Top 10 TED Talks on Education

Would it be surprising if a selection of some of the world’s greatest minds all felt that education is moving in the wrong direction? One of the consistent trends of TED talks is that the discussions on education all seem to imply that our modern notion of education needs to be reconstructed from the ground up.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED speech is one that any creative artist will drastically benefit from. She speaks of the problem that a creative artist faces when they believe that they must be the source of what it is that is genius. She speaks from the experience of writing a best-selling book and explains how humans have attached themselves to the idea of being a genius rather than being a conduit of genius.

Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education
In this video, Salman Khan explains his innovative approach to teaching: The Khan Academy. It features a series of video lessons that have all been stringently organized to efficiently teach math, and it is now rapidly expanding into other subjects. Salman demonstrates the effectiveness of video lectures and interactivity while explaining why teachers should be more inclined to reverse the roles of video lessons and homework.

Sugata Mitra shows how kids teach themselves
LIFT is a showcase gathering where the best minds meet to discuss the creative challenges of the modern world. This video is from the 2007 gathering, highlighting Sugata Mitra’s incredible findings with an unorthodox approach to teaching with a literal “hole in the wall” computer system. The evidence suggests that children will learn for themselves without the need for excessive guidance.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
In his famous talk at TED 2006, Sir Ken Robinson explains that the biggest problem facing modern education is that schools destroy creativity in the process of teaching kids technicality. He gives clear examples of how modern practices punish creative students and reward generic responses. Ken explains why this is fundamentally impeding of creative development.

Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
This video is a follow up from a talk given in 2006. Sir Ken Robinson presents his ideas and evidence that have led him to believe that standardized education is moving in the wrong direction. He emphasizes the value of personalized education that allows each student to capitalize on their natural talents and the power of passion.

Liz Coleman’s call to reinvent liberal arts education
Liz Coleman is an advocate of educational reform and the president of Bennington. In her talk, she advocates synergy in education as opposed to the modern trend of narrowing fields of study down into static specializations. She explains why diverse education is necessary to solve our greatest problems.

Gabe Zichermann: How games make kids smarter
Gabe Zicherman challenges the notion that video games are a waste of time. He presents information that suggests video games are critical intellectual tools that can work to improve almost any aspect of cognitive performance. Could video games be making the human race smarter?

Arthur Benjamin: Teach statistics before calculus!
In his talk, Arthur Benjamin addresses the common fundamental question of an advanced math student: “Will I ever use this in real life?” His talk poignantly explains that the old-world model of teaching mathematics can be scrapped in favor of applying advanced mathematics to the digital era, making math more useful and mathematicians more abundant.

Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums
In his quest to find profound examples of new approaches to education, Charles Leadbeater found them in a place that might not seem so obvious: the poverty-stricken slums of Rio and Kibera. The cities are home of some of the world’s poorest children, yet they have an interesting approach to learning that Leadbeater suggests should be more prevalent in standard education.

Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
Conrad Wolfram, Strategic and International Director of Wolfram Research, articulates why the way that the modern world teaches math is both too tedious to be effective and too irrelevant to be embraced. He argues that teaching youth with computer programming is the right approach to these problems.