Get ready for TED Talks Education, airing May 7 at 10pm

Can’t wait for this!

TED Blog

TED is coming to a TV screen near you. On Tuesday, May 7, our first-ever television special will air on PBS at 10pm. Called TED Talks Education, the special is a deep dive on ideas to make our education system stronger – with talks from teachers, learning experts, education researchers and more. The speaker roster includes: host John Legend, educator Rita F. Pierson, technologist Bill Gates, grit expert Angela Lee Duckworth, education reform advocate Geoffrey Canada, chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam, poet Malcolm London and the most-watched TED speaker ever, Sir Ken Robinson.

Set your DVR or mark your calendar now: May 7, 10pm, PBS. Above, watch a 30-second trailer for this special, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate Program.

And stay tuned for much, much more, as TED will be kicking off Education Week on our site on May 6. Bonus: the day after the…

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Three Questions I Hope Google Answers Before Google Glass Is Released

I would add “how can we use this technology to improve the health and safety of children in schools?” Imagine a whole interactive window, powered by Google, with videos, games, and information about their window to the world.


You wanted to know when you could finally lay hands on a pair of Google’s slender new cyber-glasses, and now we have…if not a precise release date, at least a more concrete timeframe: early next year, according to Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt.

Speaking to BBC News, Schmidt noted the company is now shipping pre-release versions of the glasses to developers (Schmidt added there’ll be thousands in the wild over the next few months). After developer feedback and some final tweaks, the glasses will go on sale. That’s a “year-ish” away, said Schmidt, indicating early- to mid-2014. That might seem like a while, given prior intimations from the company that we’d see these things by 2013’s close, and yet it’s hard to imagine it being enough time for the company to address some of the critical questions below.

Should Google Glass be wearable/usable while operating motorized (or…

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Children in NYC Suffer Bouts of Test Anxiety, Officials Shrug

I have been reading a lot of article recently pertaining to this exact topic. Maybe it is time for a serious discussion with our law makers!

Diane Ravitch's blog

As this article in the New York Times explains, elementary schoolchildren are frightened by the tests that start this week, based on the Common Core.

The article points out that neither the students nor the teachers are prepared. Some of the material was never taught. “But the standards are so new that many New York schools have yet to fully adopt new curriculums — including reading material, lesson plans and exercises — to match. And the textbook industry has not completely caught up either. State and city officials have urged teachers over the last year to begin working in some elements of new curriculums, and have offered lesson plans and tutorials on official Web sites. But they acknowledge that scores will most likely fall from last year’s levels.”

Merryl Tisch, who head the state Board of Regents, toured a school and heard about how upset the students.

“Believe me, I…

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Curious Pictures, Producers Of Popular Disney, Nick & PBS Children’s Television, Invests In Kids’ App Maker PlaySquare, A Startup Building “Touchable TV”

I like the idea of “touchable TV.” This could be the start of a new way for children to interact with the world around them. I dislike that there is no focus on educational intent in this article. I would have liked to see something saying “this will be good for kids because…”

It is pretty though! /facepalm

How technology can empower patients, including 4 diagnostic tools for your iPhone

“The website can connect you to physicians and specialists in your state who do appointments over secure chat, Skype or the telephone.” That’s amazing, I can sit at home in my PJs and conduct follow-up appointments? Sign me up! My only concern with the current cultural shift of receiving health care at a local pharmacy. (ex: Walgreens, CVS) is whether or not this will raise more “family” pharmacies and the ethical issues that could ensue.

TED Blog


Eric Dishman is used to thinking about how technology can transform the world of health care. As an Intel Fellow and general manager of the company’s Health Strategy & Solutions Group, his job is all about finding innovative new approaches to healthcare. [ted_talkteaser id=797] And he’s no stranger to talking about them. At TEDMED 2009, in the talk featured to the left, Dishman asked us to “Take health care off the mainframe,” boldly comparing the current American health care system to mainframe computers circa 1959.

But just two weeks ago, at TED@Intel, Dishman tells the much more personal story of his battle with kidney disease.

To say that his battle is with disease isn’t the full story. Instead, as he describes in this second talk, his fight is not only with faulty kidneys, [ted_talkteaser id=1711]but also with a flawed healthcare system.

Two decades ago, when he…

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The (brief) History of Technology in Education

I wanted to take a little time on this dreary Tuesday to write about the history and the role technology has played in education as it has advanced through the years.  I didn’t  know much about it before this post and, with just a few minutes of your time, you can easily learn about it too!

I found this excellent interactive timeline created by Brian Tate. Seriously though, this guy did an amazing job and if you didn’t just click that link while reading this, stop what you’re and check it out!

If you still cant be bothered then maybe I can interest you with another, shorter timeline. This one was produced by The New York Times and is not quite as recent.

