Tag Archives: TED


Talk less, listen more

Meetings. Does anyone ‘like’ them?

Well, I do. I have had some amazingly productive and informative ones over the years. Sometimes they’re held in offices, sometimes in dedicated meeting rooms, sometimes over a cuppa in the campus cafe, and occasionally over lunch off-site. But what makes a ‘good’ meeting? For me a ‘good’ meeting is:

  • Needed – sometimes emails or phone calls aren’t enough to gauge progress, cover what’s needed, etc.
  • Short – not too short that you end up needing another one to cover what you missed (see later) but not too long that you end up going off topic and wasting time.
  • Purpose – everyone present knows the meaning and reason for the meeting, and sticks to the agenda and gets on with it, in the time allocated.
  • Equal – no one dominates the discussion or agenda unnecessarily.
  • Prepared – Everyone present should be there, no unnecessary invitees, and everyone is prepared for it.
  • Closed – clearly defined actions, if they’re needed, on who does what from here, and by when. if further follow up is needed then this is agreed in advance and timescales set.

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Learning (Re)Imagined | Graham Brown-Martin

Learning {Re}Imagined

One book I’ve added to my wish-list bookshelf, but not had the funds to get yet, is Learning {Re}Imagined from Graham Brown-Martin.

Both professionally and personally the future of education interests me: my work at Warwick and my two primary school-aged boys. I know from my experiences in both these areas that schooling and teaching does not work, certainly not for everyone. So, what are we to do?

Do we, as Graham did, encourage children to drop out and explore other avenues? Whilst it worked for him, and other successful people like Sir Richard Branson, it could quite easily have gone the other way. It’s not enough to add more technology on to old teaching methods … as Graham says, “since when did teaching become a delivery system? … but to engage in all aspects of education from the support staff and students are given, resources availability and appropriateness, to the spaces we have to work in and with.

Far too many questions, far too few answers. But, so long as we’re asking the questions, we’ve raised awareness and, hopefully, we can begin to bridge the gap between what we want (or need) and what we have. Yes?

For the moment I’ll have to settle for Graham’s tweets and engaging with him on Twitter, and now this TEDx Talk:

Learning (Re)Imagined | Graham
Brown-Martin | TEDxAmsterdamED

Sunni Brown Doodlers Unite #Sketchnote

Doodlers Unite! #Sketchnote

You know I like sketching and sketchnotes, yes? If you do too, whether you realise the full benefit of doodling for pleasure instead of doodling out of boredom, then you’ll love this TED talk from Sunni Brown – Doodlers, unite!

Sunni Brown: Doodlers Unite! TED Talk

As usual, here are some choice extracts from the talk, ones I like.

I spend a lot of time teaching adults how to use visual language and doodling in the workplace. And naturally, I encounter a lot of resistance, because it’s considered to be anti-intellectual and counter to serious learning. But I have a problem with that belief, because I know that doodling has a profound impact on the way that we can process information and the way that we can solve problems.

Here’s what I believe. I think that our culture is so intensely focused on verbal information that we’re almost blinded to the value of doodling. And I’m not comfortable with that. And so because of that belief that I think needs to be burst, I’m here to send us all hurtling back to the truth. And here’s the truth: doodling is an incredibly powerful tool, and it is a tool that we need to remember and to re-learn.” – Sunni Brown


What can 500 billion words tell us?

Big Data and Learning Analytics are ‘big’ things at the moment – lots of chatter and papers and articles are coming out on it. The Horizon report has had it on it’s list for a couple of years now.

But what about using data from 15 million digitised books to investigate trends in grammar, perspectives, ideas, passions, people, etc.? If you like data, you’ll like this.

Now, think about this approach and using it on student data, engagement rates, assessments, learning materials, attendance, activities, etc.? See where this is (could be) going?

Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words (TEDx Boston – What we learned from 5million books).

