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Education Television

TED Teams Up With PBS On Ideas For Education 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-ted-show dept.
First time accepted submitter edwardins writes "TED has teamed up with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the New York public broadcaster WNET to create an hour long special called, 'TED Talks Education.' From the article: 'The Corporation for Public Broadcasting paid for the show's $1 million costs under the auspices of an initiative that addresses the high school drop-out problem in the United States. "It was the perfect marriage of ideas that matter and our core value of education," said Patricia Harrison, the corporation's chief executive.'"
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TED Teams Up With PBS On Ideas For Education

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  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Monday May 06, 2013 @10:38AM (#43642165)
    The popularity of TED shows that there is an unsatisfied hunger for genuinely stimulating intellectual stuff out there. PBS can be good but I am talking about people out there with a huge hunger to hear about cutting edge discoveries in various fields. This will always be a somewhat niche market but it seems that money and stupid always drown out intellect. Case in point: The Discovery Channel.

    It seems the moment the MBA types start noodling with their spreadsheets they will say oh look a TED talk will pull in an audience of 2.3 million but a re-run of friends will pull in 2.31 million; my work is done here.

    So we end up with a generation of kids who want to co-habit in a loft and drink coffee instead of a generation inspired to be the next Richard Feynman.

    I am not saying their should be no Friends re-runs nor that all kids can become Richard Feynman; just that the ratio of Friends to TED type programming is in need of a little tweaking.
    • by doconnor (134648) on Monday May 06, 2013 @10:54AM (#43642379) Homepage

      Maybe stimulating intellectual stuff can attract a fair number of viewers, but not the kind of people desired by advertisers.

    • The Discovery Channel? - With a veritable smorgasbord of mind-numbing drivel to choose from you picked the Discovery Channel?
      • You mean like The Learning Channel? I'd like to start a petition to have this channel renamed because they haven't shown anything worth learning in over a decade.

        Of course when PBS's top show is "The Antique Roadshow", PBS may not be the best place for reforming education either.

      • by nucrash (549705)
        Discovery Channel is an easy target considering the fact that at one time it was a channel that was actually informative and provided some intellectual value. But as time progressed, the intellectual value was supplanted with entertainment value which was funded by advertisement value. Basically we live in a world driven by consumers. Unfortunately the stupidest people consume the most. Another easy target would be TLC. This channel was once called, "The Learning Channel." I don't honestly think I cou
        • See, you blame the networks, but I have an alternate hypothesis:

          People interested in intellectually deep material fled to the internet, and stopped being an available pool for the networks to target. The people who still watch TV are the people who, in the early 2000s, were still willing to suffer advertisements, forced time slots, and reruns in their entertainment. The rest of started reading websites and watching online videos. The edutainment networks ran to the audience they still had, people who wat

        • Discovery Channel is an easy target considering the fact that at one time it was a channel that was actually informative and provided some intellectual value.

          I wondered if it was nostalgia making me think that. What did I see recently - something like "Was Hitler a transvestite?"

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      PBS can be good [...]. Case in point: The Discovery Channel.

      I don't know why you're comparing these two channels.
      PBS exists to provide educational programming.
      It's subsidized by a government chartered corporation in order to provide educational programming.
      The last thing you have to worry about is PBS playing reruns of Friends.

      The Discovery Channel's problem is that reality tv is cheaper and more ratings friendly than information heavy programming.
      So we get information-lite content wrapped in a package of survival shows, fishing boats, and elimination style competit

