These talks offer insights, concerns, and inspiration while discussing today’s educational practices and shortcomings, from a variety of perspectives.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”, bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. If you’re not already a fan of TED, maybe these will open your eyes to this wonderful resource.
Education is only one of the vast array of topics covered in TED talks , so if you enjoy any of the videos below, you might want to click through the the site and check out some more of them.
Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms 
This delightfully illustrated video entertains while educating. The video does a wonderful job of explaining how today’s factory-like education model is outmoded and how it needs to evolve into a more personalized model if we are going to take it to a new level. [This video is featured below. Frustratingly, the sound cuts off in the last 30 seconds of the video.]
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education 
This video discusses “The Hole In The Wall” experiment that Mitra started in New Delhi in 1999. Children deprived of learning opportunities available in other parts of the world nevertheless figured out the computer at their disposal and started using it to learn and to teach each other. These results repeated themselves as the experiment was conducted in various other locales. Kids can and will teach kids. How can we take advantage of this to improve on education across the world?
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers 
Math as it’s taught in classrooms rarely echoes math as it used in the real word. Wolfram (the driving force behind the Wolfram-Alpha “knowledge engine” ) suggests that we consider changing the math teaching model, to teach kids to conceptualize problems and use computerized tools to apply solutions, as opposed to the present model of spending inordinate amounts of time teaching how to perform calculations “by hand”. He methodically addresses many misperceived ideas behind today’s approach to math education.
Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together 
The notion put forth here is that the Arts and Sciences are and should be integrated in education – they are absolutely connected, but we do not teach that way. There seems to be a stigma surrounding the idea of creativity and logic existing in the same space. How can we overcome and suppress this limiting notion? (In my personal experience, I love both disciplines and find they go together brilliantly, but that people are often surprised by that idea).
Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums 
Leadbeater explains that the vast majority of population growth in the next three decades will occur in poor, crowded cities, and that we need to reach kids in these situations if we are going to educate the majority of the world’s young. In this video, many examples of innovative approaches to teaching in these circumstances are offered. Leadebeater notes that, “you have to engage people before you can teach them” (sounds familiar, doesn’t it!). In these challenging environments, a “pull” approach is necessary in order to succeed (versus the forced “push” approach used in richer nations). Education only works if it is motivating and inspiring in these situations, and the approaches being used offer many new ideas that can be leveraged in schools everywhere to improve the educational process.
Arthur Benjamin’s formula for changing math education 
In this brief video, Benjamin makes the bold suggestion that the culmination of math learning should be statistics and probability, not calculus. “The mathematics of games and gambling” can not only be fun to learn, it is far more practical and relevant to our daily lives. (To watch a pretty fascinating demonstration of “mathemagic” from Benjamin click here ).
Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education 
In the second half of this video, Bill Gates provides ideas about measuring successful teaching and using this data to enable improvements in educational processes.
Let’s use video to reinvent education: Salman Khan 
In this video, Khan explains his popular and impactful work with Khan Academy (check out this recent post  for more on the Khan Academy).
Do you have a favorite TED talk that’s not listed here? Please tell us about it !