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Preview: TED Theme: How We Learn

TED Theme: How We Learn

Teachers of all kinds can find fresh resources -- and inspiration -- in this batch of TEDTalks. Some talks may shake your worldview: Sir Ken Robinson questions the very basis of our education system, while Erin McKean does the same for our most sacred of

Published: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:23:36 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:23:36 +0000


To invent is to give | Dean Kamen

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 00:11:00 +0000

Inventor Dean Kamen lays out his argument for the Segway and offers a peek into his next big ideas (portable energy and water purification for developing countries).

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Meet the future of cancer research | Eva Vertes

Mon, 02 Oct 2006 00:11:00 +0000

Eva Vertes -- only 19 when she gave this talk -- discusses her journey toward studying medicine and her drive to understand the roots of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

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The birth of the open-source learning revolution | Richard Baraniuk

Mon, 21 Aug 2006 00:11:00 +0000

In 2006, open-learning visionary Richard Baraniuk explains the vision behind Connexions (now called OpenStax), an open-source, online education system. It cuts out the textbook, allowing teachers to share and modify course materials freely, anywhere in the world.

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Photos of endangered cultures | Phil Borges

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 00:11:00 +0000

Photographer Phil Borges shows rarely seen images of people from the mountains of Dharamsala, India, and the jungles of the Ecuadorean Amazon. In documenting these endangered cultures, he intends to help preserve them.

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One Laptop per Child | Nicholas Negroponte

Tue, 01 Aug 2006 00:11:00 +0000

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Laboratory, describes how the One Laptop Per Child project will build and distribute the "$100 laptop."

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Do schools kill creativity? | Ken Robinson

Tue, 27 Jun 2006 00:11:00 +0000

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

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How juries are fooled by statistics | Peter Donnelly

Wed, 08 Nov 2006 00:11:00 +0000

Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics -- and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

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8 secrets of success | Richard St. John

Thu, 14 Dec 2006 00:11:00 +0000

Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

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The gentle genius of bonobos | Susan Savage-Rumbaugh

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 00:11:00 +0000

Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology -- and how much by cultural exposure.

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How to educate leaders? Liberal arts | Patrick Awuah

Fri, 03 Aug 2007 08:29:00 +0000

A liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders, says university head Patrick Awuah -- because it builds decision-making skills, an ethical framework and a broad vision. Awuah himself left a career at Microsoft in the US to found a liberal arts school in Africa: Ashesi University, in his home nation of Ghana. A passionate talk about dreaming, doing and leading.

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The joy of lexicography | Erin McKean

Thu, 30 Aug 2007 07:30:00 +0000

Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.

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Kids can teach themselves | Sugata Mitra

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. 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?

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The fractals at the heart of African designs | Ron Eglash

Thu, 29 Nov 2007 05:00:00 +0000

'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he'd noticed in villages across the continent.

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A performance of "Mathemagic" | Arthur Benjamin

Thu, 13 Dec 2007 00:13:00 +0000

In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.

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5 dangerous things you should let your kids do | Gever Tulley

Fri, 21 Dec 2007 01:27:00 +0000

At TED U, Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, spells out 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do -- and why a little danger is good for both kids and grownups.

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The life-long learner | Bernie Dunlap

Wed, 23 Jan 2008 03:45:00 +0000

Wofford College president Bernie Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who taught him about passionate living and lifelong learning.

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Rebuilding a neighborhood with beauty, dignity, hope | Bill Strickland

Sun, 20 Jan 2008 23:05:00 +0000

Bill Strickland tells a quiet and astonishing tale of redemption through arts, music, and unlikely partnerships.

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A preview of the WorldWide Telescope | Roy Gould

Wed, 27 Feb 2008 23:00:00 +0000

Educator Roy Gould and researcher Curtis Wong show a sneak preview of Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, which compiles images from telescopes and satellites to build a comprehensive, interactive view of our universe.

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A powerful idea about ideas | Alan Kay

Tue, 04 Mar 2008 10:09:00 +0000

With all the intensity and brilliance for which he is known, Alan Kay envisions better techniques for teaching kids by using computers to illustrate experience in ways -– mathematically and scientifically -- that only computers can.

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My wish: Find the next Einstein in Africa | Neil Turok

Thu, 20 Mar 2008 00:26:00 +0000

Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, physicist Neil Turok speaks out for talented young Africans starved of opportunity: by unlocking and nurturing the continent's creative potential, we can create a change in Africa's future.

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My wish: Once Upon a School | Dave Eggers

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 01:59:00 +0000

Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, author Dave Eggers asks the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools. With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open

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The call to learn | Clifford Stoll

Wed, 26 Mar 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Clifford Stoll captivates his audience with a wildly energetic sprinkling of anecdotes, observations, asides -- and even a science experiment. After all, by his own definition, he's a scientist: "Once I do something, I want to do something else."