      • by Xoltri (1052470)
        A great science show I found recently is Bang goes the theory on BBC. I think it's on it's 7th season now, I watched all of the episodes and they are great.
    • by Joe Tie. (567096)
      It's a hunger for feel good infotainment in quick easy to digest sizes. There's a world of difference between actual education and hearing an educated person tell stories about their life and discoveries. I've known tons of people who like TED talks, or watching pop-science documentaries. Not once, not even a single time, have I see anyone of them actually take that interest to the next level and start to gain a real education or understanding of the subject.
      • My theory is that it will be that one person in 100 or less who sees scientists at work and it rings them like a bell. Full resonance. But for the other 99 getting them hopped up on pop-sci then gets them to support funding this stuff. Those penguins won't film themselves.
  • Can't help but think that if TED had done this on its own it would have cost a fraction of the $1M that PBS is spending. But maybe I'm naive about the costs involved.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:18AM (#43642673)
    There is no real "problem" with people dropping out of high school, nor is there a problem with people not going to college, nor is there a problem that some people don't get their masters, nor is there a problem that some people don't get their PhD. Instead, if we look at this as a "problem" we try to get people at all costs to graduate high school, mostly by dumbing down the coursework. When this happens (which it already has) a high school diploma means nothing, it has stopped being a qualification, more and more people need to go to college to get a degree as a qualification, when more and more people go to college, colleges are naturally forced to raise prices (and due to government subsidies such as Pell Grants and student loans actually have an incentive to raise prices since the price of college stops being a major barrier) due to having a finite amount of resources, and naturally college courses become dumbed down and so people need to get a post-grad degree and so on...

    What needs to happen is that school councilors and teachers need to help the kids who aren't academically minded and help them find good careers doing something that they -want- to do and are good at, rather than trying to shoehorn them into a career path that they aren't good at and they don't like. Yes, education is a good thing but not everyone has the intellectual capacity to do well in high school and college, rather than looking at these people as failures, the system needs to help them not by mindlessly telling them to 'stay in school' and 'go to college'.
    • by swb (14022)

      One of the primary problems with education in the U.S. is that the consumers of education have, principally, a vocational expectation from education. They believe that whatever education they get should enable them to get a job. The people providing this education, however, are not providing a vocational education; they are more interested in providing a âoegeneralâ education which includes a lot of things which are not of any specific vocational benefit.

      Employers, however, want something els

  • by femtobyte (710429) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:20AM (#43642715)

    I bet the people who buy $6,000 tickets to see TED talks in person won't be sending their kids to the new model of schools they're proposing. The rich will still go to fancy prep schools, with small class sizes, highly qualified teachers, individual tutoring, beautiful facilities, broad-ranging curricula --- and where even the dumbest kids will be groomed to be multimillionaire managers (no one there being prepared for the "janitor" career track). Meanwhile, they want to tell the rest of us to stick our kids on the "obedient peon" track, herded and managed to be profitable slaves for the kids of the super-wealthy (and make them a nice return on investment from new for-profit schools).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gizmo2199 (458329)

      I bet the people who buy $6,000 tickets to see TED talks in person won't be sending their kids to the new model of schools they're proposing. The rich will still go to fancy prep schools, with small class sizes, highly qualified teachers, individual tutoring, beautiful facilities, broad-ranging curricula --- and where even the dumbest kids will be groomed to be multimillionaire managers (no one there being prepared for the "janitor" career track). Meanwhile, they want to tell the rest of us to stick our kids on the "obedient peon" track, herded and managed to be profitable slaves for the kids of the super-wealthy (and make them a nice return on investment from new for-profit schools).

      Exactly! It still amazes me how the solution to our eduction "problem" seems to be to deprive the public of qualified teachers, by for instance, cutting their salaries, and "optimizing" class sizes. And who are the number one proponents of these solutions: people for whom their own children must have the best of the best, and can easily afford to pay for it. Isn't it amazing how the kids of rich people never seem to work in blue-collar professions, even if they're idiots. They still manage to make it into I

  • except that ted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:38AM (#43642973) Homepage
    is more of a cult than an education vanguard these days. sheldrakes 'morphic resonance' bullshit for example. Taleb's account that TED has devolved into a three-ring circus in which educated scientists perform parlour trickery for the lay-person seems accurate. It should also be taken seriously that Nick Hanauer was shown the door after his talk pointed the audience to reconsider income inequality and taxation of the wealthiest; his talk was never published. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TED_(conference)#Controversies_and_criticism [wikipedia.org]
    • I watched all TED talk when they first became available on their website, years ago. Back then 40-60% of the talks where really, really good. Fast forward to today: some 90% of the talks are garbage, banal, mundane, trite, boring, trivial... of course, it is an American operation, and like all ideas which are great in moderation, American business acumen milks everything until it's dry. Who cares about the ideas if you can build a boring but MUCH larger franchise system? Make it more "professional" = it was

