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TED Education — Video Lessons For Students 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the education-by-fascinatoin dept.
New submitter EuNao writes "TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the organization based on 'ideas worth sharing,' launched a new initiative this past week. It is called TED-Ed, and it aims to engage students with unforgettable lessons. There are many places in the world where a wonderful teacher or mentor is teaching something mind-blowing, but as it stands now not many people have access to that powerful experience. Ted-Ed aims to bring that engaging experience to everyone who has an internet connection. Here are summaries and links to the nine videos that were initially released."
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TED Education — Video Lessons For Students

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  • 3 edu-sites already. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by knuthin (2255242) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @08:43AM (#39394765) Homepage

    Three education related sites released this year:

    1. Sebastian Thrun's udacity.com [slashdot.org]
    2. A combination of univ initiatives @ coursera.org [slashdot.org]
    3. Ted ed [slashdot.org]

    In addition to the programming initiatives at Khan academy and MIT OCW [mit.edu] that existed already.
    We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects) Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

    • MIT OCW material is of varying completeness for each subject.

      HR people will demand Bsc, no matter what. Also parents will keep pushing their children to college / student loan. (You can't just sit all day before your computer, blah, blah, blah.)

      • by knuthin (2255242)

        One of the guy I meant to mention above, went out from high school, learning packaging, worked as an apprentice (ie no college), and then got into a very senior position in a security firm (all the details hidden because it's not relevant). And he is barely elder to me.
        You don't have to be in front of the computer at your place. You could rather go out and work in a company, getting flamed by your colleagues. Honestly, I found the communication to be better when the person physically sits with you discus

        • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:42AM (#39395053)

          I think that the Traditional College system is not the best fit for lot’s of jobs and there are better ways to learn and to show that you have skills.

          Harvard Study: Too Much Emphasis On College Education?
          http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0202/Does-everyone-need-a-college-degree-Maybe-not-says-Harvard-study [csmonitor.com] [csmonitor.com] [CC] [MD] [GC]

          http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/02/harvard-study-hey-maybe-were-placing-too-much-emphasis-on-a-college-education/ [hotair.com] [hotair.com] [CC] [MD] [GC]
          “It would be fine if we had an alternative system [for students who don’t get college degrees], but we’re virtually unique among industrialized countries in terms of not having another system and relying so heavily on higher education,” says Robert Schwartz, who heads the Pathways to Prosperity project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
          Emphasizing college as the only path may actually cause some students – who are bored in class but could enjoy learning that’s more entwined with the workplace – to drop out, he adds. “If the image [of college] is more years of just sitting in classrooms, that’s not very persuasive.”
          The United States can learn from other countries, particularly in northern Europe, Professor Schwartz says. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, for instance, between 40 and 70 percent of high-schoolers opt for programs that combine classroom and workplace learning, many of them involving apprenticeships. These pathways result in a “qualification” that has real currency in the labor market”

          “It would be fine if we had an alternative system [for students who don’t get college degrees], but we’re virtually unique among industrialized countries in terms of not having another system and relying so heavily on higher education,” says Robert Schwartz, who heads the Pathways to Prosperity project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
          Emphasizing college as the only path may actually cause some students – who are bored in class but could enjoy learning that’s more entwined with the workplace – to drop out, he adds. “If the image [of college] is more years of just sitting in classrooms, that’s not very persuasive.”
          The United States can learn from other countries, particularly in northern Europe, Professor Schwartz says. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, for instance, between 40 and 70 percent of high-schoolers opt for programs that combine classroom and workplace learning, many of them involving apprenticeships. These pathways result in a “qualification” that has real currency in the labor market”

          http://ketchumgroup.net/blog/skills-needed-skills-defined/ [ketchumgroup.net]
          “This determination could have long-range impact in the use of diplomas as blanket screening tools. Unlike industry-based certification, diplomas and degrees from schools seldom define demonstrated and assessed skills. This EEOC guidance could speed the adoption of skill-based, industry driven, skill certification. Currently, the US Department of Labor lists over 4,400 industry-based certifications on the Certification Finder at the CareerOneStop.com website. These certifications will rise in importance to employers while education-based credentials may fade. Effective skill development on the job requires a structured approach based on the defined skills used in the workplace. In such a structured OJT workplace, meeting this EEOC guidance will be readily accomplished, and new employees quickly trained in the need skills.”

