Curated TED Talk List – Rethinking the purpose and means of education

Trends in Educational Technology

I curate these videos because they all raise critical questions for educators to think about: How are we going to prepare for the coming machine learning revolution? How to address the technology-mediated human relationship? Are we educating people the right value? Are we neglecting the education of maintaining emotional health? One video also shares a new research finding about the adolescent’s brain development and another one shares an inspiring way to help kids learn math.

1. Jeremy Howard: The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn

Summary:

An informative and somehow terrifying explanation of how machine deep learning can be applied to various fields and how computers, when equipped with the right algorithm, can learn extremely quickly and perform tasks in minutes that normally would take humans years of expertise and efforts to complete.

How the video relates to this course:

At the end of the video, he talks about how a revolution of deep learning is coming and how that would bring about the changes in the socio-economic structure of our society. This brings out a critical question about education: what kind of challenge and opportunities will our future generation be faced with?

Why I think it is worthwhile to share: 

This might be the future and it’s not far away. Better prepare ourselves before we don’t even realize it’s coming.

2. Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course

Summary:

Shimon Schocken talks about his app to help kids learn math.

How the video relates to this course:

He talks about how self-organizing computer course can inspire people to learn and he showcases a well-designed app to help kids learn math concepts in an innovative way.

Why I think it is worthwhile to share:

The math app shown in the video is very interesting and it helps kids to explore and discover those math concepts on their own by a carefully-designed guidance and providing sufficient tools, rather than just telling kids those concepts. Thus, kids can have a better and deeper understanding in math concepts.

3. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain

Summary:

Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.

How the video relates to this course:

It’s important for educators to know this staggering fact and then think of ways to design better educational interventions to help teenagers grow up better during this critical period of life rather than just criticizing them of being immature.

Why I think it is worthwhile to share: 

The fact shared in this talk that teenager’s brains are still undergoing development is something I have never thought before, and thus raise a critical question for educators: how do we take advantage of this period to help them better develop the mind and qualities needed for 21st Century?

4. Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid

Summary:

Guy Winch talks about the importance to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.

How the video relates to this course:

While education often focuses on the physical and intellectual development of children, the emotional aspect is often neglected and even biased. A child not performing well academically may suffer from criticism from teachers and parents and thus having some psychological problems. Same for those kids who do well in school: you can’t imagine the pressure they undergo. But we never learn how to care for our emotions at school and when we grow up, we are left at the mercy of the society. So it’s worth thinking how we could educate our future generation to practice emotional hygiene, especially in this ever-changing and competitive society.

Why I think it is worthwhile to share: 

Not only for children, adults also need such education and attention to emotional health and learn about how to take care of it.

5. Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

Summary:

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

How the video relates to this course:

While we focus on how technology could make a difference in education, we still need to examine critically the difference they already have made in our relationships with people. We should think about utilizing technology to enhance the bond between people rather than distance them and think about how to properly educate the Generation Z regarding the new ways of relationship in a digital era.

Why I think it is worthwhile to share: 

It’s important to reflect how technology has changed our lives and whether to what extent is beneficial. I have written several posts in regard of this topic:

Solitude: so hard in Digital Age?

Proper guidance on the use of technology for students can go a long way

Abstract/Critque: Introduction: Alone Together of the book  Alone Together

6. Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Summary:

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

How the video relates to this course:

Important for educators to think about the question: is it right to make everyone seem like an extrovert? And is this truly the right value we want to emphasize?

Why I think it is worthwhile to share: 

In this world where often times you need to do a lot self-selling to be able to lead a good life, for example, get a job, get married, etc, it’s not surprising why people need to behave like an extrovert. I highly appreciate the courage the speaker has to speak up for introverts – 1/3 of the whole population. And this is especially worth reflecting for Eastern culture which used to emphasize virtues like modesty and inner peace, but now more and more leaning towards western culture.

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