Top 5 TED Talks about School

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Audience watching filmSome adult learners look back fondly on their time at school; the friendships, the knowledge, the structure. Others are haunted by the memories of boring teachers, boring lectures and boring topics.

These students would sit in class like zombies, just waiting for the day to end so they’d be free to get on with something interesting. But you know what, a lot of these kids who hated school would actually enjoy learning outside of class. They’d get home and hop on the computer, or get out their encyclopedia and learn about zoology, or the oceans, or rainforests.

The interesting thing about learning is that if topics aren’t taught correctly then of course learners won’t enjoy being in school, or working their way through eLearning modules on their Learning Management System.

This week, we’re sharing with you our favourite 5 TED Talks all about school:

1. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Sugata begins his intriguing TED Talk by explaining where our education system came from: the Victorians. Their goal was to create identical workers who could be selected at random and jump straight into doing a job – which was fine back then, since there were lots of those jobs available. But now, our school system is still producing identical people with identical skills, but the jobs no longer exist in the same form.

“I’m not saying [the school system is] broken … It’s not broken. It’s wonderfully constructed. It’s just that we don’t need it anymore. It’s outdated.”

Watch Sugata’s TED Talk below to discover his solution to this!

2. Diane Laufenberg: How to Learn? From Mistakes

Diane, a schoolteacher, explains how school has changed since the time of her grandparents – back then, information was only available in schools. But now, of course, it’s available everywhere; on our phones, on computers, in the ‘cloud’…

Times change, so of course our approach to teaching and learning has to change, too. Here’s how Diane sees it:

3. Andreas Schleicher: Use Data to Build Better Schools

In his TED Talk, Andreas illustrates how what was once a prestigious institution (the American school system) began to lag behind as the education systems of other countries overtook it. Andreas explains how assessments of skills and abilities can show us where schools are failing and where to focus money to make improvements. Check it out below:

4. Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food

Good old Jamie Oliver. He’s a bit like Marmite – some people love him, some people want to chuck him straight in the bin. But however you feel about Jamie O, one thing is clear: he cares.

In this TED Talk, Jamie explains the important role that our schools play in teaching children about food. Did you know, some of our children don’t know what a pear is? They can’t name an onion, or a tomato – in fact, Jamie shows children calling a bunch of tomatoes ‘potatoes’!

As Jamie says, the onus is on schools and the education system to teach children about food, teach them how to be healthy and avoid all the obesity problems that are, at the moment, in all of their futures.


5. Brenda Romero: Gaming for Understanding

We’re going to be short with this description as the video is so powerful and explains the concept better than we ever could. Brenda, a game designer, creates incredible physical games that teach school-aged children about difficult topics, like slavery and Nazi concentration camps. Just watch:

As you saw in the last video, games and game mechanics are fantastic ways to teach children all sorts of topics. We at Growth Engineering do it, too, but for adults – check out the research paper below all about how we use gamification in learning to capture learners’ attention and get them engaged in their learning:

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