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @08:54AM (#39394811)

      I think it depends a lot on the area. We're closer to replacing programming classes with online courses than we are to replacing, say, civil-engineering degrees; at least for the near-term future, nobody is going to license you to work on a bridge if you don't have a college degree, no matter how many online videos you've watched. Part of the reason imo is that it's easier to demonstrate competence in programming, e.g. by having a "Github resume" of non-trivial projects you've worked on in your spare time.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:05AM (#39394875)

      We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects) Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

      People will go to college because for the next generation or two because the majority of them will be interview and/or hired by people who went to college. Many college graduates feel there was value to their college experience, even beyond the education they received, and they will favor others who might have had that experience.

      For many, their college or university affiliation is like belonging to a special club. Even more so if they belonged to a fraternity or sorority. It will take time for that to wane.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        College is not just about job training, it is learning to think more broadly, becoming a responsible adult, etc. In high school, you get a little sense of history from dates and places, but the grand narrative and the lingering long term effects are not really emphasized whereas in college you get a better sense that one ware grew out of the lingering distrust/resentment of the last. Similarly, a lot of mathematics in (average track) high school is "here's a technique, practice it 20-30 times and show tha

      • by olau (314197)

        For many, their college or university affiliation is like belonging to a special club. Even more so if they belonged to a fraternity or sorority. It will take time for that to wane.

        And it is, in some sense. If you're paying attention, college installs a certain, shall we say academic, culture in people where you learn to question beliefs and work hard for the sake of knowledge.

        Well, that's what it's supposed to do, at least.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I find Ted talks a very frustrating experience. So many of them are just psuedo-intellectual waffle - with some gems buried in there. I watch quite a few... and I can pretty much sum up how interesting the talk will be in the first few seconds.

      Young woman speaker = 99% chance of being shit.
      Young man speaker = 30% chance of being shit.

      Middle aged woman= 70% chance of being shit
      Middle aged man=20% chance of being shit.

      Elderly woman=50% chance of being shit
      Elderly man="10% chance of being shit"

      First words "I'

      • by mug funky (910186)

        i'd tweak the numbers and be a little less closed-minded about some subjects (myself coming from media and art, though mostly doing programming and geek stuff), but that does pretty much sum it up for me as well..

      • by tomhath (637240)
        Not sure why this was modded flamebait, that's been my experience too. Except I'd say Young Man Speaker = 70% chance Liberal political spiel. TED handing Bill Clinton a $100k "prize" for speaking at the event should tell you something.
      • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @10:42AM (#39395319)

        Your analysis of the TED talks by age and gender may be a bit whimsical, but you're in essence dead on.

        The smug and tedious pretentiousness of the majority of TED presentations has been one of those Geek Truths That Dare Not Speak It's Name for years now. It's about two, maybe three years away from complete Burning Man Status (i.e., everyone knows it's time has come and gone, but there's still plenty of money to be made from the n00bs, so hush up...)

      • by tkprit (8581)
        Absolutely. Shit infomercials for the most part.
    • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:12AM (#39394899)

      Many fields require dealing with hardware you don't have access to unless you go to college. Also, the ability to learn from smart people is a huge untapped potential, once online learning becomes mainstream universities will realise that they have to offer more than just giving students books /notes to memorise.

