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5 Must Watch TED Talks on Education

BrainGain magazine brings you top five top TED talks on education. Be inspired.
BY Tridib Misra |   04-08-2015

Here is our list of must watch TED Talks on education for anyone interested in the topic!

  1. Sir Ken Robinson - Do schools kill creativity?
    With such a bold title, it is no wonder that English author, speaker, and education expert, Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 TED Talk - ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity’ is one of the most watched TED Talks of all time. 
    In a humorous and engaging manner, he makes the case for how our current education system is systematically killing creativity. Using anecdotes and stories, Robinson highlights how children, by nature, are not frightened of being wrong or incorrect. However, when they become adults, they become scared of failure and taking risks, because, through our educational institutions, failure is stigmatized and looked down upon. 
    The compartmentalized model of education, which is prevalent all over the world, was one created at the time of industrialization, and this model is actually educating people out of there creative capacities. Because of this, he calls for serious reform.

  2. Tony Wagner - Play, passion, purpose
    Harvard Professor of Education, Tony Wagner, contends that young people need to be educated in a system that fosters innovation. Using his model of play, passion, purpose, he says parents, teachers and employers need to develop an innovation-driven economy, where young people can find innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. 
    Wagner argues that the culture of schooling is at glacial odds with the environment that creates innovations in the following five ways:
    • Education systems celebrate individual achievement, YET innovation without teamwork is hard to find.
    • Schools and universities focus on hyper-specialization and compartmentalization of subjects, YET innovation is multi-disciplinary and in essence, problem solving.
    • Society at large penalizes failure and creates young people who are risk averse, YET innovation cannot happen without failure.
    • Education focuses on passive consumption, YET innovation is all about creating and producing ideas and products.
    • There is a heavy reliance on extrinsic motivators such as grades, YET innovation is based on intrinsic motivators and a deeper and more meaningful desire.

    He concludes, saying that it is an absolute necessity to ensure young people are continuous learners, are active/informed citizens, have the ability to change the world and are equipped to find meaning in their existence. And this can be done by making them innovators by converting their ideas of play and passion into purpose.

  3. Seth Godin - Stop Stealing Dreams
    Famous writer, entrepreneur and marketer, Seth Godin’s talk “Stop Stealing Dreams” asks the ever-pressing question, “What is school for”? Using history as a backbone, he says, as do the others on this list, that schooling today resembles something created for the industrial age. We no longer live in such a time, where we require consumers. Today’s information age requires producers, and current models of education are doing the exact opposite.
    This is problematic and has practical ideas to make things: flipped classrooms with lectures at home and homework in class, open book/open note ALL the time (we live in the age of the internet after all), focused education that is interdisciplinary, cooperation rather than isolation and, the measurement of experience rather than grades and scores. 
    Based on his thoughts on education, he has also written a manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams (What is school for?), which is a great read.

  4. Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
    Sugata Mitra, Professor of Education Technology at Newcastle University is on a mission - to build an education system that is self-directed by children. 
    He uses research from his “The Hole in the Wall” project, where he inserted computers in a slum in Delhi and let children use it, to revolutionize education using technology. His research suggests that groups of children can learn to use computers and the internet by themselves, and use it to direct their own learning. 
    Mitra’s main premises are that if children have interest, then education happens, and that the role of the teacher is changing - teachers are no longer the pedestals of knowledge who lead from the front, but are rather agents of learning who lead from the back by facilitating the education process.
    He won the 2013 TED Prize of USD 1 million and is now working on creating a “School in the Cloud”, which is a built on his research in self organized learning environments (learning environments that appear without explicit intervention from the outside). You can read up more on future plans with the succeeding TED talk, “Build a School in the Cloud”.

  5. Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit
    Psychologist and educator Angela Lee Duckworth has done extensive research on the origins of success. Studying this idea in a multitude of contexts, from corporate to schooling to military, her research on the topic has overwhelmingly found that the key to success is grit, and not necessarily intelligence or inherent talent. So what exactly is grit? Grit is about a solid work ethic and constant motivation to meet long term objectives, and an understanding that failure is not a permanent condition
    She goes further to ask a more fundamental question - how do you develop grit? It is all about encouraging “growth mindset”, a process in which we take our best ideas, and our strongest intuitions, and test them. If they don’t work out, we should be open to learning from our mistakes and keep trying until we succeed.

Tridib Misra (@tridibmisra) writes on education, skills and leadership. He is passionate about development, and wants to use the confluence of technology and education to change communities and countries.



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