    • by fermion (181285)
      TED, like many similar lectures, are valuable because the people who are talking have succeeded at something and it is interesting to see how they succeeding, or what they think, because it is might be useful in out lives. The problem, as stated, is that it has become a cult where these people are assumed to have the answer. The reality is that answers can come from many places, and no one should be considered a oracle. For instance, it might be nice to hear from the mother who raised 3 kids and put them
  • (1) Make schooling, from grades 10-12, voluntary. This is a two-fold solution:
    (a) It gets rid of those that are disruptive and don't want to be there anyway, leaving:
    (b) more time for those that are there to learn, and more resources from the teachers can be devoted to smaller classes.

    (2) Those that drop out, are placed in a trade school, or join the military, their choice.

    (3) Stop teaching to the test. I understand (at least where I live anyway) that school budgets are tied to SOL test scores, but it screw

    • by femtobyte (710429) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:14PM (#43643437)

      (3) Stop teaching to the test. I understand (at least where I live anyway) that school budgets are tied to SOL test scores, but it screws things up, and makes it worse, not better.
      (4) Dump the teacher's union. Give teachers the authority to make the changes needed in education.

      How is "dump the teacher's union" supposed to fit in with the rest of this? Despite failings, the teachers' unions are the *only* thing giving teachers any sway over the educational system. Without that, it'd be entirely up to management types --- who've been trained from birth to absolutely love making everything into shallow numerical metrics (teach to the test!) to prove how important management is. Yes, I had to suffer through some bad teachers kept around by the unions --- but all the *very best* teachers I had would have been first to go if management had their way, because sticking up for smart students puts you on the wrong side of management priorities.

      • Thanks for the education on this. The worst teachers I've ever had, were all unionized, hence my dislike of them.

        • by femtobyte (710429)

          Unfortunately, when you take away the unions, the lazy, self-serving, money-grubbing, too-useless-for-a-real-job, petty authoritarian teachers are probably the ones who will *stay* (and suck up to whatever teach-to-the-test nonsense that management makes pay raises ride on, or just outright cheat like the "incentivized" teachers in Michelle Rhee's DC schools). The great teachers, who have plenty of skills to get a much higher paying job elsewhere, but teach because they live for making a positive impact on

        • The worst teachers I've ever had, were all unionized, hence my dislike of them.

          I, presume that, includes the one who, taught you how, to, use commas.

    • by moeinvt (851793)

      "(6) Separation of school and private sector."

      How about separation of school and government instead?

      Only when government gets involved in something can we observe steadily increasing costs for stagnant or declining quality of product/service. In every other market things get better and/or cheaper, or at the very worst, keep a constant value.

      Make the schools private, make the teachers compete for those jobs and make the schools compete to attract students. Bring in the education entrepreneurs.

      • by femtobyte (710429)

        In every other market things get better and/or cheaper, or at the very worst, keep a constant value.

        Actually, in just about every other market in this country, things get increasingly unequal (larger divide between the "haves" and "have nots,") with the vast majority being subjected to a race-to-the-bottom for crappy quality at low prices. As McDonalds is to quality nutritious food and Wal*Mart is to high-quality, durable goods, so too will privatized corporate education be for the masses. We'll get empty-calories education, all corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil, with the lasting durability of a mad

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          I'm talking about the value proposition to the consumer for a particular good or service. Price AND quality.

          "... a race-to-the-bottom for crappy quality at low prices."

          As opposed to our current public education system with crappy quality at high and steadily increasing prices? A system that leaves the majority of Americans with no choice but to do business with the local education cartel?