    • by giltwist (1313107) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:14AM (#39394909)

      Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

      Simply put, passively watching a video is better than nothing and even better than tuning out in the middle of class. However, there is simply no replacement for hands-on experience. That's why you see all those cutting edge new charter schools that are opening up moving away from textbook-based learning to project-based learning. As a math teacher, I am 100% behind sites like this providing opportunities for people to engage in life-long learning. That being said, I simply don't believe you can become an expert anything simply by watching. The cognitive psychology research says you need something like 10,000 hours of practice to develop the automaticity of an expert. That is to say, do you want the surgeon who has to check the anatomy book before he cuts into you or the surgeon who practiced on cadavers so much he can find the place to cut with his eyes closed? THAT, my friend, is what the value of college is. The other key feature of college is that gives you a chance to see where the holes are in understanding/technology/methodology. Universities, especially at the graduate level, are really about preparing people to engage in innovation. Do some people have good ideas without college? Surely. Are even half of those ideas feasible or attainable without some serious training? I doubt it.

      • by mariox19 (632969)

        I watched two of the videos, the one on containerization and the one on simple words being more effective than polysyllabic verbalization. They were both nice, but easily misused in a classroom setting. They're over almost as soon as they begin, and they move very quickly. I think they could be used near the end of a lesson, to drive a point home after a teacher did all the groundwork the old-fashioned way; but if you tried to introduce a lesson with one, or, heaven forbid, thought one of these videos could

      • by sgtrock (191182)

        The cognitive psychology research says you need something like 10,000 hours of practice to develop the automaticity of an expert.

        I'd love to know what that research is based on and how they defined 'expert'. 10,000 hours at 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with two weeks off for holidays and sick days comes out to 6 1/4 years.

        Mind you, that leaves no time for doing anything else that might be job related. No reading, no classroom instruction, no meetings, no writing, etc. Yet people become competent in a wid

        • by giltwist (1313107)

          So, setting a bar of 10,000 hours as the necessary hands on goal is way too high. Maybe a better question to ask is, what's needed to become competent? Any idea?

          You have hit the million dollar question in education, my friend. I suspect its a question that doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer. Sadly, educational policy has long operated under the same-training-same-results mentality which is diametrically opposed to the differentiated instruction models that have slowly crossed into mainstream education from special education research. However, I agree that 10,000 hours from a college is unfeasible, even undesirable. In fact, I really don't think a degree ma

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          For example, a good friend of mine was certified as a diesel mechanic for heavy construction equipment in 2 years. He picked up a master's certificate in another couple of years.

          How many years would it have taken him to get certified to design the next generation of high-efficiency diesel engines?

          When I was in the Navy, I became a pretty good electronic tech after about the same 2 year period, and was running my own shop after 3 more.

          Tell you what, spend a couple of decades being treated by physicians that

      • The other key feature of college is that gives you a chance to see where the holes are in understanding/technology/methodology.

        Or alternatively what ties things together. Where I did my Ph.D. comps we were simply given a list of about 50 books, told we were responsible for knowing the contents, and then given a year to accomplish that on our own. There were no course requirements although I suppose if you were weak in an area then you could take a course to help with that.

        Other aspects of the testing were

    • by usb47 (201858)

      TedEd, Khan, et alis are not enough.

      http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com] (current post)
      http://www.techsavvyed.net/archives/1866 [techsavvyed.net] (refers to older posts of Frank)

      Here's why Khan other video lessons may *worsen* the problems:
      http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/khan-academy-and-the-effectiveness-of-science-videos/ [wordpress.com]
      http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/pdfs/research/super/PhD(Muller).pdf [usyd.edu.au]

    • Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

      Because college/university provides you with things that others value. For instance a university degree shows that you are capable of staying in one place and working on a goal for 4 years. Similarly it shows that you are capable of delayed gratification. Your transcript shows whether you are a stable performer (most grades the same) or erratic (F's and A's).

      An enormous amount of the effort in college/university is about certification not e

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects)

      That probably says more about the nature of open source than the superfluousness of college education.

  • the best lesson... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...is the lesson that you are naturally entitled to nothing, from property to welfare, and that most human constructs are constricting rather than liberating.

    So ignore how you're told to live, and work in the way that you think seems right.

