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Sarah Shewey

CEO/Founder, Happily


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How can we empower kids to reshape the education system? *A TEDActive Education Project Question*


The TEDActive Education Project will explore how children can make an impact on the education system. We hope to come out of this project with fresh ideas for ways kids can start an education revolution.

At TEDActive2011 in Palm Springs, an amazing group of individuals came together as a group to come up with a simple micro-action solution for empowering kids to be a part of the education reform conversations. After a quick 36 hour period of time, the team made a website that allows students to upload videos of their ideas on education reform.

You can empower a student to share their voice at http://elev8ed.org.

Also, please share your own ideas here, or by starting a new conversation tagged with TEDActiveEDU so we can all follow.


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    Mar 27 2011: I'd say the problem is that students in school do not really know why they are studying what they are studying.

    Mostly, the reason for them to study is to prepare for exams and tests. But if you ask a student, they will not be able to tell where concepts of math are useful in real life. I remember myself not being able to relate to the stuff I was learning. In fact I still don't know what integration or differentiation does!

    This goes for many concepts of science, math and even subjects of social science and art. Students do not know what is the relevance of studying such subjects. They do not know the importance in reality. But, for instance, when I learnt gravitation in physics, it made a lot of sense to me. I also didn't have to mug up its concepts because it explained my real life observations.

    The same can also be said about economics, languages, fine arts and so on.. If the student does not know how distribution of resources or communication skills are related to his or her real life, then the student will never understand the importance of the education system.

    This, I think, is the first and the foremost step before students, or anyone for that matter, can make a positive impact on the system. If we can help kids realize this relationship, we can surely empower them to reshape schooling.
    • Mar 28 2011: Agreed, agreed, agreed!

      Grumbling over the stupidity of learning fractions, my neice complained "I don't know why I have to learn this stupid stuff! It's not like I'm ever going to USE it!"

      So I had her take a break from studying, and had her help me bake some cookies. "One quarter of a cup of this " ... and "one and two-thirds cup" of that ... is really all it took for her to appreciate the applications.

      This is how to teach practical application and how to get a child to appreciate why they're learning what's being taught.

      It's also a great excuse to bake cookies! :-)

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