22 Education TED talks to make you think

These education-focused TED talks aim to answer the question: "As a country, how can we better inspire our students — and support our educators?"


Sal Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now -- and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada dares the system to look at the data, think about the customers and make systematic shifts in order to help greater numbers of kids excel.

Michelle Obama: A passionate, personal case for education

Speaking to an audience of students, US First Lady Michelle Obama reminds each one to take their education seriously -- and never take it for granted. This new, brilliant generation, she tells us, is the one that could close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

Nadia Lopez: Why open a school? To close a prison

Our kids are our future, and it's crucial they believe it themselves. That's why Nadia Lopez opened an academic oasis in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the most underserved and violent neighborhoods in New York -- because she believes in every child's brilliance and capabilities. In this short, energizing talk, the founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy (and a star of Humans of New York) shares how she helps her scholars envision a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard

On Linda Cliatt-Wayman's first day as principal at a failing high school in North Philadelphia, she was determined to lay down the law. But she soon realized the job was more complex than she thought. With palpable passion, she shares the three principles that helped her turn around three schools labeled "low-performing and persistently dangerous." Her fearless determination to lead -- and to love the students, no matter what -- is a model for leaders in all fields.

Sugata Mitra: Kids can teach themselves

Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own -- and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education -- the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

Bill Gates: Mosquitos, malaria and education

Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world's biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them. (And see the Q&A on the TED Blog.)

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

 

In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools' dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers.

Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums

Charles Leadbeater went looking for radical new forms of education -- and found them in the slums of Rio and Kibera, where some of the world's poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. And this informal, disruptive new kind of school, he says, is what all schools need to become.

Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools

How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another -- then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.

Takaharu Tezuka: The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen

At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world's cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids.

Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change

Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She's teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers' minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.

John Hunter: Teaching with the World Peace Game

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

John Hardy: My green school dream

Join John Hardy on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college). The centerpiece of campus is the spiraling Heart of School, perhaps the world's largest freestanding bamboo building.

Freeman Hrabowski: 4 pillars of college success in science

At age 12, Freeman Hrabowski marched with Martin Luther King. Now he's president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students -- specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners -- get degrees in math and science. He shares the four pillars of UMBC's approach.

Timothy Bartik: The economic case for preschool

In this well-argued talk, Timothy Bartik makes the macro-economic case for preschool education -- and explains why you should be happy to invest in it, even if you don't have kids that age (or kids at all). The economic benefits of well-educated kids, it turns out, go well beyond the altruistic.

Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course

Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan developed a curriculum for their students to build a computer, piece by piece. When they put the course online -- giving away the tools, simulators, chip specifications and other building blocks -- they were surprised that thousands jumped at the opportunity to learn, working independently as well as organizing their own classes in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A call to forget about grades and tap into the self-motivation to learn.

Kang Lee: Can you really tell if a kid is lying?

Are children poor liars? Do you think you can easily detect their lies? Developmental researcher Kang Lee studies what happens physiologically to children when they lie. They do it a lot, starting as young as two years old, and they're actually really good at it. Lee explains why we should celebrate when kids start to lie and presents new lie-detection technology that could someday reveal our hidden emotions.

Richard Baraniuk: The birth of the open-source learning revolution

In 2006, open-learning visionary Richard Baraniuk explains the vision behind Connexions (now called OpenStax), an open-source, online education system. It cuts out the textbook, allowing teachers to share and modify course materials freely, anywhere in the world.

Blaise Agüera y Arcas: How computers are learning to be creative

We're on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity -- and it's not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them.

Find eight more educational TED talks here


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