TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What are the limitations that keep new educational designs from being implemented tomorrow in schools and especially in higher education?

School is my awful job and learning is my amazing hobby; This has been my take on life ever since and contrary to what I thought would happen, it hasn't changed in the last few months of college, when I have actually found that undergraduate studies aren't much different from its earlier analogous structures in what concerns quality of learning.
I figured something would change in college, it had to. No institution of higher education would, like it had always been done before, only try to standardize me through disengaging processes of memorization and mechanization in class, and then test me for it, but they did so, and so I keep dragging my feet through the halls like I always did, uninspired by it all.
Well, here I am watching 10 TED talks and having more fun than I had in any of my classes so far, where I am basically taught simple things as if they were complicated instead of the opposite.
I think the education systems we have are all about making us easily browsable encyclopedias of knowledge and funny looking calculators without ever compelling us to make our own connections between concepts and subjects, understanding them at their core or questioning the underlying mechanisms that drive the phenomena we study, but why? Why does this happen when we have computers that are infinitely better at storing data then our brain and when we know that in order to come up with creative solutions to real life problems we have to do so much more than just recall previous knowledge; also, there is an important link between the education of today and the leader of tomorrow, and if we continue using the educational techniques of yesterday then we will keep having the same uninspired (to say the least) leaders of today. Now my question is: Do you think this is a problem? Exactly what is causing this? Is it a economic or a sociological issue? Does the academic world want to solve this? Does the corporate world? Do the governments? Do you think it can be solved? How?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 10 2012: Most of us misunderstand the concept of education. That is why we get so little from schools. So, we blame the teachers, blame the system, the administration, the syllabus...everyone and everything but ourselves.
    Now we've got the internet and computers and fancy gadgets, and we think they are a perfect solution to our inadequacies; but like those men of old looking for some El-Dorado, whatever new system that we clamour for and get would also present its own inadequacies.

    The school system is not perfect. Far from it. And whatever modification would also never be.
    Education is a personal responsibility. The school is only a starting block for education, not the destination. Men like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg know this and now they shine.
    • Nov 10 2012: First of all. thank you so much for contributing to this discussion. Let me tell you though that I couldn't disagree more with what you are saying and I'll explain why in a sec, but first, I want to explicitly say that I find education as we know it to be a blessing for everyone who gets to have access to it and that many people who don't, would give everything they have to be able to go to school. I KNOW THAT.

      Now I also know that the technological, human and financial resources are all out there in much greater quantity then what would be required to change the educational system, and when you say that "whatever new system that we clamour for and get would also present its own inadequacies" I say of course it would, but is that valid reason for not trying to improve it and couldn't that argument be used in every problem we want to overcome as a call for non-action?

      Secondly you claim as if written in stone that school is only a starting block for education, but why? why should that be when we spend 9 hours a day, 5 days a week in school (another strange concept) under the pretext of learning but we are expected to 'really' learn out on our own as if this was a path of penitence we must walk before getting somewhere we wanna be? Why don't we integrate the positive side of self-learning and self-development with the amazing resources we should be getting in schools and instead of having ONE Bill Gates coming up with genius ideas and models built from his garage, we could have MILLIONS of Bill's sprouting from our school and universities.

      To close, let me had that I think the hindrance is (as it has been said in previous comments for which I thank as well) all in the heads of the people who don't believe in a revolution or won't profit from it, don't care for it or simply don't see the need for it, and worst won't even consider discussing it.

      Thank you once more for discussing it here.
      • thumb
        Nov 10 2012: I have not implied by my statement that it is written in stone that schools are the starting block for education. I just want it to be noted that the education system is not responsible for whatever inadequacies a student/learner/pupil has.
        School systems should change, no doubt about that. But becoming the next innovator like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is an individual decision.
        It is not as if people can be taught to be innovators. It is the use of the power of imagination and creativity that makes this happen. Now, people have been creative in harsh environments and in rosy environments; so its not about giving excuses for not been creative, or blaming schools, society or systems.
        Dream Big; then do it!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.