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Live Chat today at 4pm Eastern: "Why School? How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere"

Author Will Richardson will be joining us for a live Q&A today at 4pm Eastern!

Continuing with our series of TED book chats, for the next week and a half we'll be discussing Will Richardson's new TED eBook, "Why School?"

Traditional educators, classrooms, and brick-and-mortar schools are no longer necessary to access information. Instead, things like blogs and wikis, as well as remote collaborations and an emphasis on 'critical thinking' skills are the coins of the realm in this new kingdom. Yet the national dialogue on education reform focuses on using technology to update the traditional education model, failing to reassess the fundamental model on which it is built.

In TED's new eBook, "Why School?", educator, author, parent and blogger Will Richardson challenges traditional thinking about education—questioning whether it still holds value in its current form.

The book is available for Kindle, Nook, and iOS devices (which have a great new custom TED Books app):

Kindle copy: http://www.amazon.com/Why-School-Information-Everywhere-ebook/dp/B00998J5YQ
iOS app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ted-books/id511071050?mt=8

You can also read more on Will's blog: http://willrichardson.com

So, let's get things started... when information is everywhere, what is the purpose of traditional schools?

Topics: education

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    Oct 8 2012: The purpose of "traditional" schools was to train a labor and managerial class. That purpose is now defunct. "School" needs to be reframed through the question "how do we best support learning?"
    • Oct 8 2012: Suporting education and learning is being discussed during the presidential debates and I think that both candidates are thinking about how they can do this.
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        Oct 8 2012: I wish I could agree. I don't think either candidate really sees the education world in any real different light from the one we've had for 100+ years. They want to make it better. I want to make it different.
        • Oct 8 2012: I totally agree with you! Education doesn't seem to be important to either candidate. We all know testing is not the indicator of learning. We need educators making these decisions...not politicians.
        • Oct 8 2012: There was so much hope that Obama would see it different, but no child left behind morphed to a race to the top...left behind or last in the race, both are disappointments.

          If exams - high stakes or otherwise - remain the focus as the key product of a high school education we are going to be spinning wheels that so desperately need to get some real traction toward meaningful systemic change. Did I read that some cities or boards in the States are voting to drop out of the testing process? Do students at High Tech High have to complete the same tests as the rest of the students in California?
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      Oct 8 2012: And the problem is that the answer to that question is not quantifiable and sortable and rankable. But it is the absolute correct question.
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        Oct 8 2012: It's only a problem in the frame of our current thinking for how assessment has to occur!
      • Oct 8 2012: I was wondering if you have reached out to any experts in terms of Performance, Authentic, and Ipsative forms of assessment who understand this new conversation around Education Transformation. There are a relatively confined set of (traditional) skills that children need to learn as well as new literacies, competencies, and dispositions that will help them thrive in a 21st century world of constant change. Is there any way that these experts can point the way to reconciling the standardized measurement of chosen learning outcomes, as we promote a very diversified and holistic vision of what students will produce and learn?
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          Oct 8 2012: It's hard, because the expectations and tests and results for "success" are so ingrained in our tradition around education. We're asking people to rethink it, not tweak it. Tough argument for many.
    • Oct 8 2012: Truer words were never spoken.
      We teach kids how to perform well in standardised tests, but do we really prepare them for the real life?
      Do we give them the necessary tools to do so? I don't think so.
      Students are prepared to be robots, mindless workers instead of thinkers, doers.
      By the time we understand this, I hope it's not too late.

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