Swiss psychologist and epistemologist Jean Piaget stated that education must create people who are capable of accomplishing new things by not simply imitating past generations. Acquiring knowledge to do better things is easily done by watching online selections of the best recorded videos of conference talks that are displayed from AACE, SITE, and other organizations.
Open your mind and get ideas from these videos:
Topic I: Connected, but alone – Sherry Turkle
The speaker stated that the ideas of your identity used and learned in the virtual world enable you to live better lives in the real world. This was the hope back in 1996, but in current time, technology takes you to places that you do not want to go. These devices are small but psychologically powerful that they change your perspective. It is like being together while not being together. People design their existence to be whoever they desire it to be at all times. They are not too close, at the same time, not too far– just at the right distance. They are afraid to converse face-to-face since one cannot go back in time to “delete” what they said in-person, but this is not the case when using a computer. This mentality sacrifices conversation in favor of mere connection. You will often complain that no one is listening to you. For some, technology is appealing due to having so many automatic listeners.
People pretend that empathy is a real thing when on social media. They expect more from technology, and less in-person. People can be lonely, yet their fear of experiencing intimacy makes it even worse. Technology is designed with the illusion of companionship without friendship. Children are not taught to be alone but instead experience the feeling. Man is attracted to technology, and like a young lover, he is afraid that too much talking might ruin the relationship. Give yourselves time to develop more self-awareness. It is important to look at solitude as a good thing. Everyone must learn to listen to each other. Focusing on the many ways technology can leverage your day-to-day lives, communities, politics, and worldview will enable yourself to grow as an individual. Turkle concluded that it is important to use technology as a platform for voicing opinions, as opposed to replacing real life relationships.
About the speaker: Sherry Turkle is presently the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), specializing in social studies, technology, and psychology.
Key takeaways: While social media allows people to connect, it creates an illusion that intimacy is the same companionship and postings translate to authentic communication.
Topic II: Do schools kill creativity? / Bring on the learning revolution! – Sir Ken Robinson
The speaker makes use of forward thinking to suggest and discover new ways of addressing the American educational crisis. Thinking progressively is the best approach for shifting previous educational models to adapt to modern day needs. Sir Robinson said that educators are creators of the present system and have to face challenges by modifying previous models. Sir Robinson believed that children in schools are being prepared for work in factories, rather than creating value that innovates the future. He further added that he views the entire school system as a “lengthy process of university entrance.” Schools continue to stigmatize true talents and passions of the young. Consequently, they feel that they are not considered to be intelligent nor valuable. Most educators have indicated very slow reaction to the gradual evolution of the educational system. For example, they do not act to alleviate the present problems of the system, thereby preventing future adaptations of learning.
The revolution that needs to take place is identifying the talents of students early in their development. The speaker makes an interesting and deeply moving plea to create a system that nourishes creativity. He said that there should be more focus on the learning environment, so students may realize their potential outside of the STEM curriculum.
Ken Robinson’s quotations regarding creativity have inspired many to focus on creativity and imagination. He said that people who are not willing to accept their errors will never achieve authenticity. Being educated means using your own capacity for creativeness. Most people who are extremely brilliant, creative, and talented do not believe that they have these gifts because today’s educational system has stigmatized these traits.
About the speaker: Sir Ken Robinson is a British author, speaker, and international advisor on education and the arts.
Key takeaways: Schools today focus heavily on maintaining a standardized approach: having a set of standards and providing consistent exams to test student’s knowledge. Sir Ken Robinson examines the learning environment and identifies conditions where natural talents can flourish as well.
Topic III: The game that can give you an extra ten years of life. – Jane McGonigal
As a game developer, the speaker often hears people complain that games are wasting their lives. After her ominous comment, she spoke on the brighter side of games. Games serve as a great activity when building friendships. She told her audience that after being knocked unconscious, she suffered from brain damage. Developing suicidal thoughts, she diverted herself by a mental role-playing game with her family as allies in the battle. This diversion quickly made her feel mentally better. She made and released rules of this online game called “Super Better.” The good news is that many seriously-ill patients attested that the game made them happier and more engaged.
Jane was looking at these benefits and mentioned four types of resilience that can be trained from the game Super Better:
- Physical resilience: The ability to walk three steps or raise arms. This physical activity heals the body better and overcomes stress.
- Mental resilience: The ability to snap fingers 50 times or counting backwards from 100 to 1. Mental activity provides greater will-power.
- Emotional resilience: The ability to examine Google images on your computer. For every negative feeling, feel three positive ones.
- Social Resilience: The ability to shake someone’s hand or send a message to a friend. This gives you more strength from others.
By boosting resiliency, you gain ten more years of life and are more likely to have a positive mindset. In ten years’ time, you have time to play more games. Games help you connect with others around the world. You can create a virtual avatar that makes you feel like your authentic self. Jane gave lots of promises from her game. These activities are aimed at sick people – providing them a quest to achieve something. By focusing on these small goals and victories, ill people have started to improve their mental health. McGonigal claimed that one’s lifespan increases when they play more games. For demonstration purposes, she challenged her audience to play games, so they boost four types of resiliencies — physical, mental, emotional, and social, which would in turn add 7.5 minutes to their life. McGonigal concluded that people who play games are regularly boosting these four types of resilience; therefore, they live ten years longer than everyone else.
About the speaker: Jane McGonigal, is a game designer and author of Reality is Broken. She holds a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley and has been researching the psychology of games for over a decade.
Key takeaways: Games can have a positive impact on one’s life by creating lifelong memories and boosting one’s resilience.
Topic IV: The Child-Driven Education – Sugata Mitra
The speaker discussed that one of education’s most challenging problems is that the most competent and best teachers are not found in the schools where they are needed most. He conducted a chain of experiments covering many schools from Italy to New Delhi and even as far as South Africa. By allowing students to access the Internet through limited supervision, he discovered some results that could change the way of teaching.
In the following years, his team replicated the experiments in other parts of India to evaluate some of the key assumptions of formal education. This led to the creation of the “Hole in the Wall” project, which is a self-instruction model where one’s environment is strictly peers who bounce knowledge back and forth without a physical instructor. The goal of the experiment was to help children minimize their accent when speaking English. The researchers left the children with a computer that had a speech-text-interface. After two months, the researchers came back and found changes in the children’s accent. This proves that children could learn on their own.
Another experiment in Italy supported the evidence that self-organized education systems encourage children to learn through peer-shared knowledge, and curiosity. Professor Mitra asked Italian-speaking children who were ten years old to write on the board and translate everything to English. Within 20 minutes, the children were able to find answers to questions they had translated from English to Italian, including the life and work of Pythagoras. Mitra concluded that teachers should integrate more self-instruction and peer-based learning so children may learn on their own. Mitra calls it “minimally invasive education.”
About the speaker: Sugata Mitra is a professor at Newcastle University, England. He handles disciplines under Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences.
Key takeaways: Allowing kids to independently research online, without the need for an instructor’s supervision, can allow for increased creativity and opportunity to educate each other.
About the Author
Joseph Chan is an Admissions Advisor at Trident University International. His professional areas of specialization include admissions, research and assessment, and curriculum development. His research interests include first-generation students in higher education, online education, and international student affairs. He holds a B.A. in Public Relations from California Baptist University and a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from University of Southern California.