many of these individuals became self-taught highly skilled network engineers. It’s no different today, large numbers of young people are passionate — ”phreaks” if you will — about some aspect related to STEM, but like the original phone phreaks they must pursue these passions outside of formal schooling, where virtually all high schools and many colleges impose a daunting array of requirements and core curriculum based on the notion that they know best what students should learn, even if the students simply don’t care to learn it.