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The Best TED Talks about Education

TED is a home for some incredibly interesting and fascinating talks; in fact, sometimes you may find yourself attentively listening to a talk on a topic that you never thought about before. And if you are an educator or interested in education it is a veritable goldmine of information. Let’s take a look at some TED talks on education anybody will find inspiring.

1. Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

Ken Robinson, author of Element, is a well-known education and creativity expert, and this talk is the quintessence of his views on formal education. Mr. Robinson believes our educational system, having been developed in 19th century for the needs of industrial society, is outdated and obsolete, and this talk explains what approaches we need to adopt if we want our children to be able to meet the challenges of the quickly changing world.

2. Peter Norvig: The 100,000 Student Classroom

Peter Norvig, one of the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence, tells about his experience of teaching a class in Stanford university which was attended by 175 students present in the auditorium – and more than 100,000 more by means of an interactive webcast. He speaks about the challenges of such an unfamiliar way of presenting education, its possibilities and prospects.

3. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Sugata Mitra, the winner of TED Prize Wish, describes how he sees the future of education based on his own experiments with self-organized learning environments. He believes that most people are intrinsically curious, willing and capable of learning – if they are provided with right incentives to do so, they will teach themselves almost anything. Mr. Mitra recounts his experiments with placing computers in walls where people who had no prior experience of computers or Internet could freely use them – and fantastic progress these people made all on their own.

4. Bill Gates: Teachers Need Real Feedback

Bill Gates makes it his business to be interested and involved in a great many things, and education is one of them. The main point of this talk is that teachers don’t get nearly enough feedback to learn from their experience and improve their performance. Right now, about the only thing they learn about the results of their work is whether their students pass an exam once a year – which is too scanty a diet to live on.

5. Joachim de Posada: Don’t Eat the Marshmallow!

This short talk recounts an educational experiment on importance of delayed gratification held in Stanford back in the 60s, and its underlying importance for bringing up competitive and successful adults. The experiments showed that children who showed better ability to control themselves and delay gratification showed better results in all spheres of activity later in life – which means that it should be one of the first things children are taught both by parents and educators.

TED follows its slogan – ideas worth spreading – to the letter. If you are an educator, you are certain to find a lot to learn here.

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