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Free or cheap Wii Remote hacks | Johnny Lee

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 00:05:00 +0000

Building sophisticated educational tools out of cheap parts, Johnny Lee demos his cool Wii Remote hacks, which turn the $40 video game controller into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer.

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How the news distorts our worldview | Alisa Miller

Wed, 14 May 2008 01:35:00 +0000

Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why -- though we want to know more about the world than ever -- the media is actually showing us less. Eye-opening stats and graphs.

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The thinking behind 50x15 | Hector Ruiz

Thu, 01 May 2008 05:00:00 +0000

Hector Ruiz, the executive chair of AMD, wants to give Internet access to everyone. In this talk, he shares his extraordinary life story and describes AMD's 50x15 initiative that calls for connecting 50 percent of the world by 2015.

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The astonishing hidden world of the deep ocean | Robert Ballard

Tue, 20 May 2008 04:00:00 +0000

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?

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The psychology of evil | Philip Zimbardo

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge.

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One Laptop per Child, two years on | Nicholas Negroponte

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Nicholas Negroponte talks about how One Laptop per Child is doing, two years in. Speaking at the EG conference while the first XO laptops roll off the production line, he recaps the controversies and recommits to the goals of this far-reaching project.

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Dog-friendly dog training | Ian Dunbar

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, trainer Ian Dunbar asks us to see the world through the eyes of our beloved dogs. By knowing our pets' perspective, we can build their love and trust. It's a message that resonates well beyond the animal world.

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What we think we know | Jonathan Drori

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Starting with four basic questions (that you may be surprised to find you can't answer), Jonathan Drori looks at the gaps in our knowledge -- and specifically, what we don't about science that we might think we do.

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The moral roots of liberals and conservatives | Jonathan Haidt

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

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Human nature and the blank slate | Steven Pinker

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting.

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Robots will invade our lives | Rodney Brooks

Mon, 29 Sep 2008 07:30:00 +0000

In this prophetic talk from 2003, roboticist Rodney Brooks talks about how robots are going to work their way into our lives -- starting with toys and moving into household chores ... and beyond.

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Things I've learned in my life so far | Stefan Sagmeister

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Rockstar designer Stefan Sagmeister delivers a short, witty talk on life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including ... inflatable monkeys?).

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Science and democracy | Lee Smolin

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 01:00:00 +0000

Physicist Lee Smolin talks about how the scientific community works: as he puts it, "we fight and argue as hard as we can," but everyone accepts that the next generation of scientists will decide who's right. And, he says, that's how democracy works, too.

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Play! Experiment! Discover! | Kary Mullis

Mon, 05 Jan 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Biochemist Kary Mullis talks about the basis of modern science: the experiment. Sharing tales from the 17th century and from his own backyard-rocketry days, Mullis celebrates the curiosity, inspiration and rigor of good science in all its forms.

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Digging up dinosaurs | Paul Sereno

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Strange landscapes, scorching heat and (sometimes) mad crocodiles await scientists seeking clues to evolution's genius. Paleontologist Paul Sereno talks about his surprising encounters with prehistory -- and a new way to help students join the adventure.

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Play is more than just fun | Stuart Brown

Thu, 12 Mar 2009 01:00:00 +0000

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

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The difference between winning and succeeding | John Wooden

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 01:00:00 +0000

With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father's wisdom.

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Smash fear, learn anything | Tim Ferriss

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:43:00 +0000

From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question -- "What's the worst that could happen?" -- is all you need to learn to do anything.

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Growing evidence of brain plasticity | Michael Merzenich

Tue, 28 Apr 2009 07:33:00 +0000

Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function.

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Teach arts and sciences together | Mae Jemison

Tue, 05 May 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, a dancer ... Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one -- to create bold thinkers.

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A passionate, personal case for education | Michelle Obama

Wed, 27 May 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Speaking to an audience of students, US First Lady Michelle Obama reminds each one to take their education seriously -- and never take it for granted. This new, brilliant generation, she tells us, is the one that could close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

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A call to reinvent liberal arts education | Liz Coleman

Mon, 01 Jun 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Bennington president Liz Coleman delivers a call-to-arms for radical reform in higher education. Bucking the trend to push students toward increasingly narrow areas of study, she proposes a truly cross-disciplinary education -- one that dynamically combines all areas of study to address the great problems of our day.

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A university for the coming singularity | Ray Kurzweil

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 08:53:00 +0000

Ray Kurzweil's latest graphs show that technology's breakneck advances will only accelerate -- recession or not. He unveils his new project, Singularity University, to study oncoming tech and guide it to benefit humanity.

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Teach statistics before calculus! | Arthur Benjamin

Mon, 29 Jun 2009 08:50:00 +0000

Someone always asks the math teacher, "Am I going to use calculus in real life?" And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no. He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age.

