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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: Giving students access to experts in various fields is a key factor to making constructivist, inquiry-based approaches successful. In reality, linking students with the outside world seems is not a possibility, unless the teacher is present and monitoring every interaction. I see the networking element of students with experts and the community at large as taking time. I am thinking grades 7-9 and realize that this might be less of a concern in high school. Do you know of any strategies of creating "walled gardens" for young teen aged children to start availing of those opportunities and assuring their parents and teachers that they are safe?
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      Oct 8 2012: Sure. Edmodo is one example. But I might be a bit more sanguine about the idea that we can teach even young kids to use and make good decisions about how to use online spaces for learning. We have a HUGE role to play in that.
      • Oct 8 2012: Great. Just set that up a couple of days ago for my classes. Good to know we may be on the right track! I know of examples of younger kids making their way on the net as well. I guess inviting experts to work with students online through Edmodo will be a possibility (and I will include that in the parent letter and forms).
    • Oct 8 2012: I'm confused. I thought the point of "constructivist, inquiry-based approaches" was that you don't need experts. Yes, you need experts (in both the subject and pedagogy) to design the activities and tools, but they don't need to be in the classroom. On the contrary, the students (with gentle prodding) become their own experts because they relate to the content without intermediaries. This works best in STEM fields, which have clearer right and wrong answers, but logical reasons why an answer is one or the other and ways to transform (debug) the wrong into the right.
      • Oct 8 2012: Max, I think some of the best potential for collaborative learning is when there is no clear right and wrong answer. Hope that helps.

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