Education, Education, Innovation

By Jessica Smith

The best ideas to modernise education (and the TED talk to match)

Here are some of our favourite inspirational videos for the innovative educator — or even the student who wants to enact change for their own school or in the future. The goals and concepts in the videos may seem unachievable — but with small movements towards the big ideas, real change can be made to education. Linda Hill promoted the most innovative ideas in TED talks about business, so we were inspired to find the very best for educators.

Credit for all the videos goes to TED

Build the school for education — Design for change

Emily Pilloton, a designer, describes how she moved to rural Bertie County, North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She’s teaching a class called ‘Studio H’ that engages students’ minds and bodies — the students’ design ideas for the school, and in the holiday, the ideas are brought into reality. She brought smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state. By designing ‘with’, not ‘for’, learning is more reciprocal, exciting and effective. She improved the wider community around the school — and this, in turn, created a wider and more effective learning environment.

What can we do?

Build our schools and libraries with the students’ opinions — the building is for learning so should be inspired by the learners.

Appreciating the variety of student’s talents — Revolution

Sir Ken Robinson makes a persuasive case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — schools should create conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish. He preaches that you should enjoy what you learn and what you do — not endure it. His message is to fight against a one-size-fits-all education model and recognise the differences between individuals.

What can we do?

Appreciate differences in learning styles, intelligence and examination technique. Not every student will suit the same teaching style.

Using online resources — Using Video to reinvent education

Salman Khan’s ‘Khan Academy’ is an innovative online education service — a video series which covers everything from mathematics to History. Over 1 million people watch the videos a month. Videos can be paused, repeated and replayed — the teaching from the video adapts to the learner. This video tells the inspirational path of Khan, an ex-worker at hedge fund, who found how powerful his teaching was via YouTube. One result of these videos is ‘flipping the classroom’ — set the videos at home so a student can learn at their own pace, and then completing ‘homework’ style work in the classroom. The learning process moves at the rate the learner needs.

What can we do?

Experiment with resources and learning processes to make a unique teaching progress which fits the individual. The Office of Ed Tech preaches the importnace of personalised learning. Online resources revolutionise modern education — textbooks are online through Bibliotech, teaching is online through the Khan Academy — we can truly optimise learning through the internet.

Green education — ‘My green school dream’

The Green School, Bali — John Hardy’s sustainable dream

This talk is the inspirational story of the creation of a wholly green school in Bali. It is made of recycled materials, uses renewable energy and promotes awareness of the impact of humans on the world. Building style in Bali is not directly applicable to the UK, but the ethos and teaching style is inspirational. It promotes green education.

What can we do? Use online resources, minimise paper use, recycle, compost.

Cultivate curiosity — 3 Rules to Spark Learning

“Students questions are the seeds of real learning” — Ramsey Musallam. Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about learning — the rules have transformed how he teaches.

  1. Curiosity comes first — follow the interests of individuals
  2. Embrace the mess — the ugliness of learning.
  3. Practise reflection — learning deserves care and revision.

What can we do?

Follow his rules: allow students to pursue their own interests and appreciate the values of the individual.