          I have a hard time imagining a service like education being scalable and replicable to the degree of a McDs or Wal-Mart

          • by femtobyte (710429)

            I'm talking about the value proposition to the consumer for a particular good or service. Price AND quality.

            Yeah, I know what you're talking about. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that "marketplace" approaches are actually good at doing this. Instead, they tend towards consolidation, monopolization, advertising/branding over actual quality. You do know that the Walton heirs are some of the biggest investors behind the push for privatizing education, along with the Gates? A megacorporate monopolized approach is exactly what they're going for, and exactly what markets tend towards.

            Remember that at one point, McDonalds actually sold real food

            yet now they're bigger and

            • by moeinvt (851793)

              I'd say that the "evidence" is overwhelmingly favorable to free market solutions and generally unfavorable to big government and central planning. For-profit businesses provide millions of goods and services with high quality at affordable prices. Competition and innovation tend to drive improvements in quality and put downward pressure on prices.

              What marketplace approaches have really been attempted in education? The education cartel fights against any sort of reform that would put market pressures on e

      • Only when government gets involved in something can we observe steadily increasing costs for stagnant or declining quality of product/service.

        So you're saying that the gubmint are running Microsoft?


    • (4) Dump the teacher's union. Give teachers the authority to make the changes needed in education.

      Credit Ronald Reagan with the popularity of such schizophrenic reasoning. This one suggests we dump the teachers union and give teachers the authority to make changes. I suppose the teachers will decertify the union and then get together and form an "organization"? Or maybe you're just naive in thinking individual teachers have the power to do anything at all outside of the union agreement. Public schoo
  • Maybe I'm getting a little older, but I think a major problem that any education reform can't solve is the lack of a diverse group of jobs for people of varying abilities. Previously, high school dropouts had a hard life, but they weren't sentenced to a lifetime of poverty like they are now. The reason is that there were jobs for them, and some of these jobs actually had stability and wage progression. High school graduates could go and work in a factory, and in some cases, they would have stable income and the ability to live a middle class life. Smarter high school grads and the low-to-middle achieving college graduates had their pick of millions of corporate paper-pushing jobs. The good college grads and post-graduate degree holders had even more choices open to them.

    The current situation isn't sustainable:
    - High school dropouts have nothing to look forward to in life - they will always be either unemployed or making minimum wage in a string of temporary jobs. Low skilled jobs used to be protected by strong unions, but public opinion has soured on them.
    - Factory work is much less plentiful than it used to be. In fact, there are articles citing the lack of skills for current manufacturing jobs (which I genuinely don't understand, but apparently the only people left in a factory are CNC programmers -- does anyone know the real source of this skill shortage? Is everything done by robots now?)
    - There's less corporate paper to push and entry level positions are increasingly being outsourced or eliminated. This leaves tons of people with college degrees, high student debt and no way to pay it back. Example: I used to work in the IT department of a huge insurance company and my older colleagues told me about a time where they had many thousands of people just processing claims, keeping the books, etc. That's mostly gone now.
    - There's even pressure on professions like law and medicine -- apparently outsourcing has killed the market for a lot of legal jobs.

    The problem is, anyone who advocates having enough employment for everyone at every level is branded a socialist or Luddite. I can't see it getting better until there really is a "1%" of people who have a good life and we have a repeat of the French Revolution.

    Sure, we should fix problems with education. But we should also realize that not everyone benefits from more education and can't handle anything beyond a basic job. A janitor shouldn't make the same as a doctor or engineer, but that janitor should at least have some stability in their life. I grew up in the Rust Belt, and it wasn't uncommon for people to graduate high school, and spend the next 40 years at a steel mill or car plant. Those people weren't rich, but the stability of the work meant they could have a few nice things and be solidly middle class even without an expensive education.

    All I'm saying is that producing millions of college graduates for a class of work that doesn't fit them or doesn't exist isn't the fix. The conservative ideal of entrepreneurship for all is also silly -- millions of failed business ventures can't be supported by the economy any more than millions of unemployed employees. I say the Rust Belt model is a good one.

