Where to start with a classroom revolution?

The idea of bringing together a group of TEDsters to think and design the first baby steps in a student led revolution of the classroom, the teaching environment full stop is exciting. Yet, the whole idea is all a bit daunting as well. The question that I keep returning to is:

Where to start? And, how do I get into the frame of mind to start thinking about an education revolution?

One of the first things I did was take a look at redu, the group that is behind the video on the Education Project page. This is a great start but it sent me back to the TED Talk about Tinker School and then that great talk by Clifford Stoll.

We need to get the kids tinkering! An approach to this project should not only consider the challenge in terms of our collective knowledge, but it should also ignite the passion for participation of the students we are seeking to empower. It is fine that we talk but we need begin with some radical ideas that get the student, the kid excited. FastCompany has a great piece in this months edition called 13 Radical Ideas for “How to spend $100 million to really save education.”

For this TEDActive Education project, maybe we need to begin thinking like kids?

I am going to poll the kids in my son’s classes and ask them, in Twitter format, to tell me what they would change/add/eliminate/do different in their school if they were going to make it the ultimate place to get the tools to do amazing things!  What if we all find a handful of students K through 12 and ask them what would make them love school and see what we get? Maybe that will help to get us all thinking.

How do you start? Kids are all around us, start talking to them.

You can begin the process by talking with your children, the children of your friends, the kids on a sports team, that teacher you know and maybe even a bowling team.

Start with one kid, ask them to ask their friends and listen to what they are saying.

Write the ideas down, no matter how far fetched, and bring them to TEDActive.

Is this scientific research? No.

But in 60 seconds you can learn a whole lot about how our children might change education to make it work, listen hard.

Our job is to create that tool to follow the roadmap.

4 thoughts on “Where to start with a classroom revolution?”

  1. As a teacher in an underfunded, high-poverty, urban school high school, one things my students don’t have is agency. Though I haven’t gotten support from my administration, Participatory Action Research is a framework that I think could give my kids agency and help support their communities. PAR involves students researching features of their own lives and communities with the end in mind of improving those communities. These types of projects, when implemented in a cross curricular method, could hit all core subjects, and perhaps more importantly, teach our students how to become critical thinkers and engaged citizens.
    If you are serious about radicalizing education and giving kids ownership, then PAR is the way to go.


  2. Yes talk to kids!!! We learn so much by going into K-12 schools!

    Btw: For those who want to keep up on neuroscience and kids — check out our new GGI4Kids on Twitter!!!: http://twitter.com/#!/GGI4Kids

    Also advisor to my institute Eric Chudler runs a great little neuroscience factoid site for kids:
    Neuroscience for Kids which is over 100 languages!


    Have a great first day TED amigos/amigas!


  3. Hi Gang!!!!! Miss everyone at TEDACTIVE this year. Please remember to take your spacious morning breaths to clear your brain minds and open up your neural circuits to upload TED riches!!!!

    Happy to bring the voice of what’s happening in “brain awareness,” “mindfulness” and design thinking field of ‘guerrilla” work — going into schools that are all being shanghai’d by school policy reform that insists on “competency for all.” Case in point: I just got back from the Igeneration: Digital Technology and its effect on Learning, Teaching and the Brain. Teachers from California and Canada mostly in attendance. (Boy they could use a TED curator — no food, few breaks and and hour long presentations. Teachers deserve better!!!!!!)

    There was lots of talk on the need for problem solving, creativity etc etc but everyone still has to teach to the “test”!!!! The ideas we come up with through TED will need to keep the whole system in mind — Its going to take the entire micro village and private sourcing to by-pass stymied school reform.

    For my part: Brain Awareness Week is coming March 14 2011 and my institute interns and I have cooked up a great special event!: “Neurons and Neutra” — bringing brain awareness, architectural design thinking and a key math principle all together for primary and middle school students to design their own dream spaces!!!!!

    We’re looking to transform our GGI4Kids into gaming formats. Any gamers out there wanna help?


  4. This is all great, but having spent this past weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, circumambulating the Capital with 70,000 people protesting that state’s governor’s move to break public unions (and sell off energy plants via no bid contract—it’s quite a piece of legislation), any discussion about the future of education in the U.S. has to take into account a beleaguered public school system. The governor is now talking about budget cuts of 9%—this in an era when the majority of public school buildings are physically falling apart. (fyi: a review of a wonderful book called “The Third Teacher” http://www.stuartjmurphy.com/vizlearning/2011/02/10/thirdteacher/)

    Clearly, there is an opportunity for some fabulous, inspiring innovations in pedagogy via game design, digital media, et al. But it is critical to think about this within the context of fast-changing educational landscape. The thrust in Wisconsin is not about finding new, more efficient, better ways to educate children, but about cutting costs and shifting expenses.

    A lot of the wonderful ideas about teaching focus on smarter, better, less-can-be-more, but-more-of-the-right-stuff-is-better ideas. How can these ideas be implemented an increasingly threadbare infrastructure?

    I am planning to attend TEDxNYED next weekend and am really looking forward to the discussion….


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