TED Conversations

John Gianino

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What makes "education" TED's most popular topic?

Is the TED community imposing their beliefs upon the website visitors? Are users applying the "education" tag to their conversations in the most visited section for exposure? How do you prefer to be "educated"? What is the best way to acquire, retain, and recall information? Do we need degrees, certificates, or peer validation to be effective teachers?

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    Dec 11 2013: Perhaps simply because people are drawn to TED by an interest in educating themselves, and therefore are also interested in how others may access education.
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      Dec 11 2013: Are people more interested in educating themselves or learning?
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        Dec 11 2013: How would you define the difference? I think of them as the same thing.
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          Dec 12 2013: As the world becomes more interconnected our defintiions for words may become topics for debate. The words "educating" and "learning" clearly have different meanings but are often used synonymously. The difference between the two I would like to identify is that of connotation.
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    Dec 12 2013: John,
    In my opinion, Education is not to be seen as a process but as an attitude. That makes it more personal. Education can happen anywhere and at anytime. It may or may not require a teacher/tutor/Educator. People learn when they want to. It is the learner that is important. So Education comes from within and is hence most popular.
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    Dec 11 2013: Hi John:>)
    In my perception, presenters, anyone who reads comments, contributes to comments, or watches the videos, is part of the TED community. I believe we are all students and teachers in this earth school, so in one way or another, there is an opportunity for education in each and every conversation and interaction. My personal preference is education with participation:>)
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    Dec 16 2013: I think in this case it's really just a matter of TED being a site about knowledge and learning. It makes sense that the topic of education would be prominently featured.
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      Dec 16 2013: TED is about " ideas worth spreading" - Education, learning, teaching , guiding and inspiring... well if not for that then why even think, question, create or ask ?
  • Dec 12 2013: John,

    You asked a lot of questions.

    1. education is something everyone has an opinion whether we are informed/uninformed. We have our experience and our children's experience. Most people also think education is important.

    2. I do not think TED is imposing their beliefs. The opinions are expressed and people can accept or reject them. Some posters are adamant about their opinions.

    3. I do not think the education is overused. It seems it is part of the topic.

    4. I learn by experience, reading, watching.

    5. I put everything into my lab books including stupid ideas.

    6. No, a great teacher has some training but is born with the talent. An effective teacher, who is not great, needs training (class mgmt) and most important student reviews, not necessarily peer review.
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    Dec 11 2013: curiosity and interest. if i'm curious and i'm interested i will learn what it is i want to know. if not, i won't.

    ask people what kind of learner they are and most will say 'i'm a visual learner'. it's no surprise considering how long we've all been gawking at screens. the point is that the best way to acquire, retain and recall information is different for different people. i have a facility with language and rhythm - used in combination, i find it very quick and easy to absorb and recall information.

    as far as teaching goes, experience trumps all training/degrees.

    peer validation should be rewritten as peer support and that becomes an integral part of teaching, especially for beginning teachers.
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    Dec 11 2013: John, There is no definitive answer to your poser. Just the term education would mean different things to different people and would be argued over for a long time.

    Would you accept that "education", by all definitions, is a "common" element throughout all the world. That we have all, to greater or lessor extents, experienced some fashion of "education" and that we have concerns for the following generations and want them to prosper by providing them with the tools (education) to achieve.

    I do not think the TED community has "imposed" any beliefs. We have discussed and presented views. Accept them or reject them is your option.

    TED offers the common person the ability to hear, see, and discuss options from around the world ... not all ideas or practices are applicable to another areas, regions, or countries. But the exposure generates thoughts of how to amend, adapt, or overcome the issues to strengthen our own systems.

    Now John, what is the reason you asked the question .... and what is the answer to your question?

    Regards ..... Bob.
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        Dec 12 2013: John, I read the article. I also looked up "Cracked" and it is call America's only humor site. The magazine begin in 1958 in the wake of many who followed "Mad" into production.

        I have never had anyone refer me to Mad or Cracked as a serious reference. Was this tongue in cheek.

        If not what is the relationship to Cracked and TED What would that have to do with Education being a popular subject in TED conversations.

        Help me to understand. Was my reply off base with what you are looking for? Did I misunderstand your question?

        Thanks for the reply .... Bob.
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          Dec 16 2013: Hi, Robert. As you have received no reply as yet from John to clarify his post four days ago to you and as the conversation will soon close, let me say I interpreted his link not at all as a reference to you but rather as an answer to your question to him- "Now John, what is the reason you asked the question...?

          My guess on reading his response to you was that he was thinking about how people can come to misconceptions about history (or potentially other subjects) because of, or in spite of, their schooling.

          Many people take interest in schooling, or in how people come to believe what they believe, because of the untapped potential they see in schooling or the potential of ancillary ways of filling the gaps in understanding or correcting commonly held misconceptions we see around us.

          This is only my tentative interpretation of that reply. I hope John will return to clarify his intended meaning.
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    Dec 11 2013: "Is the TED community imposing their beliefs upon the website visitors?"
    What do you mean ? The TED community are all of us who in one way or another contribute. This includes you and me as well.

    As to education being the most popular topic on TED: why do you say that ? I didn't count how many education related topics are, but it doesn't strike me as being them the most popular.
    If they were, it would make sense though because education is one of the fundamental pillars of a successful society.

    "What is the best way to acquire, retain, and recall information?" Whatever works best for you. There is no rule. Everybody is different.

    "Do we need degrees, certificates, or peer validation to be effective teachers?" I don't think so, but at least for now, companies and society in general expects you to show your credentials before listening to you.
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      Dec 11 2013: beliefs- Many individuals reply to conversations using personal pronouns (myself included ;-). Frequent use of personal pronouns shows focus on personal interests, beliefs, and preconceived notions.

      popular- The "popular topics" section to our left is a text cloud displaying the most used topics illustrated with size, and boldness for frequency.

      Info- We are human beings with universal simularities. There should be a best way, not a rule to limit us.

      creditials- This may be a reason for capitalism over learning.
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        Dec 11 2013: As to the first paragraph, the part I didn't understand is where the differentiation between TED community and TED visitors comes from. So who is imposing beliefs on whom ?

        OK, got why you meant when you referred to education as most popular topic. The cloud doesn't necessarily refer to the topics but to the term "education" appearing somewhere in the text of any topic.

        Info: I'm not sure there is a universal best way. For me doing it, is the best way to learn something. For example, I best learn a new computer software by playing around with it instead of reading manuals. Second best is visual. The more pictures and graphs I have to complement a text, the better I retain the information. But then, that's me, other people might work differently.

        "This may be a reason for capitalism over learning." How do you relate capitalism to learning ?
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          Dec 11 2013: imposing- The TED community members register on the website and posts conversations. A visitor may be any individual that reads a conversation. When we focus our attention on a conversation, we are engaging it. Our beliefs may be part of our writing, hense influencing or imposing our beliefs on an audience. My intension was not to debate the concept but rather illuminate the perspective that our passionate writing may intensely impact an audience. example: A community member may debate an issue which is a form or pressure to convert to a particular belief.

          capitalism/learning- currently our educational institutions are functioning for economic purposes. Why do we "aquire" knowledge?
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        Dec 11 2013: The TED community certainly doesn't impose anything on anybody because everybody is free to choose how he wants to engage on TED.
        That certain comments/conversations might influence people in one way or another is a different story, but there is nothing wrong with that.
        "ducational institutions are functioning for economic purposes."
        What do you mean ? That they try to make money or that they produce people who want to make money
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    Dec 16 2013: Education is one of the most popular topics worldwide.

    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.
    South Africa is a current, good example on how lack of education can have a detrimental effect on people and their day to day existence. Mandela whom was well educated in the common term of the word talks about experiencing different forms of education ( learning at the same time ) while in prison for 27 years and then becomes a role model , educator and a changing force that inspires a great change in a his country.

