Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on Creativity and Educational Reform from Sir Ken Robinson

When I wrote last week's post on Sir Ken Robinson's latest TED talk on why current US educational policy is doomed to failure, I was shocked to discover I hadn't included some of his earlier videos in my blog.  So, better late than never....here are two of my favorites.

If I wanted to encapsulate this thinking into one presentation, I would choose the RSA Animate video entitled Changing Educational Paradigms:

But if you would like more detail on his theories about education and creativity, which is his particular expertise, I think the best source is his first TED talk, which has been seen by over 20 million people and has been translated into 58 languages:

They are insightful, funny, but most important, important videos to watch if you are concerned about the state of education....and, really, who isn't these days?

Monday, May 20, 2013

8th Grade Science Quiz

In North Carolina, homeschoolers have to take nationally-normed standardized tests once a year.  We usually do ours in May, so we are brushing up on some of the topics right now.  In looking for some resources, I found a quiz of science topics commonly covered in 8th grade (which my son is completing).  I like these kinds of things just to help me make sure I haven't TOTALLY missed some topic that is appropriate for his age.

So here is the link, in case you and/or your children would also like to see how they fare on a "typical" 8th grade science quiz.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Latest TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson Urges Returning School Control to Local Educators

Sir Ken Robinson, the educational reformer whose talks are on the top of the TED most popular video list, has just come out with another wonderful presentation entitled "How to Escape Education's Death Valley."  In it, he explains why current educational "reforms," such as No Child Left Behind, run counter to fundamental human nature and thus are doomed to fail.  He contrasts the current American system, which is increasingly narrow, centralized, and standardized, with systems that rank at the top of international achievement, such as Finland, which are broad in scope, controlled by local educators, and individualized to particular students.  He is pithy and persuasive, and delivers his talk with his typical dry humor.  (My favorite humorous line from this talk was when, in discussing the growing diagnosis of American students with ADHD, he said "Children are not, for the most point, suffering from a psychological condition...they are suffering from childhood.")

Watch the video below to learn more about why our current educational policy ends up with the US spending immense sums of money but achieving unacceptable results in terms of drop-outs and other human factors: