Passion and engagement…each of these is evident in the TEDTalks represented below. Contrast that with the ways some choose to engage students. One approach seeks to harness creativity, problem-solving, innovation and partnership, while the latter focuses on fear-mongering, test-taking and keeping the peace. But wait, let’s not get caught up solely in two choices.
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Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slumsLeadbeater explains that the vast majority of population growth in the next three decades will occur in poor, crowded cities, and that we need to reach kids in these situations if we are going to educate the majority of the world’s young. In this video, many examples of innovative approaches to teaching in these circumstances are offered. Leadebeater notes that, “you have to engage people before you can teach them” (sounds familiar, doesn’t it!). In these challenging environments, a “pull” approach is necessary in order to succeed (versus the forced “push” approach used in richer nations). Education only works if it is motivating and inspiring in these situations, and the approaches being used offer many new ideas that can be leveraged in schools everywhere to improve the educational process.
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven educationThis video discusses “The Hole In The Wall” experiment that Mitra started in New Delhi in 1999. Children deprived of learning opportunities available in other parts of the world nevertheless figured out the computer at their disposal and started using it to learn and to teach each other. These results repeated themselves as the experiment was conducted in various other locales. Kids can and will teach kids. How can we take advantage of this to improve on education across the world?
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computersMath as it’s taught in classrooms rarely echoes math as it used in the real word. Wolfram (the driving force behind the Wolfram-Alpha “knowledge engine”) suggests that we consider changing the math teaching model, to teach kids to conceptualize problems and use computerized tools to apply solutions, as opposed to the present model of spending inordinate amounts of time teaching how to perform calculations “by hand”. He methodically addresses many misperceived ideas behind today’s approach to math education.
Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigmsThis delightfully illustrated video entertains while educating. The video does a wonderful job of explaining how today’s factory-like education model is outmoded and how it needs to evolve into a more personalized model if we are going to take it to a new level.
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