    The need to educate, learn, communicate and experience is part of the human DNA. The advantage of education also allows the individual to accept or reject the “teaching” and allows them to form their own thought or idea.

    Without education we would live in Aldous Huxley’s – Brave New World and this would be the most boring life.

    Therefore education and it’s different dimensions will probably always be one of the hot topics
  • Dec 15 2013: Recognized importance, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and belief in our ability to make suggestions that would improve education in general.
  • Dec 15 2013: Education is the origin of the future society. If you know how to teach essential subjects and values to the children, I think that you can help them and prepare them to their life. Our children will be confront with problems that we may not know today (in addition of environmental problems and economical crisis). Faced with this situation, they will have to react and find new ideas. So who isn't interested by the future ? I am convinced that it is for this reason that education is one of the most popular topic, on TED's website and in politics too.
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    Dec 13 2013: Education as a process is and needs to be structured to make sense. However Education as an outcome is purely personal. So, if even if there are tutors/mothers or others, Education may continue to be a concern in certain neurological conditions. So Education also needs a physical base for the process to take place. A precursor to education is that all neurological conditions exist the right way,enabling the person to learn. On this foundation, the desire to learn is built. where upon it is an attitude.

    TED like any other channel is expressing its views. People can choose to be either influenced or not. Our preference for a manner of education is one of choice. So degrees, certificates or peers may validate the knowledge but ultimately the teacher needs to be accepted as such. Atleast that is the case in case of Adult Education. Learning in adults cannot be directed, it can only be guided based on individual choices. The focus in education is not the teacher, but the learner. Guess, that needs to be the order of the day in education , be it Adult or the child.
  • Dec 12 2013: just like commodity, if a lot of people focus on and buy a product, more other will join and buy the product because they think it must be a very good one.
  • Dec 12 2013: most of us come to TED for something that we'r curious and want to know more about it. ,That activity belongs to learning stuff by itself.Hence, It's easy to struck a chord. But this phenomemon wouldn't keep for long time until intead by another hot-spot question which cause more curiosity.
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    Dec 11 2013: It's an excellent question, John. What do you think is the answer?

    I would think part of it is that to participate on the TED website you probably have to be educated. First off, you would have to have a computer and know how to use it, which probably means you're educated. Then education would help you in following the talks, or participating in the conversations. Someone who is interested in the talks and conversations is probably partly so because they want to learn, and people who want to learn are interested in education?

    Then I guess education is an important experience. It starts young, and the skills you get you use to some degree the rest of your life. And school is a place where you can differentiate yourself and express who you are, you can be a very hard-working student or a lazy one or in-between, you can choose the subjects you want to emphasize.

    I would say talking about education doesn't have to be as political as other topics, it can be a little more purely intellectual, this factor might be attractive.

    I don't understand your question "Is the TED community imposing their beliefs upon the website visitors?" Do you mean is the TED organization imposing their beliefs on the TED community?
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      Dec 11 2013: Education is more structured learning. Is educating an individual a voluntary task?
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        Dec 11 2013: sorry, John, I'm not sure what the question is asking, could you elaborate? If I take your words literally, I could think of a tutor who gets paid to educate an individual, but I wouldn't think that's what you mean......
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          Dec 11 2013: How often do people voluntarly seek out educators? Tutors, teachers, textbooks, etc are for the most part requirements of a system we are directed into by our cultures.
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        Dec 12 2013: Well, in the U.S. a person has to go to school up until, what, the eighth grade? I'm not sure. After that, they can drop out? Most people at least finish high school. Many go on to college and university. I notice from your profile that you are in college currently? What is your motivation for being there?

        Personally I am surprised that education is the biggest topic on TED. I slightly wonder if it is true. Maybe TED wants to push education, so they make it look like education is the biggest topic? You think it's true?
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    Dec 11 2013: In my opinion, education is a prime topic in TED simply because the goal of the organization, as far as I understand, is the spreading of ideas with an intent to improve the life of individuals across the word and the communities where these ideas are implemented.

