These TED Talks highlight promising and inspiring concepts

TED-JulyEvery educator needs some inspiration now and then, and these days, such inspiration can be found online in just a few seconds.

The internet brings inspiring and motivational speakers and experts to anyone with a connection and an internet-ready device.

TED Talks are some of today’s most popular examples of the internet’s power to expand learning opportunities to all.

Each month, we’ll bring you a handful of inspiring TED Talks. Some will focus specifically on education; others will highlight innovative practices that have long-lasting impact. But all will inspire and motivate educators and students alike.

Did you miss our most recent TED Talks features? You can find them here:
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/04/18/ted-talks-tech-134/
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/05/27/may-ted-talks-893/
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/06/24/june-ted-talks-673/

(Next page: 5 inspiring TED Talks)

1. Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’
It’s called the “Flynn effect” — the fact that each generation scores higher on an IQ test than the generation before it. Are we actually getting smarter, or just thinking differently? In this fast-paced spin through the cognitive history of the 20th century, moral philosopher James Flynn suggests that changes in the way we think have had surprising (and not always positive) consequences.

2. Our failing schools. Enough is enough!
Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now — and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada dares the system to look at the data, think about the customers and make systematic shifts in order to help greater numbers of kids excel.

3. 3 rules to spark learning
It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.

4. Use data to build better schools
How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another — then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.

5. The magic of Fibonacci numbers
Math is logical, functional and just … awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)

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Laura Ascione
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