The rise of human-computer co-operation #edtech

As technology becomes more ingrained into our daily lives, and our reliance on it for tasks and information increases, so the competition of ‘man vs. machine’ debate hots up. However, Shyam Sankar looks not at this future not as ‘man vs. machine’ but man + machine’:

YouTube: The rise of human-computer cooperation

“Isn’t it supposed to be about man vs machine? Instead it’s about co-operation, and the right type of co-operation. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to Marvin Minsky‘s vision for Artificial Intelligence over the last 50 years. It’s a sexy vision for sure, many have embraced it, it has become the dominant school of thought in computer science. Continue reading

The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty

Designing for the average student [video]

In this TEDx talk Todd Rose compares the difficulties and issues encountered by the US Air Force in the 1950’2 and 1960’s in a severe drop in performance in it’s fighter pilots to the drop in performance in today’s education. The comparison is the design of the cockpit / classroom.

YouTube: Todd Rose, the myth of average

Guess what .. the Air Force found out the hard way that there is no such thing as the ‘average’ pilot. Todd argues that isn’t it about time that education and policy makers figured out that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ students, and that we should be more flexible in how we design learning. Continue reading

Education’s ‘Death Valley’ from Sir Ken Robinson

From the first TED Talks Edu programme Sir Ken Robinson outlines his view on what is needed to progress from the imminent ‘Death Valley’ direction to a flourishing, nurturing environment where children grow with and in their learning:

“Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.”

Sir Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley

Some choice words from Sir Ken on education:

“There are three principles on which human life flourishes,and they are contradicted by the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure.”

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The Technology of Touch (video)

“As we move through the world, we have an innate sense of how things feel — the sensations they produce on our skin and how our bodies orient to them. Can technology leverage this? In this fun, fascinating TED-Ed lesson, learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity.”

YouTube: Haptography: Digitizing our sense of touch

There there are those of us (me included) moan about the march of technological innovation over function, development for the sake of it. Few can argue that bringing technology into the fore for those with disadvantages is a bad thing, that developing and using technology to enable.

While Katherine shows a couple of uses and examples in the video what else can we do with this, how can this be used in education? By introducing touch in this way you can bring any substance or texture to the classroom where it would not be possible (or safe) to do so. What does moon rock feel like? What does hard enamel tell you about the integrity of a tooth? What does the surface of a scarf feel like when it’s frozen in liquid nitrogen? How do you spot a possible failure in an engine block when it’s running at 9000 rpm. To experience these things can bring the subject, the science, the learning alive where you would not always be able to?

What do you think, a worthwhile use of enhanced technology and something that can ‘add value’ to a classroom experience?

The Future of Learning: School in the Cloud #SOLE

Have you heard of the Hole in the Wall from Sugata Mitra (@Sugatam)? No, then before reading any further you ought to watch – “Sugata Mitra shows how kids teach themselves“.

“Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?”

The results are still being discussed and dissected today, almost 6 years after he first announced and presented his findings. And now Sugata Mitra is back, building on this pioneering work, with his new TED Talk “Build a School in the Cloud” (below).

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

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Reflection on the ‘eLearning and Digital Cultures’ MOOC, Wk.2 #edcmooc

EDCMOOCOn to the second of the five weeks Coursera / University of Edinburgh MOOC: ‘eLearning and Digital Cultures’. This week is centred around looking to the future, the “future-focused visions of technology and education” whilst building on the previous utopian/dystopian ‘discourse’.

Having to watch, and comment/analyse, films introduced as “evocative and sometimes disturbing visions of what the future of information technology might hold” is always going to get your attention.

“Who is set to benefit from the personal, constant attentions of information technology, and who might lose out?”

Isn’t this the question we ask, in one form or another, each time Apple releases a new device? Isn’t this what causes the backlash each and every time Facebook changes it’s privacy policy? Isn’t this the current question educators around the world are asking since to the rise of the MOOC and it’s much lauded ‘saviour’ of Universities?

  • How is education being visualised in “A Day Made of Glass”? You could argue that most of these ‘tools’ are already available in one form or another in society and that schools already do most of what is shown here – maybe not exactly as shown, but some of it: smart boards, NearPod App (teacher presents to student device), tablets, etc. What is shown isn’t as far fetched as you may think, it’s just the way in which it is presented rather than what is presented that is different. How the technology is used outside of the classroom is more ‘futuristic’ and is where you could argue its worth – should children be given space (in or outside) that is free from technology, free for them to experience the world as it is and not through some sanitised technology that reveals the real world through a camera lens?
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