TED Conversations

Kyra Gaunt

Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, Assoc.Professor, Kyraocity Works


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How does the status quo design of student - faculty interactions diminish innovation in the classroom? How to hack higher ed?

This Live Conversation with TED Fellow Kyra Gaunt will open on June 15th, 1pm EDT.
Note: Conversation has been extended until June 17th.

There are many TED talks about innovation in education, but most focuses on K-12 education. There are also amazing talks about breaking the code on our relationship to work, to learning, and to our application of knowledge (aka wisdom).

Students call me Professor G. I am a professor of anthropology, ethnomusicology and racism studies. I am also a 2009 TED Fellow. My students in cultural anthropology are interested in engaging the TED community in a conversation around how to hack the design of the higher ed classroom where emerging adults and their supposed mentors, if a design was scalable, could truly become the consumers of their own productivity as students.

My aim as a professor is to help students realize they are great students, great citizens and great human beings NOW not after graduation.

To truly explore this question, we need diverse perspectives and we intend to discover the power of extending the classroom beyond its four walls with a weekly TED conversation around a question related to hacking the higher ed classroom.

What if the classroom interactions were designed for sustainability, for curiosity, and for innovating thinking? What would we talk about? What could we talk about? And wouldn't we talk about anymore?

Consider grading (but we do need so way to measure accurate thinking). Consider the power dynamics of the student-teacher conversation around grades, assignments, and dialogue. And consider the role of the repositories of knowledge and experience that often goes unnoticed, the students themselves.

Do we need textbooks anymore? Would Google and the students' experience be enough in an anthropology or social science course? #justaskin

Also consider issues of ethnic and gender representation relative to issues of power and training emerging adults to be leaders in a globalizing world.


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    Jun 3 2012: You might wonder why I chose some of these videos. I loved Jimmy Wales video on Wikipedia and always wondered why professors around the country do not use, rather than denigrate, the open source potential of Wikipedia to alter the listening of their particular disciplines since it is accessed by millions daily.

    Derek Sivers and Tim Ferriss are innovators around work and organizational behavior and their thinking is so undervalued in academic environments. I'd also add the video by technologist Josh Klein "The Intelligence of Crows"

    Liz Coleman's talk on reinventing the liberal arts and Barry Schwartz videos speak to the culture and discourse, the hidden and unspoken social constructs that keep the status quo in place in my POV. I'd add Dan Ariely's video too esp. because it addresses cheating which is a ripe subject for a future conversation relative to college classrooms.

    TED curator Chris Anderson's talk on the power of TED's videos speaks to the key role TED Talks have played in my classrooms since early 2008. Sometimes i think just playing talks and talking about them with emerging adults is a fine education and then having them study, write and research from there. TED talks are more than the next Harvard.

    And finally what would a conversation about education be without Ken Robinson's videos? Where is the design element for creativity in education? Where is the sustainability of genius we all had as young people?

    Look forward to the conversation.
    • Jun 15 2012: I teach early childhood education (ECE) at a community college and we use a lot of video clips from a variety of places. The ones that seem to work especially well are the ones that students find themselves. Our ECE faculty have a few video clip services that we send students to. We ask them to find clips that demonstrate a particular developmental stage, for instance. Then they post the video they found and their understanding of how it links to the work we are discussing. It is the search that seems to prove so beneficial for everyone. Of course we use TED talks as well.
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        Jun 15 2012: Did you get my reply to you? Don't see it. Can rewrite.
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        Jun 15 2012: What do you consider the elements of classroom design between students and teacher? Do you ever discuss this with your students (of course you do in elementary ed). But would love to hear your thoughts among your emerging adults in your classroom.
        • Jun 15 2012: Sorry, having all sorts of tech issues. Didn't get this until just now. In ECE there is a lot of discussion around child-directed activities and teacher-directed activities and the balance between the two. Then we talk about the same thing in relation to the courses they take at the college. What works for some...doesn't work for others but the constant change and availability of options for learning activities is what seems to work. Some days I set up "learning centers" that my students filter through at their own discretion just the same way preschoolers would during "free play."

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