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Life lessons through tinkering | Gever Tulley

Tue, 30 Jun 2009 01:00:00 +0000

Gever Tulley uses engaging photos and footage to demonstrate the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a roller coaster!

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Exploring the mind of a killer | Jim Fallon

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 09:10:00 +0000

Psychopathic killers are the basis for some must-watch TV, but what really makes them tick? Neuroscientist Jim Fallon talks about brain scans and genetic analysis that may uncover the rotten wiring in the nature (and nurture) of murderers. In a too-strange-for-fiction twist, he shares a fascinating family history that makes his work chillingly personal.

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The neurons that shaped civilization | Vilayanur Ramachandran

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 07:30:00 +0000

Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it.

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Kids, take charge | Kiran Sethi

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 08:47:00 +0000

Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.

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What adults can learn from kids | Adora Svitak

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 17:17:00 +0000

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

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Math class needs a makeover | Dan Meyer

Thu, 13 May 2010 08:23:00 +0000

Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think.

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Bring on the learning revolution! | Ken Robinson

Mon, 24 May 2010 09:06:00 +0000

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.

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The pattern behind self-deception | Michael Shermer

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 09:23:00 +0000

Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things -- from alien abductions to dowsing rods -- boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.

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Education innovation in the slums | Charles Leadbeater

Wed, 23 Jun 2010 08:48:00 +0000

Charles Leadbeater went looking for radical new forms of education -- and found them in the slums of Rio and Kibera, where some of the world's poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. And this informal, disruptive new kind of school, he says, is what all schools need to become.

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Keep your goals to yourself | Derek Sivers

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 08:47:00 +0000

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

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How web video powers global innovation | Chris Anderson

Tue, 14 Sep 2010 07:42:00 +0000

TED's Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation -- a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness. And for TED, it means the dawn of a whole new chapter ...

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Teaching kids real math with computers | Conrad Wolfram

Mon, 15 Nov 2010 15:03:00 +0000

From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity's most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming.

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How to learn? From mistakes | Diana Laufenberg

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 16:42:00 +0000

Diana Laufenberg shares three surprising things she has learned about teaching -- including a key insight about learning from mistakes.

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Gaming to re-engage boys in learning | Ali Carr-Chellman

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 16:28:00 +0000

In her talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain.

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Let's use video to reinvent education | Sal Khan

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 14:46:00 +0000

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

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The birth of a word | Deb Roy

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 16:21:00 +0000

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

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Don't insist on English! | Patricia Ryan

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 14:31:00 +0000

Patricia Ryan is a longtime English teacher who asks a provocative question: Is the world's focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? In other words: What if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL? It's a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas.

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Hands-on science with squishy circuits | AnnMarie Thomas

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 02:16:00 +0000

In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different kinds of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers.

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Teaching with the World Peace Game | John Hunter

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:38:00 +0000

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

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Turning trash into toys for learning | Arvind Gupta

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:51:00 +0000

At the INK Conference, Arvind Gupta shares simple yet stunning plans for turning trash into seriously entertaining, well-designed toys that kids can build themselves -- while learning basic principles of science and design.

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Try something new for 30 days | Matt Cutts

Fri, 01 Jul 2011 15:14:00 +0000

Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

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Don't take consciousness for granted | Simon Lewis

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

After a catastrophic car accident that left him in a coma, Simon Lewis found ways to recover -- physically and mentally -- beyond all expectations. At the INK Conference he tells how this remarkable story led him to concern over all threats to consciousness, and how to overcome them.

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A short intro to the Studio School | Geoff Mulgan

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 15:18:07 +0000

Some kids learn by listening; others learn by doing. Geoff Mulgan gives a short introduction to the Studio School, a new kind of school in the UK where small teams of kids learn by working on projects that are, as Mulgan puts it, "for real."

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What do babies think? | Alison Gopnik

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 15:12:56 +0000

"Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species," says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.

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Learning from a barefoot movement | Bunker Roy

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 15:08:51 +0000

In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.

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How games make kids smarter | Gabe Zichermann

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 15:03:28 +0000

Can playing video games make you more productive? Gabe Zichermann shows how games are making kids better problem-solvers, and will make us better at everything from driving to multi-tasking.

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Philosophy in prison | Damon Horowitz

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 16:22:47 +0000

Damon Horowitz teaches philosophy through the Prison University Project, bringing college-level classes to inmates of San Quentin State Prison. In this powerful short talk, he tells the story of an encounter with right and wrong that quickly gets personal.

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What we learn before we're born | Annie Murphy Paul

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 16:31:26 +0000

Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb -- from the lilt of our native language to our soon-to-be-favorite foods.

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Using tech to enable dreaming | Shilo Shiv Suleman

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 16:59:48 +0000

Has our technology -- our cell phones and iPods and cameras -- stopped us from dreaming? Young artist Shilo Shiv Suleman says no, as she demos "Khoya," her new storybook for iPad, which floats us through a magical world in 7 minutes of pure creativity.

