What If Classes were Structured like TED Talks?

Ready? Set?

TED Talks are popular.  Part of the reason is that they are short which causes the presenter to construct a talk that gets to the point immediately and stays with it. The best TED Talks contain abundant potent, quotable/memorable moments even though most last only 18 minutes or so (many excellent talks are even shorter).  When one decides to watch a TED Talk a decision has been made that the topic is worthy and the second consideration is that there is enough time to view the talk-that watching the talk will have some redeeming value to the watcher.

Contrary to the notion in education circles that more time needs to be added to schools/classes, I'm not convinced.  I wonder if class time was actually shortened, if there would be a rise in engagement and productive, in-the-moment learning. And less clock watching. Imagine this: What if classes were structured like TED Talks? What if Teacher's taught TED-Talk -style.  Imagine, too, if students, to demonstrate learning of topics also would be expected to deliver Talks. Educational Research has found a correlation between student engagement/success and teacher intensity. Also largely accepted as integral to student learning is a sense of student accountability.

To work, classrooms, would literally need to be transformed to 'feel' like TED Talk stages.  The feeling of real-life, immediacy would need to be constructed making use of the appropriate props. All classes should/would be recorded and uploaded to the class blog/website for (re)viewing.

  • What if a syllabus was handed out on day one and students were given the task of choosing a topic from it to present about? 
  • What if students could request (from the syllabus) what a teacher /student would talk about each week...(given the obvious limitations of scope and sequence/content standards). 
  • What if students engaged in projects that led to products that demonstrated learning/mastery of material and then their Talk was about the process of learning/creating?
  • What if students became producers of the Classroom Talks and learned about audio/video production in the process?

If not every class, perhaps a few? One per week?

What if....? Ideas? Comments?

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