Posted by: Sara Carbone on: March 16, 2012
These presentations are blowing my mind.
My husband recently introduced me to the fascinating world of TED. TED – Ideas Worth Spreading (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit that holds conferences gathering luminaries from all over the world. At these conferences individuals give talks and performances about ideas close to their hearts – ideas ethical, spiritual, financial, technological, creative, political, you name it. Some presenters are famous (Bono, Bill Gates, Al Gore), others are just regular – but certainly not ordinary – folk. TED has posted about 40 years worth of these amazing talks online for public viewing.
I’ve been profoundly moved, inspired, and provoked by what I hear. And I’m laughing too, since many of these people are downright entertaining. When I watch (or listen to) the education themed talks I find myself examining how I think about learning, creativity and education in general. Some favorite TED talks on education:
What adults can learn from kids - Something of a child prodigy, Adora Svitak urges people the world over to embrace the way kids think: boldly, creatively and with endless hope. This astonishingly articulate girl advocates for an education system that honors kids’ dreams because the adults are as willing to learn from children as they are to teach them.
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity – LOVE this guy. Brilliant, poignant, hysterical. Key quotes: “I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it.” and “You don’t think of Shakespeare being a child, do you? Shakespeare being seven? He was seven at some point. He was in somebody’s English class, wasn’t he? How annoying would that be?”
Sugata Mitra shows how kids teach themselves – This professor of educational technology demonstrates the power of “minimally invasive education.” He discusses the Hole in the Wall project, in which impoverished children teach themselves and each other how to use computers entirely without teacher input. Mitra’s ideas about the power of curiosity and peer-shared knowledge offer wonderful challenges to formal education as we know it. Key quote: “Education is a self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon.”
Learning from a barefoot movement – The founder of a school that teaches rural women and men in Rajasthan, India talks about how many of the members – which include about 7,000 children – learn to become solar engineers, artisans and doctors in their own villages. The wonderfully charismatic Bunker Roy tells us, “[The Barefoot College] is the only college where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher.”
Lead like the great conductors – A former conductor and current business visionary, Itay Talgam reveals how the experience of making music can be a model for human creativity in both the classroom and the boardroom. In this hilarious and ultimately moving talk, Talgam shows how conducting and playing concert music reveals much about organizational behavior and leadership styles. The Leonard Bernstein footage was riveting.
So for 15-20 minutes that might spark some wonderful, revelatory and even crazy inspiration about your child’s education, try a TED Talk.
Note – You can see the education themed TEDs grouped or download the podcast series at TEDTalks Education