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The sibling bond | Jeffrey Kluger

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 15:09:02 +0000

Were you the favorite child, the wild child or the middle child? Jeffrey Kluger explores the profound life-long bond between brothers and sisters, and the influence of birth order, favoritism and sibling rivalry.

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Gaming for understanding | Brenda Romero

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 14:27:29 +0000

It's never easy to get across the magnitude of complex tragedies -- so when Brenda Romero's daughter came home from school asking about slavery, she did what she does for a living -- she designed a game. She describes the surprising effectiveness of this game, and others, in helping the player really understand the story.

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The shared wonder of film | Beeban Kidron

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 15:03:30 +0000

Movies have the power to create a shared narrative experience and to shape memories and worldviews. British film director Beeban Kidron invokes iconic film scenes -- from Miracle in Milan to Boyz n the Hood -- as she shows how her group FILMCLUB shares great films with kids.

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Advice to a young scientist | E.O. Wilson

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 15:00:23 +0000

"The world needs you, badly," says legendary biologist E.O. Wilson in his letter to a young scientist. He gives advice collected from a lifetime of experience -- and reminds us that wonder and creativity are the center of the scientific life.

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The 100,000-student classroom | Peter Norvig

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 15:34:21 +0000

In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ -- and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.

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Reinventing the encyclopedia game | Rives

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 15:26:42 +0000

Prompted by the Encyclopaedia Britannica ending its print publication, performance poet Rives resurrects a game from his childhood. Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Rives takes us on a charming tour through random (and less random) bits of human knowledge: from Chimborazo, the farthest point from the center of the Earth, to Ham the Astrochimp, the first chimpanzee in outer space.

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What we're learning from online education | Daphne Koller

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 15:02:44 +0000

Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free -- not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed.

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The self-organizing computer course | Shimon Schocken

Thu, 04 Oct 2012 15:00:47 +0000

Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan developed a curriculum for their students to build a computer, piece by piece. When they put the course online -- giving away the tools, simulators, chip specifications and other building blocks -- they were surprised that thousands jumped at the opportunity to learn, working independently as well as organizing their own classes in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A call to forget about grades and tap into the self-motivation to learn.

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Science is for everyone, kids included | Amy O'Toole

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 15:13:19 +0000

What do science and play have in common? Neuroscientist Beau Lotto thinks all people (kids included) should participate in science and, through the process of discovery, change perceptions. He's seconded by 12-year-old Amy O'Toole, who, along with 25 of her classmates, published the first peer-reviewed article by schoolchildren, about the Blackawton bees project. It starts: "Once upon a time ... "

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Kids need structure | Colin Powell

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 16:18:25 +0000

How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.

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Hey science teachers -- make it fun | Tyler DeWitt

Tue, 05 Feb 2013 16:02:47 +0000

High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about his new lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) -- and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations.

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Every kid needs a champion | Rita F. Pierson

Fri, 03 May 2013 14:02:17 +0000

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don't like.'" A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

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3 rules to spark learning | Ramsey Musallam

Wed, 08 May 2013 15:03:54 +0000

It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of "pseudo-teaching" to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.

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Our failing schools. Enough is enough! | Geoffrey Canada

Wed, 08 May 2013 15:08:01 +0000

Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now -- and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada dares the system to look at the data, think about the customers and make systematic shifts in order to help greater numbers of kids excel.

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Grit: The power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

Thu, 09 May 2013 14:59:48 +0000

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.

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How to escape education's death valley | Ken Robinson

Fri, 10 May 2013 15:08:52 +0000

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.

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How books can open your mind | Lisa Bu

Fri, 31 May 2013 15:09:17 +0000

What happens when a dream you've held since childhood ... doesn't come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to reading in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.

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My daughter, Malala | Ziauddin Yousafzai

Mon, 24 Mar 2014 14:49:02 +0000

Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don't want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school. "Why is my daughter so strong?" Yousafzai asks. "Because I didn't clip her wings."

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Teach teachers how to create magic | Christopher Emdin

Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:14:02 +0000

What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time — and it's a skill we often don't teach to educators. A longtime teacher himself, now a science advocate and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Emdin offers a vision to make the classroom come alive.

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A science award that makes you laugh, then think | Marc Abrahams

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:08:05 +0000

As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world's most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science -- and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science.

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How I use sonar to navigate the world | Daniel Kish

Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:46:26 +0000

Daniel Kish has been blind since he was 13 months old, but has learned to "see" using a form of echolocation. He clicks his tongue and sends out flashes of sound that bounce off surfaces in the environment and return to him, helping him to construct an understanding of the space around him. In a rousing talk, Kish shows how this works -- and asks us all to let go of our fear of the dark unknown.

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