  • So long as it's not Bill Gates backing high tech in the classroom, entrepreneurs peddling MOOCs, or for-profit schools trying to help defund public schools, I'll be interested in watching. But I have to assume that at least one of those concepts will be highlighted simply because the TED community loves them SO MUCH!

    "Hey! Lectures in the CLOUD!" - "OMG! We found the solution!"
    "Private schools for everyone!" - "OMG! We're 2 years from Star Trek now!"
    "Every student gets a Microsoft Slate!" - "OMG! They'll never be tempted to goof off, I know it!"

    I really hope the show goes something like this:
    (1) We've continually tried to find an answer to make the education of our youth easier, cheaper, and standardized... and have failed every time.
    (2) We need more teachers. We need them to feel safe enough to commit to a life of education. We need to treat them well.
    (3) Home life matters. Where the home life is bad, we need more genuine counselors, mentors, and role models.
    (4) We need to separate research universities, general ed. colleges, and trade schools while keeping them all at the same level of importance.

    • by PvtVoid (1252388)

      Mod parent up.

      The fundamental problem is that we don't value education enough to invest in it. We are especially falling short at the beginning and the end of a child's education, i.e. early childhood, and university. The U.S. needs a massive push for universal preschool, which is highly labor-intensive and expensive, but pays tremendous social dividends. We need a similarly massive push to rejuvenate state university systems, which are rapidly becoming a semi-private system. Not everybody should go to

      • by acoustix (123925)

        The U.S. needs a massive push for universal preschool, which is highly labor-intensive and expensive, but pays tremendous social dividends.

        Don't tell me we can't afford it. This sort of investment in our national human capital will reap enormous benefits for the society and the economy.

        Citation needed.

        The state of Iowa has offered free preschool the last few years. The cost of running these preschools has more than doubled during these years. I just love that government efficiency!

        Also, I live in a blue collar town of about 26,000 with about 35-40% of the town receiving government assistance. Previous to the new state policy we had 96% of 4 year old kids attending preschool. Now with the "free" preschool option we still have 96% attending preschool.

    • Americans only value money; despite what they say. I know, I live here. Education = job = money. Most people don't care about education they care about the job it can get them. This corrupted modern value system is slowly corrupting the education system from the grassroots. Turning education into job training and where wrote learning is often good enough for most jobs... and heavy on testing / certifications which traditionally didn't mean that much but today it is thought of like some sort of quarterly

      • Forgive my mistakes, I'm in a rush and didn't proof read my rant. can't type fast enough... I did go to graduate school and I'm an educator with some training in education and learning psychology.

      • we need to rethink the old college system and not stack more on to it with out changing some stuff at the

        base level.

        IT / TECH needs to have some kind of apprenticeship system and at least some kind of tech / trades school

        / badges system that is not a fixed 4+ years plan loaded without all the filler and fluff that comes

        with the old college system.

        also the curriculum and the teachers in college can be far from real work settings with lots of theory

        that can be very top level or very low level (in places wher

  • The problem is there are too many ideas coupled with people who are incapable of implementing them. If teaching where a profitable and rewarding job there would be little problems. Class sizes need to be smaller - teachers need time to access and help kids with problems. Public schools have been saddled with the job of compensating for F'd up parents. A task which is not really education.
  • Having Bill Gates talk about education is like having Ted Bundy talk about women's rights, the prognosticators only revealing the core of their evil. Education for Bill Gates is like his company, not meant to empower creative individuals but to build monoliths of bureaucratic automatons. Curiously, the evidence to both of these malicious individuals arises from the same educational institution, the University of Washington, most notably its School of Law - where the politico Bundy was given free reign and
  • Our collective Infrastructure blind spot and a collective blind spot of the W3C Is that the HTML Scholarly Link is missing. An obvious web/learning infrastructure item is missing. Simply: A link that shows the original quoted material highlighted IN CONTEXT. Why can we not create HTML QUOTES that point to original quoted material? Books have had footnotes forever. Why not the web. Why not , goto page then search and hilight? We do this all the time by hand. This footnoting mechanism is how knowledge was

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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