  • Academic worry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrootLoops (1817694) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:01AM (#39394849)

    As someone who's likely to end up as a university professor of math in a decade or so, online learning like this makes me wonder about my long-term job security. Why should I get paid to put together and give a lecture on material that an excellent lecturer and support staff have already thoroughly covered online? Sure, there's more to classroom learning than mutely listening to a lecture, but is there enough to justify the extraordinarily high cost of the alternative? Will it be tempting in a few years for a budget-conscious administrator to have undergraduates watch free online lectures with grad students doing all the support work (grading, office hours, recitations, etc.)?

    I take some comfort in the fact that people are willing to pay through the nose for a prestigious education and that online education is currently a second-class citizen. Academic institutions are also very slow to change as a rule. My theoretical job is probably safe, but I don't know what the long term future holds. Residential undergraduate institutions stocked with professors giving lectures may become extremely rare as high quality, highly reproducible, efficient online learning improves and perhaps becomes mainstream.

    • Hmmm.. Sounds like what happened to performers when radio and gramophone made city crooners available world-wide. Which led to super-rich performers (for the first time), which led to anti-piracy laws, trademark extensions, PirateBay torrents, and Russell Crowe and Lindsey Lohan occupying our newspaper headlines. Now I see, TED and Khan Academy must be stopped, or math-teacher paparazzi headlines and SOPA laws for homework will inevitably follow.
    • There have always been alternative ways to study or get good at something, next to a formal school. Home schooling is a common and not unpopular way of educating children in the USA, for instance.

      The reason you go to university is because you learn to do a lot of things like team work, social skills, negotiating, working in projects, dealing with supervisors without having to wear a uniform and all that.

      Every time you pass a milestone at university, people will know your skill level, even if it's not dir
    • by mug funky (910186)

      if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. better get that youtube/vimeo account dusted off.

    • by giltwist (1313107)
      Do yourself a huge favor. Get at least one of your degrees in math education as opposed to pure math the whole way up the ladder. If you go the pure math route, I think your fears are fairly well justified. Chalk-and-talk teaching is going the way of the dinosaurs. That's what the Khan Academy is for. Go learn some of the cutting-edge teaching techniques that are being developed and you'll have a skill set that no mere computer can replace.
    • you seem to be very young.
      a university professor's job is not to teach, but to do research.
      by definition, a university professor is supposed to be able to advise master students. as far as I know, a master thesis is supposed to solve a new problem, i.e. "research", even if the method used is not necessarily new. thus the university professor must be able to expand their field.
      note that the title of professor is usually given to people who also advise PhD students, and for a PhD thesis it is implied that a v

      • Yes, research often is a big part of a university professor's job, though it depends on the institution. An AC responded to your post describing some of the alternatives where more or less research takes place.

        Perhaps I was unclear. My worry isn't that university professors (in math, in my case) will become useless, but that the number of jobs might decrease significantly as some of their duties are taken over by online learning, decreasing the number of professors some schools are willing to support, decre

    • Re:Academic worry (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MisterSquid (231834) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @11:04AM (#39395411)

      I take some comfort in the fact that people are willing to pay through the nose for a prestigious education and that online education is currently a second-class citizen

      I used to be a professor (of American Literature). I am unusual in that I have a wide background which includes mathematics, programming, and skill with computer systems/networks. I love literature, languages, poetry, art, and postmodernity. I also love computers, GREP, web development, and cosmogony (this last strictly as a spectator).

      Increasingly, I found academia stultifying, especially because it meant laboring in obscurity for students who were on their way somewhere else. The best students--the graduate students I mentored in their quests to find professorships--were far and few between and headed to either to the dead-end of no-humanities-jobs or the undead-end of low pay and crippling student loans. My colleagues in the math department did not (over)produce as many Ph.D.s as we in English, but their also wallowed in the budget-cut gutter. As academics, we all were getting defunded and lines for new hires were either cancelled or endlessly deferred.

      All that aside, when you find yourself saying something like your livelihood depends upon a captive audience "willing to pay through the nose" while the upstart competitor is presently perceived (and sometimes is, but not always) as a "second-class citizen" you've seriously got to wonder what your future holds.

