Most everyone knows what TED Talks are. The talks are so popular that many cities, including colleges and universities, host their own TED conferences and education talks. And TED Talks for higher education in particular offer wisdom and insight.

The talks range from inspiring to humorous and cautionary, but there’s something we can learn from each speaker’s experience.

Related content: 5 ways innovation is inspiring higher ed

Here, we’ve gathered a handful of TED Talks for higher education. From college access and math to learning how to debate and build creative confidence, these TED Talks touch on a variety of topics.

Some are a couple years old, and others are brand new, but they all have one thing in common: they’ll get you thinking about higher education’s place in society, its future, and what learning truly means.

TED Talks for higher education

1. How math is our real 6th sense

In this engaging talk, high school math teacher and YouTube star Eddie Woo shares his passion for mathematics, calling it an extra sense that we can all access. Using real-world examples of geometry, he encourages everyone to seek out the patterns around them for “a whole new way to see the world.”

2. Rethinking the way we provide access to higher education

Drawing on her and her father’s experience, Hila Azadzoy invites you to rethink the admissions system. In her talk, Hila explores how incumbent structures and bureaucracy — specifically lack of documentation, which worsens when applied to migrants — prevent many from reaching their full potential. Her solution: leveraging technological advances such as MOOCs, digital curricula and blended learning to allow anybody to start studies within a field and to be assessed purely with respect to their performance.

3. Dare to disagree

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

4. How to build your creative confidence

Is your school or workplace divided into “creatives” versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create.

5. Rethinking access and success in higher education

A college education has the potential to greatly change an individual’s life choices and experiences. However, access to higher education is not readily available to everyone and, even when individuals have the opportunity to attend, there are significant achievement gaps across race, class and gender. Taking a look internally, Georgia State University has found that little changes can make significant differences for student success.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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