So what was the first real “breakthrough” in technology use for education? Well, both timelines disagree on the date (either 1650s or 1700s) but both authors agree that it was the hornbook that was the first “transformer” in education. The hornbook was a wooden paddle with printed lessons and biblical verses for the children to practice writing. The hornbook was also notoriously used as a paddle for discipline. Glad we changed that! From then came the various other firsts that soon were compiled into smaller, more efficient tools; the first projector, the first blackboard, the first whiteboard, the first online school etc. Computers as we know them today did not get introduced into school systems until after the invention of the Apple II in 1972. In their timeline, the NY times says that in 1980, schools averaged one computer per 92 kids. Now, the ratio is one in four. This means the last three generations of children have never known what it’s like to go to a school without computers. Both timelines agree that the last major advance in technology use for education has been the launch of the iPad in 2010.

We have come a long way, but how far must we still go before? Soon, we will produce generations of children that have never gone to school without a personal tablet. When we get there, what will be the advantages and the disadvantages? I read a post the other day about how a teacher could teach the concept of sharing if every child is plugged into their own virtual assistant? That question left me boggled for days. I am an advocate of technology in the classroom but even I couldn’t figure out how a teacher could supplement the social interaction when there is a monitor in their face constantly. Maybe that is where our next technological breakthrough needs to happen.

Learning to Use Your Words

When I hear the term “use your words,” I immediately get flashbacks from working my first job out of college. I was the lead teacher in a private daycare. I started in a classroom of six freshly turned two year olds. I loved every moment of working with those terrible twos because I am particularly good at establishing boundaries, which is what toddlers crave. After a few months of getting myself established, management decided that I needed more of a challenge and switched me into a classroom with ten 3.5 – 4 year olds. If you have ever paid any attention to the sudden burst of language that happens between these ages, then you are missing out on a neurological wonder. In my classroom of toddlers, there wasn’t much back-sass because most of them were still only babbling. However, my older three year old classroom could not only back-sass, but they were also learning to form “cliques” and gang up on each other. This is where the phrase “use your words” conjures up memories.

For all my preparation, patience, and prowess, I went into the daycare everyday and faced what was sure to be a day of boogers, tears, and fights. Obviously, language bursts in the first few years of life but it takes almost a life time to learn how to use it correctly. This can mean in very basic forms such as students gaining the ability to ask the teacher for juice when they’re thirsty or it can be more complex like learning to talk through an argument with a friend. Another important aspect to learn is learning when not to use your words as well. A three year old can be stubborn but at this age he/she is also learning about empathy and compassion. Sometimes it’s hard not to tell someone when their hair looks stupid, or they’re being poopy-heads. So how do you explain these concepts to children when all they want to do is say every word that comes to mind all the time? Learning to talk is amazing to see in children, and to see what they do with the skills once acquired it something to be proud of. You had a hand in teaching them to use their words. Combined with the gift of language learning itself, sometimes knowing when to use your words is equally as important as knowing how to use them.

How do you define communication?

I am no gambler but I’d bet that this is a question that you’ve never thought to ask yourself.


Double or nothing? I’d bet it is more difficult for you to answer than you’d might expect. Don’t worry, you’re not being graded, and like most things in life, the answer actually varies. So let’s start with the basics….

What do you think communication means? Hearing the word gives me a mental image of a group of friends enclosed in a small room with the buzzing noise of several conversations taking place all at the same time. According to The Oxford Dictionary, the literal definition of the word ‘communication’ is the exchanging of information and/or news. The word “communication” derives from the Latin verbcommunicare‘ meaning to share. Share how? Here is where it gets a little tricky because communication may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms (meaning it may or may not involve a language) and can be executed through various modes.

If you think of the word itself as a tree, the first few branches would be verbal communication and nonverbal communication. In his book, Body Language: 7 Easy Lessons to Master the Silent Language, James Borg reports that human communication consists of 93 percent body language and cues and only 7 percent verbal. [1] I find this particularly amazing. We receive more information during a conversation through what a person is doing rather than through what the person is actually saying. If you’re one of the people that believe talk is cheap, well, it just got cheaper.

Nonverbal communication covers combinations of body language and para-linguistic cues. Para-linguistic cues are a fancy way of referring to gasps and sighs. Other examples of nonverbal communication can include first impressions, posture, movement and body positioning, clothing, gestures, and proximity. By themselves, these individual factors seem insignificant. However, in the combinations of these factors, we interpret information that may intentionally or unintentionally be given. Verbal communication may by influenced by spoken word, or by a person’s individual tone, pitch, and other acoustic properties.

Communication is a complex process that can take hours or mere seconds, and can have a profound impact on someone, or not. Communication can also have meaning and content, or not. How are you ever supposed to truly know what is or is not communication? Well, that all can depend on who you talk to.