TED Conversations

Ron Burnett

President and Vice-Chancellor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design


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Are Educational Institutions responding to the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st Century?

The Digital Age offers all sorts of opportunities for learners ranging from the formal to the informal, from the Web to the classroom and the studio. Why do educational institutions continue to rely on traditional models of learning? Why have schedules, disciplines and departments remained the same as in the 20th Century? Why has the architecture of schools changed so little? How have learners changed?


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    Mar 1 2011: typical story of my life: I just skimmed the other comments, but here are my thoughts any way.

    Here are a couple of my observations:
    1) There usually is some kind of scapegoat, whether shiny new theories from Schools of Education or Fed up Teachers and now the shiny new toys of Technology.
    2) There is a long history of rigid, formal process versus guided discovery.
    3) There will always be children who while growing older sustain self-driven desire and need to learn more whether in formal setting, from mentors, or from their own experiences.
    4) Mentor/student or Master/Apprentice has been around for a long time, I see it beginning to happen again in person or at a distance via communication technologies.
    4) Education can be a paradox -- the more I've seen children and adults be subjected to classes; the more I see them shut down and turn off to retaining what is being stuffed into their 5 senses.

    And so on -- basically, I think the challenge I had and have experienced with my two adult daughters is how to stimulate, support and keep a person interested, excited, a life long learner of primary, secondary, and new skills, continued scholarship, improved communication, etc., etc. With end results of being a more informed individual and hopefully a person who contributes in return to society or at least to other folks.

    I appreciate recent trends in tinkering (e.g., John Seely Brown), making (e.g., O'Reilly), community (e.g., Howard Rheingold), sharing (e.g., Charles Leadbetter), and Open Systems like the Meta Univeristy c/o Charles Vest.

    geORge brett, autodidactic arty techo eclecticist

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