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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    Apr 12 2011: Allowing kids to take ownership and practice self reliant behaviors is perhaps the first step engaging learners....Is the next step co-creating a curriculum?
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      Apr 13 2011: Yes,i strongly believe it is.
      You can't teach an old dog new tricks,but you can teach old tricks to a young dog.
    • Apr 14 2011: Yes! As a high school senior, I can attest to this--education has to be more personalized, and kids should feel like they're investing in their education rather than working through a dictat.

      It is absolutely imperative to begin this process at a young age. From my experience of going through the public school system in Canada, kids are naturally creative, innovative, and curious people--if anything, I think the emphasis should be on developing a method that can teach children 'the necessities' while still allowing a great deal of space for children to pursue their interests. This reminds me of the Montessori system, which purportedly has generated good results in kids and youth who have attended the program.

      The focus on totally linear academic learning in most public schools has generated quite a few ridiculous circumstances in my personal past. The fact that children are assessed on how 'creative' an art project is or how neatly they've coloured within the lines should definitely be raising eyebrows! Kids are taught from the very beginning that there is only one right, linear way to do things and to not even consider other approaches to problems. If this is how the system works, where rote, monotonous learning is continually perpetuated and creative learning/teaching is almost non-existent, it is unsurprising that the apathy rate in students is so high.

      Kids fundamentally want to be engaged and in charge of their work! The prevalent education-in-a-box paradigm, however, has to be changed in order for that to happen. Learning should be a co-operative process that emphasizes creative development equally, if not more so, as much as the academic subjects.

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