Posts Tagged ‘TED’

The significance of TED

August 12, 2010

I’ve embedded a few videos from TED in blog posts. After all, why try to explain the content of a talk given by someone when I can simply relay the talk itself? I’ve just come across this online article (How TED Connects the Idea-Hungry Elite) that explains the background and significance of TED. Unlike YouTube, TED organizes its own annual conference, and then makes the presentations freely available online. The Open Translation Project has further extended the reach of these cutting-edge ideas. The significance of this for education need hardly be spelled out. Here’s a key extract from the article:

if you were starting a top university today, what would it look like? You would start by gathering the very best minds from around the world, from every discipline. Since we’re living in an age of abundant, not scarce, information, you’d curate the lectures carefully, with a focus on the new and original, rather than offer a course on every possible topic. You’d create a sustainable economic model by focusing on technological rather than physical infrastructure, and by getting people of means to pay for a specialized experience. You’d also construct a robust network so people could access resources whenever and from wherever they like, and you’d give them the tools to collaborate beyond the lecture hall. Why not fulfill the university’s millennium-old mission by sharing ideas as freely and as widely as possible?

If you did all that, well, you’d have TED.

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Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs

June 22, 2010

This talk by entrepreneur, Cameron Herold, is very much in keeping with the ideas expressed by John Gatto and Ken Robinson, and even suggests a link between entrepreneurial tendencies and so-called Attention Deficit Disorder:

Bring on the learning revolution!

May 27, 2010

Following on from my 1 April post – Do schools kill creativity? – I discovered the other day that a sequel by Sir Ken Robinson has been posted on TED this month. ‘Bring on the learning revolution!’ was recorded in February of this year, and is as inspiring and entertaining as the 2006 forerunner. The following points were highlights for me:

  • Educational reform is not sufficient: it is ‘improving a broken model’ – what is required is revolution, not evolution.
  • There is a ‘tyranny of common sense’ – the idea that things can’t be done any other way.
  • We have a fast-food model of education – where everything is standardised.
  • ‘The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit, it doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.’
  • We have to change from an industrial model of education, based on linearity and conformity, and batching people, to a model based on principles derived from agriculture.
  • Human flourishing is an organic process rather than a mechanical one.
  • You cannot predict the outcome of human development – all you can do is create the conditions under which people can flourish.
  • Education must be customised and personalised to the people who are being taught.
  • Technology should be used to accomplish this.
  • The story that Robinson tells about the fireman reminded me of one of the tales of Mulla Nasrudin, the fabled Sufi character who often instructs through jokes:

    Nasrudin sometimes took people for trips in his boat. One day a fussy pedagogue hired him to ferry him across a very wide river. As soon as they were afloat, the scholar asked whether it was going to be rough. ‘Don’t ask me nothing about it,’ said Nasrudin. ‘Have you never studied grammar?’ ‘No,’ said the Mulla. ‘In that case, half your life has been wasted.’ The Mulla said nothing. Soon a terrible storm blew up. The Mulla’s crazy cockleshell was filling with water. He leaned over towards his companion. ‘Have you ever learnt to swim?’ ‘No,’ said the pedant. ‘In that case, schoolmaster, ALL your life is lost, for we are sinking.’

    Do schools kill creativity?

    April 1, 2010

    I’ve posted this elsewhere, and mentioned it many times! The speaker makes some very important points in a highly entertaining way.