TEDxLondon: The Problem Finders at The Education Revolution
Aug 23, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

You want an education revolution? You won't find it on TED. You have to admire the way TED keeps discussions of things like education within very strict frames - nothing too radical, nothing that will upset funders and sponsors. And in return for being compliant, speaker's get to be called 'amazing' and well-promoted. McIntosh will discuss his "plea to change learning from a pseudo-problem-filled irrelevance to a universe that inspires young people to become expert problem finders." oooo. So deep. And exactly the same message I saw from Michael Wesch on iDC this week. So what's inspiring this one - some new software from Bill Gates? An Apple campaign ("Ask deeper"). So we get blog posts like this one from Ewan McIntosh: "A very limited number of tickets are available on application from the site to hear an amazing bunch of speakers give their vision and call to action for learning, including a virtual beamover from Sir Ken Robinson in LA." I would be apologizing deeply about access being so limited, not crowing about it. But as the trained seals say: oarf oarf oarf. Total: 349
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Re: TEDxLondon: The Problem Finders at The Education Revolution

This is a very cynical viewpoint. Until we see the content from the speakers it is impossible to tell whether TED hit the mark and live up to their own marketing hype. How can access be limited when the TED talks are then available freely and widely via download? Anything TED can do to change peoples thinking about education and delivery of education is a good thing IMNSHO.
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Re: TEDxLondon: The Problem Finders at The Education Revolution

Thanks for the link to Wesch's words. I'm glad there are plenty of people getting impassioned about what I think is a simple change every teacher can make to turn learning into something more relevant and engaging for our youngsters, and more useful for the planet they're heading into as young adults.

I wasn't so much crowing about the lack of tickets (there is, after all, the webcasts) as hoping that my friends in London reading the blog might grab one while they can, and join me for a beer afterwards.

And I *do* think that the other speakers there are particularly interesting and amazing, having worked with some. *I* put forward my idea for a talk and haven't had it changed at all. There is no sponsor approving or inspiring it. It is inspired by the educators with whom I work daily, the children I teach through my work, and seeing the significant impact small changes in practice can lead to. And for many not living in Downes' bubble what I'm proposing is new to their ears - they do not subscribe to IDC, they find most research on the matter impenetrable, and the reverse snobbery of the archetypal edupunk a total turnoff from what are vital changes to be making.

This is but one vehicle for a change I (and, I think, you) feel is worthwhile, and I spend every day doing my best through other vehicles, too. I thought you were about freeing and free learning? TED is one of your best allies in this, whether you like their personality or not, don't you think? [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: TEDxLondon: The Problem Finders at The Education Revolution

Perhaps Daniel Dennett's comments on TED as a new religion would help explain the strong feelings here?


Non-conformists vs. evangelists? [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: TEDxLondon: The Problem Finders at The Education Revolution

I'm confused by original post. You don't seem to disagree with the TED message, but about who is spreading it.

Whatever route people find to become 'expert problem finders', thinking, questioning, debating, in whatever forum you find helpful, got to be a good thing hasn't it?

Doug, appreciated the link to Daniel Dennett. Could have done with more music and dancing, but hey, we're all singing from the same hymn sheet! [Comment] [Permalink]

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