For a Friday post, I wanted to mix humor with some fantastic "forward-thinking." You will continue to see me refer to TED as a vehicle to challenge your conventional wisdom about our education system. A friend reminded me of a TED Talk given by Sir Ken Robinson in 2006 about the need to bring creativity back into how we education our children. When I listen to a talk, go to a conference, or even interview someone for a job, I will write down something in the event they offer a topic or a piece of critical thinking that I think is interesting or can have a profound effect on my career development or that of others. Sir Ken said something very prophetic in this talk: "If we are not prepared to be wrong, we won't come up with anything original." He also cited a very, very accurate quote by Picasso about children and the disconnect between children and education: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist." On a Friday before the weekend, when thinking about the education stimulus bill and how we need to fundamentally alter our system and reorient it toward a 21st century society, I hope that the new Secretary of Education and other policy makers here and around the world would at least take 19 minutes and watch this talk. Our children's future may depend on it.
- Recruiting teachers from the top third of college graduates and increasing their pay to make that possible
- Revamping the high school-college transition
- Reallocating education funding to high priority strategies for improving system performance
- Pre-K for all
- Putting more of our education funding behind students from low-income families
- Changing the way schools are managed to give teachers more influence over the way schools are run, while holding them accountable for the results
While I realize to all of you that this post may have very little to do with education innovation, I just had to blog about it. I was one of the privileged few to attend TED 2009, and every year, TED showcases a product invention that is "jaw-dropping." This year was no different. A few years ago, at the Forbes MEET Conference in Beverly Hills, I saw a demo of the Microsoft Surface. Almost immediately, what I saw was not a future entertainment platform, but an early glimpse at the future student desk in the classroom environment. Now, two years later, I have seen a derivative that takes the aspirations of of the Surface into the consumer mainstream. I think this is one of the most disruptive innovative devices I have ever seen. Imagine what it could do not only for entertainment, but for experiential learning. Take a look at this 8 minute video, and then tell me if you are not blown away. Rest assured that the "packaging" will likely come later.
- Identify the model 21st century classroom and implement it as broadly as possible.
- Identify 21st century assessment and standards and implement as broadly as possible.
- Execute a robust quantitative and qualitative research study on the effect of the 21st century learning environment on student performance; compare/benchmark to other countries and other metrics as deemed appropriate by the Federal and State Education Departments.
- Explore other tactics once the learning environment is re-engineered (extended school year one of many options to consider).