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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: To respond about the Ken Robinson videos, I think it would be a good idea to allow the student come up with his/her own assessment task, as long as it is approved by the teacher as being rigorous enough. The important thing is that the curriculum does not enforce a "one size fit all" model; emphasizing an inventive as apposed to an analytical approach.

    Personally I would like to see more of the Socratic method used like it is in law school, but perhaps giving the student the option to discuss the subject later in private instead of in front of everyone else; what often prevents class participation is the other students. I think the immediate feedback for defending their line of thought on the spot is extremely important, and could be employed more often.
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      Jun 15 2012: I used a socratic style along with improvising off what students share to point to things we are supposed to be learning anyhow. Yesterday's lesson was how language shapes thought. Great readings but analysing the text is boring. Analyzing ourselves dealing with language -- now that gets interesting. We talked about gender and the how boys are taunted by being called pussy . My classes are ethnically diverse so had to explain what "cunt" was for Chinese students or new immigrants for whom such language is not relevant.
      • Jun 15 2012: I definitely see the value in including the other students in the conversation, diversity and the shock factor can really can be quite effective. I also think you make a good point to establish a valuable relevance to the material, perhaps this is what makes something inventive. I think generally teachers have some recognition of all of this and many already regularly do this, but now it becomes an issue of how do you make it more conducive universally? What prevents this from happening all of the time? To be fair though, it does happen.

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