TED Conversations

Taylor Kendal

Teaching with Primary Sources

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How do we reform education?

I recently witnessed a TEDx event in Colorado and heard Ramona Pierson discuss her philosophy on education - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5aHL2qd_08.

She believes there's an equation (ok, actually an algorithm) that can be used to prescribe a unique education path for every student. This idea comes in the wake of a near nationwide adoption of the Common Core Standards. Where do the resources in the United States currently need to be focused to assure positive progress in education?


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    Sep 4 2011: Hi Taylor Kendal
    How do we reform (read "reconstruct") education?

    Two words.

    From scratch.

    One word.


    Mark Hurych
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      Sep 8 2011: Mark,
      I think you have one of the more frightening ieas, but one heavy in potential energy. Could you elaborate a bit? From scratch I get, but what does an organic education system entail? There seems to be an evolutionary component here.
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        Sep 13 2011: And Taylor Kendal’s retort tickles my fancy:
        “…what does an organic education system entail? There seems to be an evolutionary component here.”

        I do long for such evolution although I fear my words will fall on deaf ears…
        I’m so glad you asked, Taylor. Our human (organic) needs are for well being, not for industrial production. (Sir Ken, the knighted pointer to problems says as much.) So when I say “organic,” I am talking about everything that is not mechanical and linear about us humans.

        I make many assumptions, including one that this moment is miraculous. I’ll presume that we all have a potential for greatness. A metaphor arrives. What do we do with seeds that we want to see grow into healthy plants? Do we paint them all the same color, glue them to an artificial plant to show them what we expect, and punish them for not growing to the same height? No? Do we give all the different seeds the same exact conditions to nurture their best growth? No.

        Continue the metaphor. Every seed has potential for greatness, but there are as many different kinds of greatness as there are different seeds/people. About 7 billion different paths reach healthy enriching education. Mass customization is one part of the answer. We have the technology, but damn it Jim, I’m a doctor not an engineer.

        OK. There’s that. Then there’s this almost completely untapped collective collaborative cooperative “neuronic” fusion beginning to happen with the cognitive surplus and we-think potential of the operating perameters of the World Wide Neural Net, I mean “Web.” If I only had half a brain and if I only had half the sense God gave a clam, I’d be using the biomimicry schemes just waiting for us. —as Nature herself intended of course.

        Mark the shark in the dark
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        Sep 28 2011: An organic system exists for almost a century.
        When not copied a lot can be learned from it.
        Governments however, here as well as across the ocean are like trains. They sometimes take a switch but stay on their tracks.
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      Sep 28 2011: Yes! I wholeheartedly agree! But where to start? Who dares to disassemble the labyrinth this obsolete system has turned into?
      • Sep 28 2011: The students... i am sure that any number of them would willingly tear down the system we are chained to but more importantly have the openness and creativity to build a system that allows the individual to be Individual!
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          Sep 29 2011: Ouch! You bring us to the news here, and again, you are right.
          They themselves cannot take it anymore, and are raising against it in ways never seen before. If you get the news somewhere other than mainstream broadcasting you will know how it is happening in many places, from Chile to France... it is lasting months, and getting bloody...
          Sad state of affairs... how long can we keep watching?

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