    Without education is hard to come up with positive and achievable ideas and solutions to the obstacles we face. For this reason education and the improvment of the quality of life of people through the conception of innovating methods are simbiotic related.

    Furthermore, it is only natural that people drawn by these ideas and the intent to improve their life and/ot their communities find themselves enjoying the new ideas and points of view from other individuals with similar (or even better, completley different) points of view.

    Education is not something that you can get "too much", you cannot never be too educated or wake up some day and say "I'm done, I am as educated as I can/want to be".

    I believe this is the reason why education is such a popular theme in TED, and that is ok for me. There are worse things to debate about.
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      Dec 11 2013: So, to clairfy in your opinion TED's organization slogan "Ideas Worth Spreading" means educating people?
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        Dec 12 2013: As far as I understand, the intent of TED is to serve as a meeting place for people with ideas that could bring some kind of development to their communities or the improvment of the quality of living of a group of people.

        The ideas exposed in a place like TED can revolve around education, transport, technology or any field where a significant development could have a positive effect on a group of people. Education, however, is the prime topic to address when the improvment of a communitie (by communitie I mean an town, city, state, country or even a ethnic group) is needed and in many case a poor educational system or the wrong applied methods are the root of so many problems. Even when lack of education is not the direct problem, is hard to argue against it, as I said before, a better education is never a unwanted. This way, education is a safe bet as starting point to improve, and therefore, a popular topic.
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    Dec 17 2013: I think the current legislation is out of control with the certificates and licenses. One comedian commented on the license for interior designers, this is clearly regulatory, which was developed to control competition, etc. The problem with certifications, and licensed is that it generates inequality. Things like the GRE, SAT's are money making scams, but once you run a scam for a while....it stays around...In any case, before this anthropology of occupation took hold I think that as Americas we could maintain balance to the conditions influencing freedom and equality. The issue of segregation of people based on occupation, certificates, licenses, rank, etc... is just old school Aristocracy in a new form. I know for instance there are thousands of Army medics getting out of the military and going into the civilian sector, many of which have had years of leadership, war time medical experience in trauma, illness, etc., absolutely zero reciprocity from he civilian agencies, or the National Registry. So, those medics can't work, because none of their military credentials are considered valid by civilian agencies. It is as if, our own military who were all trained at United States Military training center are foreigners. There is currently no legislation in effect to correct this issue, which means all of that medical knowledge and experience will be lost, just like in World War II when the medics got out and spread to the four winds, but back then, you didn't need a license...people just came and got you because you knew what to do, and people volunteered for civic responsibility without the risk of being sued or being treated with inequality because the staff at the hospital think that they are better human based on their role assigned to them by and institution, or just by themselves. (sorry about the rant)

    The issue I think, to ask is " Is education an force of Inequality?"

    all the best.
  • Dec 17 2013: While I see "education" as connoting some kind of formalized structure or process requiring certification as validation of "learning" or the possessing of a body of knowledge, I prefer to see education as the result of making meaning. Rather than something that is done to you, or something that you possess, it is something you do for yourself, to yourself, with and from others. It is not an end product--i.e. I am "educated." It is an ongoing process, thankfully. It should be the most popular topic, because it's about active engagement with our perceptions of how things are, and how we may want them to be.
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    Dec 16 2013: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the "Popular Topics" module on this website is always viewable in TED conversations and the topics are alphabetically listed. Interestingly, the list starts at "C".
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      Dec 17 2013: Might you be viewing the list on a tablet? Viewed on a laptop or desktop screen, the list begins at A with "A better world."

      The new version of ted.com is optimized for tablets, I believe. The old version, which is what I use and likely you also, is better right now for TED Conversations in most respects but not as good for tablets.
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    Dec 16 2013: I think the TED community recognise that education has the capability either to perpetuate or change future societies. Politicians know this, which is why education is currently 'joined at the hip' to politics. Some support that, others don't.

