5 TED talks to watch on Teachers' Day

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Teachers' Day may conjure up images of shiny red apples and themed gifts (most often constructed by overachieving mothers), but it's so much more than that. It's a chance to appreciate educators, especially those at the college and graduate level who seem so often to be forgotten when we think of learning (after all, isn't college when we learned that everything else we were ever taught was completely wrong?), We decided to celebrate by giving a shout out to the folks in higher ed with this list of insightful and inspiring TED talks.

1. Teachers need real feedback, Bill Gates

Feedback is a big part of any job, but even more so for teachers. Unfortunately, they're the least likely group to receive it--and when they do, it's not exactly helpful (most of it tends to fall into the "satisfactory" category). Bill Gates talks about why that needs to change, why teacher's deserve better and how he's working toward making it happen.

2. The future of higher education, Michele Pistone

Michele Pistone shines a glaring light on the outdated-or as she calls it, mediaeval-model on which today's universities are still based. She believes that the traditional model needs a major makeover, and that we're not far from it. Pistone points to the digital revolution as the turning point for higher education becoming a more approachable and more accessible place for everyone.

3. Designing a university for the new millennium, David Helfand

If Michele Pistone's talk wasn't already enough to convince you that the university model needs a redesign, Dr. David Helfand takes it a step further by digging deeper into some of the big issues with traditional universities.

4. 3 rules to spark learning, Ramsey Musallam

High school chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam covers three vital rules that can help educators of all grade levels make learning more exciting by becoming “surgeons of the classrooms.” He reminds us all how important it is to place students' questions above all else; a concept that seems simple enough, but isn't often practiced. In this talk, he explains how it can easily be done.

5. The 100,00-student classroom, Peter Norvig

Peter Norvig talks about what it's like teaching to a global classroom with hundreds of thousands of students. Combining both old and new teaching methods, Norvig and his co-teacher created an online course on artificial intelligence. Rather than posting hour-long lectures, the learning videos consisted of two to six minute explanations (designed to emulate one-on-one tutoring), complete with homework and due dates. By avoiding the standard here's-a-formula-now-explain-it questions, the students were challenged in more active and engaging ways.


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Stacy Warden

Stacy Warden is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog and has worked in publishing since the dawn of the iPhone. Currently, Stacy deals in tech and education--a combination that she finds absolutely fascinating. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.