TED Conversations

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 28 2011: I rather suspect it´s what we don´t know that gives us magical wisdom when we´re kids. A number of recent (to me anyway) ted talks speak directly and inderectly to this point, and it´s a point that is worthy of considering for Einsteins Grand Unifying Theme. Patricia Kuhl put it exquisitely, in short paraphrasing the magnitude of the beginners mind. Salman Khan showed us how student motivated learning is key. Deb Roy showed us how environment and interaction play a role. Sugata Mitra shows me yet another angle as I type. All that said, it was Hans Rosling who showed the lynchpin in his very own story and thesis. He started his career when his mom had time to read to him. We know form Patricia that maximum impact is below the age of seven. We also know that mom is the first and most effective teacher, and that mom is always strapped for time. Therien lies the key element, the wolrds most valuable commodity: Time. So we can add time to mother (teacher) and child (student) at the critical age (as early as possible) plus language aquisition and optimal growth in something like the following equation: A School based on washing machine-created free time for mothers and their young children with play-oriented language exposure and nutritional, book and computer support in any place, preferably at the bottom of the status quo for maximum effect. Ideally it would be an international hostal with discounts for reading books to local kids in the traveller´s native language, an interactive multilingual kitchen, minimal entry cost, space to be outside and lots of room to hang laundry. Have the Khan Academy right there at my fingertips, along with the worlds knowledge in the form of google. A good book in every language. Let it all be voluntary, play oriented and student driven with adult supervision and as many elders in the building as possible. Add a focus on translation ability... A global network of sites with video conferencing for the kids for exchange....

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