“Sir Ken Robinson: Part Two”. This talk follows up Sir Ken Robinson’s original TED talk with a call for a revolution, rather than reformation in education. I particularly like his request that we ‘disenthrall’ ourselves from that which we have become accustomed. The original text of the Lincoln speech he quotes is worth a read, and possible a wordle.
All in all, with this talk, I suggest you just sit back, watch, listen and reflect. Oh, and don’t forget to make yourself a cup of tea to drink while you watch. And then go to www.sirkenrobinson.com to check out his video responses to tweeted questions about education. Oh, and then read some of his books.
And no, I’m not on commission. I promise.
Here’s those fabulous cognitive media peeps again. A 10 minute animation of his address on the same topic.
Patte Maes and Pranav Mistry (who has a fantastically designed website btw) from MIT shared this presentation of their work from the MIT lab. This is a great example of what www.TED.com provide us with; an insight into a world of cutting edge research and insightful thinking before it gets into the mainstream. I love this about TED. We get to see some of the raw stuff as well as some of the polished, ready-for-distribution stuff. But at its heart is the ‘Sharing of Ideas’. And isn’t that what schools are all about, after all?
Anyway, we recently used this film as part of a project with a cohort of ‘able but quiet’ year 8 students from 9 participating schools and they loved it. We asked them to research and then present a response to ‘What will the life of an average 15 year old be like in 2025?’. It was a long term project run collaboratively over 7 months. The students ran their own research groups and organised their meeting and deadlines without intervention from their adult facilitator. The effect of this particular film was to really open up their thinking and freed them up to get very creative about what they suggested might be invented by the time 2025 came around. As teachers too, it reinforced for us the fundamental need to develop digital literacy in ourselves as well as in our learners.
A delightful 6 minute talk from Derek Sivers (plus an extra at the end) which explains that it is those who follow who give leaders their power. A leader without any followers is a loner. This is a great talk that is worth showing anybody who is interested in making a change in their own lives or the lives of others.
It is also one of those films that can be shown, as it is, to students, to get them to reflect on peer pressure and influence and to encourage them to think about the reasons behind any of the choices that they make.
I’ve written about the concept of a ‘learning entrepreneur’; a learner who is hungry not for material wealth and power but for intellectual wealth and power. I think this film does a great job of reassuring anybody who is excited by their own learning, but feels that this makes them an outsider. I am sure there’s a tie-in here with the powerful Apple adverts of the 80’s too…
Daniel Pink shares his research on autonomy here. With this, he provides us with a valuable insight into the ways in which business can get the most of out their employees by (a) engaging them (b) offering them freedom and (c) enabling them to get really good at stuff. On watching this talk, I wondered if it was possible to consider giving students the 20% time that Pink talks about.
I have since discovered, thanks to the power of Twitter, that many teachers are already testing out the 20% rule in their classrooms.
Rather than offering total freedom and choice in all things, which terrifies every single control freak amongst us (and let’s face, it, that’s most teachers!), perhaps we can divide our learning ‘pie’ up into:
And offer choices to our students in one or two of these areas within a project or a lesson.
Alternatively, we could simply ask them to plan what they would do if they were given 20% of curriculum time within a subject or topic. Once they’ve planned what they are going to do, then it’s up to them to (a) deliver and (b) reflect on how well it went so they can make more of it next time.
It also makes me wonder what we would choose to do if we were given 20% of our working week to learn and develop something of our own choosing, regardless of its connection to the curriculum. Maybe we’d reveal a new cohort of talented musicians in the maths department or water-colour painters in the PE faculty? When we ask about the learning capacities of our students, do we get the time to reflect upon and ask the same questions of ourselves? Would this help us model learning to our students, I wonder?
Now that would surely be the mark of a genuinely learning school.
And here’s the 10 minute RSA Animate version of Daniel Pink’s message…I use these to show what I mean by ‘now draw your learning’…not intimidating at all!
Sir Ken Robinson is for me, the catalyst for my on-going love affair with TED Talks. His first TED Talk, “Why Schools Kill Creativity” has been the same catalyst for many of my friends, colleagues and friends of friends and colleagues of colleagues..well, you know what I mean. I vividly remember the day I was shown the talk, as happens with all memorable learning moments. I had never come across the TED site and here it was, in its full intellectual glory, and the opening act for me was this talk. Since then, I’ve seen Sir Ken Robinson speak on a number of occasions, so there will inevitably be a few of his talks included in this collection.
For me, this talk was a “YES!” moment. This was what I had been trying to argue for, rationalise and put into practice throughout my teaching career. I have since shared this talk as part of meetings, training or simply by recommending people make themselves a cup of tea, put their feet up for 18 minutes and enjoy. Many of my colleagues have reported that it has marked a “YES!” moment for them too. I hope it will for you if you haven’t seen it. If you have, I recommend using at as a reflection exercise:
How am I developing learners’ creative capacities in my practice?
What do I need to do to ensure learners feel safe to express themselves?
How does our curriculum create space for learner-involvement (as opposed to ‘participation’ or ‘engagement’) in their own learning?
Who’s curriculum is it?
What conditions for learning do I need to design that will nurture the capacities of all learners (adults and children alike)?
What have I done to develop my practice since I last watched this talk?
If nothing else, just enjoy.
Oh, and It’s very funny too.