Number 4: 5 must-watch higher education TED talks

The future of higher ed and the role of technology are highlights of these insightful TED talks

TED-talks-education[Editor’s note: This story is part of our end-of-year countdown, and was the 4th most popular story on the site in 2014. Keep checking back every day as we build to our top story of 2014! Happy Holidays from eCampus News!]

By now, most internet junkies know about the incredible talks given through TED (Technology, Education, and Design), but outside of education talks given by Bill Gates and the ever-viral talk by Liz Coleman, what are some of the best, and potentially overlooked, discussions on higher education and technology?

Recording and posting various talks on different topics, given by experts in different fields, TED began in 1984, but has lately risen to new popularity with a worldwide following.

However, the popularity of TED talks has grown to the point where many cities, and even colleges and universities, host their own TED education talks, often revealing deeper, more specific discussions on relevant topics in higher education, and especially online learning.

In this article, you’ll find five of the best TED talks, given within the last couple of years, on topics that range from whether or not MOOCs are still relevant to the capabilities of assistive technologies, and from self-organizing curriculum to designing the university of the future.

Know of any great TED talks on higher education and/or technology? Be sure to leave your comments in the section provided below, email me at mstansbury@ecampusnews.com, or find me @eSN_Meris on Twitter.

(Next page: 5 of the best TED talks)

[Listed in alphabetical order by speaker]

1. Anant Agarwal: Why massive open online courses (still) matter:

2013 was a year of hype for MOOCs (massive open online courses). Great big numbers and great big hopes were followed by some disappointing first results. But the head of edX, Anant Agarwal, makes the case that MOOCs still matter—as a way to share high-level learning widely and supplement (but perhaps not replace) traditional classrooms. Agarwal shares his vision of blended learning, where teachers create the ideal learning experience for 21st century students.

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2. David Helfand: Designing a university for the new millennium:

Following 35 years on the faculty of Columbia University in New York, more than half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Dr. Helfand developed a deep understanding of the problems of traditional universities. Seizing an opportunity to redesign higher education from scratch, he has served as a Founding Tutor and, since 2008, as President and Vice Chancellor of Quest University Canada.

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3. Freeman Hrabowski: 4 pillars of college success in science:

At age 12, Freeman Hrabowski marched with Martin Luther King. Now he’s president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students—specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners—get degrees in math and science. He shares the four pillars of UMBC’s approach.

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(Next page: TED talks 4-5)

4. Ron McCallum: How technology allowed me to read:

Months after he was born, in 1948, Ron McCallum became blind. In this charming, moving talk, he shows how he is able to read — and celebrates the progression of clever tools and adaptive computer technologies that make it possible. With their help, and that of generous volunteers, he’s become a lawyer, an academic, and, most of all, a voracious reader. Welcome to the blind reading revolution. (Filmed at TEDxSydney.)

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5. Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course:

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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Other TED talks worth a watch:

Claire Potter: Classrooms of the future: http://youtu.be/dwqQycztc0E

Michael Horn: Disrupting class: http://youtu.be/i3Xzz2T59eU

Salman Kahn: Let’s use video to reinvent education: http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education

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