TED Conversations

Al Meyers

social enterprenuer, community activist, inventor, artist, peop, AICPA


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What if the TED Community worked together to build the model 21st century learning environment? What would it look like?

The TED Community has some of the most innovative minds in the world. This goes beyond TED-ED. We have digital media experts, researchers, educators, public policy experts, politicians and entrepreneurs. The community has all of the tools and resources in it to become the ultimate disruptive innovator in education. What about adding a new type of fellow: a TED-ED Fellow, and have them work together on a project to design a new learning environment, and one that can be scalable. Then take the "idea" and use the financial resources of TED to turn it into an "idea worth doing."

The model would need to account for teacher training, compensation and evaluation; curriculum standards, learning pedagogy, and funding sources, to name a few factors that need to be accounted for.

I believe there's no better brain trust in the world to tackle this project than an open-source TED collaboration.


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    Jun 29 2011: OK, Al Meyers, picture this: ("What would it look like?")
    A circle of interested people, mostly 7- and 8-year-olds, who are all familiar with this activity, sitting cross-legged on a carpeted floor in a large room with nice acoustics. Taking turns, different individuals sing a verse of "Darby Town" and start another round of a song-experience-game. During the game, everyone gets a turn to be a partner. Each pair visits an imaginary Darby Town and acts out the scene while singing.

    As seen by an observer, it is just a game. For the participants, especially those who become deeply engaged in the variations, it can be a language lesson even for English as a second language. With some alterations or posed questions by the leader/teacher, it may become a Math lesson (How many pairs are in our group today?), music theory (What is the SOLFA symbol for the note we sing for the word "Town"?), singing harmony (Who can sing the ostinato pattern while the rest of us sing the lyrics?), poetic rhyme and meter (Who can think of a different ending for the verse that still rhymes with "day" at the end?)
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      Jul 1 2011: Interesting, Mark. Personally, I like the idea of language learning in a virtual world or game-based learning type of construct. You can do so much with 3D visualization. You can not only teach the language, but also simulate cultural nuances. Plus, you're using a form of media that aligns with today's "digital natives."
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        Jul 1 2011: Yes! We need to use available media if the alternative is to wait for teachers to arrive or wait for scheduling opportunities.
        HOWEVER: In the case of the best window of opportunity for the infants (I mean the 6 to 8 months old variety), they do not respond to computer screens and need the one-to-one in person experience.
        For everyone else, the "older" students, yes, all of the above, and game-oriented context-embedded language learning I think is key. Yet, in looking at the best case scenarios for your dream learning environment model for the 21st century, I think nothing beats the person-to-person experience with acting, dancing, singing, and playing bundled together--when you can get it! Of course this would also depend on the comfort level of the students to make sure they were ready to participate comfortably in that kind of learning environment. (3D visualization--Hmmm)

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