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 15 2012: So many of my fellow professors call female students 'girls.' I and others call them women, and for some of the undergrad students I get the feeling that isn't something they're used to, but they like it and it sends a message to them that we see them as mature adults. I have huge respect for my students just because they're on this planet.
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      Jun 15 2012: Too many profs and students themselves refer to students as "kids" and I wonder from a linguistic standpoint of cultural learning how much that is affecting the environment in academia and in classrooms. We need to watch our words from our mouths as much as we attend to them on paper.
      • Jun 18 2012: In my opinion it affects the environment a lot. If students are being called: “kids” they might have notion that the professor doesn’t treat them seriously. It is interesting that even students sometimes refer to themselves as “kids”. Probably it happens because they don’t feel as adults (at least in school). An easy example might be attendance. Professors check the attendance with great scrutiny (at least in public colleges) which indicates lack of trust. Since college is for adults the perception should be that “I don’t have to take attendance because they are all responsible and they go to college to expend their knowledge.”

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