This conversation is closed.

What are the 5 top things that can improve a school?

What inventions do you know of that could change the life of (many) students?

and also... how do you move an "Idea" to a "question"?

Closing Statement from Jimmy Strobl

My conclusion is this:
"Things" come way down on the list of whats important at school, also TEDsters have a really hard time staying on topic, which might be good but...

It is also important to elaborate your question, take most of the standard answers out of the discussion be mentioning them in the explanation might be a good way.

For more info on whats important about education please have a look at the conversation.

  • Mar 1 2011: I think the identification and expulsion of any bullying would be a great start, this probably has more impact on a childs learning, development and long-term effects than providing equipment or specialist learning resources. Unfortunately, it doesnt seem to be handled very well at all here in the U.K.! I suppose a nuturing, supportive environment is top of the bill for my perfect school! I guess this may not have been the answer you sought but just putting in what came to mind.
    A system whereby the individual is supported with their strengths and interests being nutured, not having a (sometimes life-irrelevant) cirriculum enforced. New topic areas such as ecology with practical living skills to ensure future generations can and will want to make a difference where it matters
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    Feb 28 2011: As entrepreneurs and scientists know, a failed experiment is often the most educating experience. Experimenting means taking risks (the risk to be wrong at the least) , so:

    1) Teachers not afraid to take risks and fail.
    2) Students not afraid to take risks and fail.
    3) Parents who allow and support students and teachers to take risks and fail.
    4) An administration that does not get in the way of teachers and students taking risks and failing.
    5) Compacts signed by all that requires follow up on a regular basis.

    The specific tools and "inventions" do not matter if all five of these are in place. Without these five things, the most valuable inventions will not be important. (I guarantee that Johnny Lee experienced many failures before getting to his inventions.)
    • Mar 18 2011: Perhaps we may even be so bold as to suggest having the word "fail" taken out of education dialogue. When an experiment, assignment, activity, etc. has an unexpected outcome....perhaps our reactions should be, " does this shape our path forward and how we view the subject matter?"

      To para-phrase Yoda, "Do and Redirect focus......there is no fail"
      (remember: Do or do-not....there is no try) it wasn't even close :) I still like it.
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    Mar 18 2011: Validation. Validation. Validation. And 110% no tolerance to disruptive bullying in school.
  • Dan Law

    • +1
    Mar 16 2011: 1. Understanding, recognizing and catering to diversity of learning styles. See Robert Sternberg, 'Thinking Styles'.

    "Many of the students we are consigning to the dust heaps of our classrooms have the abilities to succeed. It is we, not they, who are failing. We are failing to recognise the variety of thinking and learning styles they bring to the classroom, and teaching them in ways that don’t fit them well." (p.17)

    In age of sophisticated customer segmentation and customisation it's extraordinary to still have an antiquated industrial era 'one size fits all' system (with those who don't fit being treated as deficient). Those being disadvantaged and failed by the one size fits all system may also be the most disruptive in class - which also impacts on others too.

    2. Ensuring children have proper healthy nutrition - if only at the school. Free school milk, good school meals can make major impact on child's health, development and ability to learn - and also effects long term health in later life.

    3. Parenting classes : help teach parents how to look after children.

    4. Early age multilingualism. (helps develop not only meta-linguistic competence, but 'relational thinking' and can develop intellectual ability).

    5. School bus service in urban areas. Parents taking children to and from school is a primary cause of traffic congestion, increasing pollution, carbon emissions, and disproportionate cost to economy.
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    Mar 4 2011: "Education is the lighting of a fire, not the filling of a bucket" - William Butler Yeats

    How to continually cultivate passion and love for life-long learning, wonderment about the world, curiosity, creative exploration and self discovery ?
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    Mar 18 2011: Students must be encouraged to come up with ideas
    More Learning i.e. may be by self learning and less teaching
    Moral Values helpful
    Teaching suppress the thoughts they stop the creativity and thinking of the students, so priority should be given for learning, thinking.....
    Healthy environment
    Freedom of thinking,
    Social Activities
    • Mar 17 2011: I was always skeptical of a language instruction system called phonics that spells phonics with a 'ph' instead of an 'f'.
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    Mar 8 2011: Allright, I went back to my old high school (upper secondary scool) and have been helping the kids that are in the most need with their English for the past three days. At the same time I'm trying to inspire them to to truly like learning and see that some people are at least a bit altruistic...

    But I'm not staying for long, maybe just another week, and I'd like to improve their situation at least a bit before i leave.

    A major problem with the teaching, since there are so few teachers, is that there isn't really any good software that they can use while studying by themselves...

    These are kids that are between 16 and 19, English is not their native language, there are no fixed classes and they are all in danger of failing their class.

    I know (from experience) that the lot of you aren't too keen on suggesting something specific that could help... but could you please make an exception?

    I need a program, preferably free, that is fun (keyword), has a lot of functions, some games and is easy to use for people with limited knowledge of computers...

    So, do you know of any? If not would you be willing to create one and tell me about it?

    Note: I don't have any say at the school, I'm not registered in any way, I simply went there and asked my old teacher if I could help since I have nothing more important to do at the time.
  • Mar 7 2011: Identify a student's gift, then nuture it.
    Stop teaching for the test.
    Teach children morals and respect.
  • Mar 1 2011: Hi Jimmy,
    I see. Such a broad range of equipment available. Perhaps a focus point would assist in choosing appropriate tools for learning and teaching. Maybe some of the budget could be put towards a going-green aspect, teaching the students the engineering/importance and usage of such things as wind, water turbines as electricity generators, perhaps solar panels as well. Maybe a small allotment to teach about cultivation, with some vegetables that everyone can take a part of producing and consuming?!
    That's just one set of ideas. Obviously a bit biased but I suppose my thinking is towards equipment and resources that are an investment as well as a learning aid. If the turbines were efficient then you may able to generate enough electricity to make an ongoing profit for the school, for example. It would also utilise the technology to teach the teachers new and exciting ways of living ecologically!If I think of anything else I'll let you know
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    Mar 1 2011: Michael, Alex and Drew you all make valid points concerning the education system.

    Bullying: I fought bullying when i was in high school together with the student group "friends" and realize the importance of peace both between countries and individuals.

    Culture: Seems like a splendid idea! Empowering teachers is perhaps as important as empowering students... power to the people! :)

    Failing: I agree, letting people know that it's okay to fail is very important...

    BUT what if i already knew of a school that had most of those criteria fulfilled. Their problem is that they are lacking good ideas of what to do with their funding that they "have to" put on stuff/equipment.
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      Mar 3 2011: Let the students pick and run with ideas. Let them drive where the money is spent. Think project-based. I'd even let them do the tracking of the money and the measurement of how effective their money was spent. There are so many lessons in that, including math, science, measuring, business, problem-solving, self-evaluation, reading, and writing. Building robots (such as for the MIT robot challenge(s)) are great opportunities to learn on so many fronts.
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        Mar 7 2011: Thats a very smart idea Drew. Even though i started this thread with an entirely different question, all of your answers have made me realize that those questions are futile if we can't inspire people to think for themselves...
        I'd still like to know of a couple of inspiring tools for teaching though... (if you know of any)
  • Mar 1 2011: Similarly to how Google allows employees 20% of their time to work on personal projects, I think an allotted time for teachers to try out new ideas could be useful. As Drew put it, this would allow time to try out new ideas that work or fail so they may be learned from either way. Admittedly by Google, their 20% policy is more to instill a certain culture, but I think that culture could be beneficial in an educational environment.