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: Diminishing people is easy. One professor told me that it wasn't his job to 'engage' his students. He says his lectures give them the information they need and if they choose not to absorb it that wasn't his problem. I suggested he might save himself the trouble and just put a tape recorder out.

    I see teaching as somewhat parallel to parenting or managing a dept at a company. The instructor is in charge and sets the tone, and there are many things they can do to uplift students, to encourage participation and growth using simple rules like praising in public, criticizing in private.
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      Jun 15 2012: we just talked (2 sections of 20 adults) about "who's in charge" and how that shows up in who can move and how in the classroom (doing ethnographic work on ourselves in a way) and who gets to define just about everything even in so called innovative classes.
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      Jun 15 2012: You know, I tested out of so many courses that I know I don't even need that professor. Give me a syllabus and a text, and I can pretty much test out of anything. So he is partially right and you are partially right.

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