TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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There should be an equivalent to the Nobel Prize for education.

As I heard a brilliant speaker say once: if we can fix the problems in education, then that will, in turn, fix most of the other problems. That is profound, and it speaks to the fact that the better education system we create, the more medical and scientific and even peaceful innovations our future scientists and activists will come up with.

What is more, I think Dean Kamen should be the first recipient. His creation of the FIRST robotics program is a piece of exemplary science. Far too much - in fact most - of discussion about education policy and practice is mired in theory and abstract research debates. Kamen has run an experiment to ground his claims, and it has been replicated over and over proving it as a core approach to re-engaging our kids in learning.

In 30 years, the number of leading scientists, innovators, and researchers who can point to their experiences in the FIRST program as a keystone of their success will be staggering.


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  • Jul 5 2012: I completely agree. Recognition for educational advancement is severely lacking. If only they skipped the Nobel Prize and made them Head of Education of the country they reside. It seems the people who head up these systems are there more and more from politics rather than performance.
    • Jul 5 2012: Precisely. But then... you might ruin a great teacher by turning them into an Administrator. A conundrum indeed.

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