    Politics abhors change. Students who are taught how to think (as opposed to what to think), on the other hand, would welcome dynamism in society and the need to veer away from the stagnation of political dogma and their prescriptive curricula.
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      Dec 16 2013: the question is, how to think or what to think..ooh and when to think ( according too many ).... Every human life form has a capacity to think, feel, experience and know in / on /at it's own time. When, where, why and how is up-to the individual.
      But the Question - what makes education ( TED's most popular topic )

      We are creatures of an inquisitive, thought provoking nature. And education from the baby that has been taught (educated ) to walk, talk, think to the Master in Neurology has one common ground.

      Education either by school, life, love, nature, being or even pain.

      As earlier mentioned education has many layers and what we each see, might just be a mirror of another in another state of mind .

      Now, that's another topic- " what I see and feel, when another at the same place and time has a completely different experience ? "
  • Dec 15 2013: Wow....so many questions.

    1. The TED community is the website.
    2. The tag is an indication of interest, not a definitive proclamation of an individual's desire to be seen.
    3. My preference of education has always been open debate.
    4. The best way ... relevance.
    5. Ultimately...education is certification...so yes! (independent thinkers eventually require acceptance).
  • Dec 14 2013: Education is a popular topic because people intuit that something about our current system is awry. Education is a gadfly prompting us to do better, a tooth that nibbles at the soul of the American nation. We need change.

    We need a revolution in education, a re-visioning of the way we think about our teaching methodologies. In the 21st century our educational approach should be synthetic, incorporating "open" pedagogies that are holistic and encourage an awareness of the interconnectedness and simultaneity of ideas across domains, time, media, and disciplines. An overarching concept of our teaching should be "I link, therefore I am" (S. J. Singer, as quoted by Edward O. Wilson in Consilience). As educators, we need to help students synthesize what they are learning in all of their classes by linking ideas among subject areas. We also need to incorporate other non-traditional domains into the classroom experience (those from everyday life), so that students will make connections to "real-life" happenings that are occurring contemporaneously with their lessons. In doing so, themes, images, and ideas will achieve a resonance that is not possible by curriculums that are "closed"--restricted to one discipline, classroom, or setting. A synthetic learning experience reinforces content, encourages the sharing and development of ideas, and facilitates critical thinking skills. Learning is enhanced, especially the ability to synthesize information and make meaningful connections. Student metacognition increases as discussions of relevancy become par for the course, literally. Our students will become the innovative “creative creators.” (Friedman, That Used to Be Us) that our globalized world demands.

    James Mulhern, www.synthesizingeducation.net
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    Dec 12 2013: 18 hours ago: Education is more structured learning. Is educating an individual a voluntary task? Do you have a mother?
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    Dec 12 2013: It is popular but not just in the formal way. It's not necessary for education to be placed just in educational institutions.

    This popular form of education is based on the wish to reach some knowledge, it's inside inspired education. That's why the pedagogy is trying to research the "leisure time education", and to give some tips to do it the best, without any paper that "proves" your competences for something.
  • Dec 12 2013: To me, in simplistic form, the mind is simply a sponge and without data (input) it will dry up, education isn't necessarily school books and degrees it begins at birth and carries on through life and can take many forms. It is a means by which ones life is altered moment by moment whether cognoscenti or not . What saddens me is that we have taken information and put a price on its retrieval in the form of books and literature and to a degree that is one of mankind's greatest failure.
    What Ted Talks acknowledges for me is a person resilience to go forward with an idea which can then be used as a building block for future minds. It also shows that one does not need to be a professor or scholar to make great achievements in life, you just need the where withal to continue past failures in hopes of achieving proof of one belief.
    I am thankful for this forum on which we all can share our views and Ted Talks is a wonderful stimuli for that. Thank you for a question of such,
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    Dec 12 2013: because education is the basic of life.
    only with education we can life in this world