Notes from TEDx London 17 Sep 2011: The Education Revolution

[I will be attempting to live blog notes throughout the day]

MC – My own questions and comments preceded by “MC”

Link to the event website with more details on the programme, speakers, etc.:

14:45 Session 1 – Hosted by Marcus Davey

What’s wrong?

A video introduction from Sir Ken Robinson

Direction for conversations:

Roundhouse cultural and political history

Why need a revolution?

Misused by politicians but need to get back to basics – politicians often talk about what their school experience was

Economic – education has powerful roles in growth and sustainability – but economies have changed

Cultural – students need to understand their own culture and identity but also to understand others

Personal – about people – lots of people dropping out of education – governments attempts to control education impede the addressing of the personal

All need for theatre is an actor in a space and an audience – parallel for education is what is needed is the relationship between the teachers and the learners

Core principles:

Education has to be personalised

Education has to be customised to the student’s context

Diversity – the drive to standardisation offends the principle of diversity – human life is inherently diverse and we need to celebrate that in education

Education needs to be a partnership with societies institutions

No more important conversation than how we transform education for the 21 century!

What’s happening?

Adam Roberts – Campaigner

Youth campaigner

The importance of questioning – of being critical

Young children are natural critical thinkers

Teenager – asking why am I learning this – often dismissed

Education revolution needs to come about throughout the way we assess children

Goal of education is independence

We don’t need more knowledge but more critical thinking

Questions are important

Tolerate a child’s willingness to think critically and engage them!

Georgia Allis Mills – School Student

I learn’t most this morning and haven’t been anywhere near school!

Education is a very loaded word.

Is learning waste of time – why are we learning things we don’t need to know in late life e.g.

Simultaneous equations

MC – some need to know those – I have used them – how do we best decide “what young people need to know”?

Goldie (video) – Artist, DJ and Actor

The education system is very old fashioned

“What I learnt in education was punctuality”

I learnt from good mentors in the real world – completely different from the way learning is organised in school

I am still learning every day

I knew what I wanted to see but did not know how to get there – that is what we need to give to kids

Carmel McConnell – Social Activist

Magic Breakfast – fuel for learning

Educational value:

In UK 1,000s of children can not access their education because they are hungry

1 in 4 children – only hot food they get is food they get at school

Magic breakfast improves attainment, punctuality, …

Dan Roberts – Teacher

Self confessed geek

Example from his own Maths lessons –

Exercise by exercise from books

Copying off board

Example of upside down calculator entries to spell funny or rude words – creative but not approved of by teachers

Technology can engage – can make life long learners – if users properly!

(Stories not noted)

The egg cam – free range chickens

Teleconferencing to Indonesia rebroadcast to their national TV – mass audience inspired kids Enable – web app

What will maths lesson be in 2021?

Allowing students to use technology in amazing ways but some schools tend to ban and block!


The Baker Brothers – Musicians

16:50 Session 2 – hosted by Adjoa Andoh

“Education dislocating people from their natural talent” – Ken Robinson

What’s right?

Nick Stanhope – CEO

Every spot on the planet has a vast extent of history behind it!

Can be represented as points on a map but need a 4th dimension

Overlaying old photos onto their modern equivalent

How scale up?

Dynamic mapping tools

Historic pictures onto street view

Moving comparative mapping

Making history an immersive experience

The important roles that schools play in capturing this history

Value on both sides – kids and older propel with their memories

Invitation to all schools batting involved!

Max Whitby – Filmmaker & Scientist

Theme of talk – floating

Apps for Touch Press

Very good demo floating a foil boat on dense gas but didn’t say what it was MC – frustrating to me!

Evan Grant – Creative Technologist
Arts and technology collective Seeper

Explored use of motion sensing technology firs typed to give access to music with kids with autism – created a sensory school. Immersive interactive technologies!


Geoff Stead – Education Technologist

Sophie Bosworth – Student

Alternative paths to University

The ideas foundation

Education that prepares for after education:


Vocational education viewed as second class

Too many students not able to distinguish themselves after university to show what they are offering the word of work

Creativity is a cycle … Peddle it!

Professor Ken Spours – Professor of Education

Education is arguable the most important thing societies do!

Education is too important! …

To be treated as a political football

Complete absence of policy memory – no willingness to learn from the past.

A real revolution in the English system will mean agreement and acting in a different way


We should start by agreeing about out values

Everybody counts everybody can think and do

A law of care


Leave the world of “verses” and move to the world of “and”

We need to think ecologically about food

C.f Bruce from Finding Nemo

We need a Hypocratic oath for education:

The micro educational level of the learner

A dedication to the area

Politicians offer real leadership by giving power away!

Warning: if we do not take this line we will not see the good ideas we have seen today permeate our schools!


Tim Exile – Musicial, Performer and Developer

19:00 Session 3 – hosted by Steve Munday

Head teacher – how many messages you get telling you what to do!

Technology future can scare people in schools – but it must be embraced

What’s next?

Scott Snibbe – Artist, Filmmaker & Researcher

iPad Apps:

Bubble Harp

Use patters of nature to model something new – what maths was invented for

Work with Bork

(Too visual a presentation to note)

Ewan McIntosh – Entrepreneur

“What did you make at school today?”

Problem based learning – what we need is problem finders

Divergent thinking is where the future lies – need a bit of convergent thinking at the end to pull things together

Pledge – wants to engage 10,000 learners in problem finding curriculum

Emily Cummins – Inventor

Grandad taught to to design and work with wood while primary aged

This country would still be using the abacus if children had not taught their parents

Designed a toothpaste dispenser for other grandad – entered for technology competition

Invented a fridge for developing countries – open sourced it!

Why are we not using young people’s imagination and then trusting them?

Dougald Hine – Writer and Creator
A new kind of university

Life shaped by a university in exile who escaped higher ED because of where it was going

University promise:

Places dedicated to knowledge

We underestimate how little people change from century to century


The university of openness

Pick me up

The school of everything

Learning is not a commodity to be exchanged

Talking about first life not second life

The temporary school of thought

Let’s recycle Woolworths


A DIY spirit and a culture of reflection

John Geraci quote

The Edgeless University – Demos

Hub Westminster

“I want to start a University”

Happening in many places

14-16Oct 2011 universities Past and Present (check out)

Jude Kelly OBE – Artistic Director

What does the future hold?

A review of inspirational women in the arts

Motivated by a burning sense of injustice
Telling of a personal journey

Thinking of changing tack – can only dream for yourself – so what can Southbank Centre do?

“The propaganda of the imagination”

I could be as daring and as bold as my predecessors

Events to date essentially for adults – need to turn this on it’s head

Taxes are there to create a bounty for the future of civilisation

A Call To Action – video message from Sir Ken Robinson

Drivers of change:

Population growth


Rate of change will accelerate

Civilisation is a race between education and catastrophe

We don’t have to reinvent everything – many similar attempts in the past

E.g. Montessori, Piaget … … ….

Personalise curriculum

Intensive relationship between teachers and learners

The principles of all good education not just alternative education

Technologies have their role but are not the whole answer

He pledges his work and his support!

21:35 Event ends

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