      I left academia in 2010 to become an entry-level front-end developer in the Bay Area (mostly to come back to California where I grew up. I'd had enough of living in the Midwest at an R2 university). Right off the bat I made 20% more than I did as a faculty of 7 years. My salary, my environment, my autonomy--all these things have only improved in the last two years. Every day it gets better.

      I do miss some aspects of academia, the colleagues and motivated students especially. I also miss unfettered access to a research library. But I don't miss grading, overwork, low pay, and obscurity. There are also things about tech employment I dislike: petty politics, office culture (presentism), boyzone, sexism, homophobia (even in SF), and 50+ hours/week cycle of declining productivity.

      Anyhow, this is a long anecdote to warn people like you that academia wears thin for many academics, but academics are so specialized they often have no choice but to stay the course they set many years ago in graduate school. Others of us who have fungible skills (technology) go elsewhere when the romanticized ideal of the university is replaced by the day-to-day of academic life. As someone who fell in love with information technology with his first Apple //e ('e' for education, remember), I saw the writing on the digital wall.

      You think your job at some (more likely than not obscure) university will keep-on-keeping-on now that disruptive technology (such as Ted Education, tablet devices, and Stanford's free courses) have ruptured the pristine edifice of the ivory tower?

      Think hard and think again because as sure as it will rain, academic jobs are going to be even more severely constrained.

      • by Prune (557140)
        Your post makes it all the more clear to me that I should have no regrets over deciding not to pursue a PhD with the aim to stay in academia, and, instead, becoming the first employee of a start-up instead. Lots of work and initial hardship, with huge risk, but never dull or rote, without the day-to-day drudgeries of academic life (incidentally, now I remember reading a comment from Larry Niven that he became a sci-fi writer instead of a researcher in a university for essentially the same reason).
      • You referred to office culture as "presentism." Would you be kind enough to elaborate? I looked it up, and I'm still not sure I know what you mean. Thanks.

        • Sure. What I meant by presentism is usually covered by the more colloquial "face time", which is the idea in corporate culture that people who are physically present in an office are productive. This can be so extreme as to discourage telecommuting even when it makes sense.

          Academia generally has no such requirements. One does have committee work and office hours, but most (non-science/non-lab) work in academia is either done behind a closed door or at home. So, the freedom to work alone and/or at home may b

      • Thanks for relating your experiences. There are a number of things you can do with a Ph.D. in math besides teaching, though certainly entering academia is a big piece of the job pie. I'm not sure how similar Ph.D.'s in the humanities are; you implied that it's academia or nothing. I'm very much looking forward to TAing and thesis work in grad school, to see how well I like some of the actual work that would be involved in being a professor. I imagine I will be happy with both, though I can't yet know for su

    • by Z1NG (953122)
      Everything changes. Some changes are slower, some are almost instant. If you want to be a university professor because you want to get paid to do research, then become a great researcher and it is very likely that you will be able to find a place in academia. If you want to teach, things MIGHT be different. Ten years is a long time, but large structures like the university system can be slow to change. Even if Khan style teaching takes off, it will take a significant amount of time to get enough lectur
  • Watch Mr. Wizard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomhath (637240) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @09:33AM (#39395007)

    The videos I watched remind me of that old TV show "Watch Me Wizard". Short and focused on a single facet of one topic, the video can hold your attention for a few minutes. They would be a good supplement in a traditional educational setting, kind of like a reading assignment.

    They don't seem especially revolutionary though; and keep in mind that TED talks often subtly (or not so subtly) push their organization's political agenda.

  • As a post-secondary instructor for the past 18 years and one of the first proponents of Using the Internet for Education [cadvision.com], I can say without doubt that I have no more qualifications than anyone else to speak about this. Having said that, I think that videos like this are good for introduction or review but fail in interactivity between the learner and content. Face to face, hands-on learning is the best way to learn - period. There is an old axiom that states: sit in a large University hall lecture - remembe

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