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TED Education — Video Lessons For Students

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the education-by-fascinatoin dept.

Education 88

New submitter EuNao writes "TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the organization based on 'ideas worth sharing,' launched a new initiative this past week. It is called TED-Ed, and it aims to engage students with unforgettable lessons. There are many places in the world where a wonderful teacher or mentor is teaching something mind-blowing, but as it stands now not many people have access to that powerful experience. Ted-Ed aims to bring that engaging experience to everyone who has an internet connection. Here are summaries and links to the nine videos that were initially released."

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Give it up. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394691)

USA sucks. The ambition to learn STEM (another useless acronym) was lost long ago. We have one last generation of scientists; then no more..

Re:Give it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394741)

It's the difference between learning what all the memory addresses do on a Commodore 64 (POKE xxxxx, 254) and learning what the correct command in VBA is when you're working Excel.

Re:Give it up. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395001)

It's the difference between learning what all the memory addresses do on a Commodore 64 (POKE xxxxx, 254) and learning what the correct command in VBA is when you're working Excel.

Where's the difference? Both are useless artefacts of bad interfaces that clog our minds.

Re:Give it up. (3, Interesting)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396213)

No mod points at the moment, alas, or I would have awarded either "insightful" or "funny" to parent post.

It needs to be noted, though, that while learning the details of commands in archaic interfaces is a mind clogging pursuit, learning how to learn that kind of detail, when you need to do it, is a critical skill in a changing world. And then of course there is the matter of acquiring the wisdom to know when it would be a good thing to study out the language, or when it makes more sense to just script out your profound new ideas in Perl or Python and get some dull minded C or C++ code monkey to do the scuttwork.

Re:Give it up. (1)

nobodie (1555367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409427)

I learned a long time ago: there is no such thing as useless knowledge.

Re:Give it up. (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409535)

That piece of knowledge you learned so long ago: give it up, it is terribly out of date. Knowing how to take the cube root of an arbitrary number no longer has any usefulness since everybody who needs to do that has a calculator.

The world is changing. Do try to keep up with the group.

(mutters: Fortran, done that, best forgotten. Cobol, done that, best forgotten. Pascal, done that, best forgotten. awk, done that, oh the pain! Want to forget! Perl, done that, might need to do more. Python, haven't done that yet.)

America has only produced a handful of scientists. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394795)

Look, America has only ever produced a very, very small handful of scientists. The "one last generation of scientists" that you speak of is the only generation of scientists that American has produced!

Up until about 1970, essentially every significant "American" scientific discovery of accomplishment was the work of European-born and European-trained scientists and engineers. Working backward from 1970, the space program was mainly the work of Europeans. The atomic age was brought about by Europeans. Much of the digital age, including critical work involving the creation of transistors and semiconductors, was the work of Europeans. Most automotive and aviation technology was pioneered by Europeans. The techniques for building modern urban infrastructure were the work of Europeans. Railways and locomotives were invented by Europeans. The technology of the industrial revolution was the work of Europeans.

I hope you see the trend there. Europeans are responsible for virtually all of the technology available and widely used today.

American scientists only came into their own in the late 1960s and 1970s. Americans like Dennis Ritchie and Donald Knuth, for example, did perform some groundbreaking research. But then the whole Reagan Mistake of the 1980s took place, followed by "free trade", both of which essentially trashed the American economy, and also the funding for scientific discovery and education.

These days, illiteracy runs rampant throughout many parts of the United States. Without having basic reading abilities, it's impossible to learn even the most basic mathematics, and it's impossible to make any kind of a scientific contribution. Indeed, when you hear about American-based scientists today, many of them are from Japan, South Korea, India or China. It's the same situation as it was before the 1970s, except now it's Asian-born and Asian-trained scientists making the real discoveries and performing the real science.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395191)

The atomic age was brought about by Europeans.

A more accurate statement might be "by European-born Americans". The atomic age was not brought about in Europe, but only once Europeans from several nations emigrated to the United States, where they worked in a team of diverse ethnic origins (Germans, Hungarians, Americans, Poles, etc.), something that would've been unthinkable in Europe itself.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395349)

something that would've been unthinkable in Europe itself.

The Solvay Conferences?

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395465)

The atomic age was not brought about in Europe, but only once Europeans from several nations emigrated to the United States, where they worked in a team of diverse ethnic origins (Germans, Hungarians, Americans, Poles, etc.), something that would've been unthinkable in Europe itself.

Not really. The teams working on nuclear physics were involved in a lot of international collaborations before the second world war. The team working on atom bombs in the UK included people of various nationalities. They were sent to join the Manhattan project because the British government didn't want them to be captured by the Nazis in the event of an invasion.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (2)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395935)

The key point is those scientists and engineers were not raised and trained by American society. The cold war drove the education of the handful of born-and-raised American scientists. The cold war is over.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396745)

The key point is those scientists and engineers were not raised and trained by American society. The cold war drove the education of the handful of born-and-raised American scientists. The cold war is over.

That's why we're starting a new Cold War with China!

War is Peace!

Ignorance is Strength.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397973)

The key point is those scientists and engineers were not raised and trained by American society.

That statement is probably true for a signifigant percentage of American workers prior to about 1970. The US has always had an advantage in being able to attract immigrant labour, gaining a productive populace without having to bear the cost of raising and educating them. It's one of the things that made US such a competitive country.

However the flip side of this was that the American education and training sector was smaller than might be expected. This problem was slowly resolved during the 20th century, particularly during the 1950s with the GI programs and the Cold War as you mention.

The trouble is that the education and training sectors promoted during that time had a heavy STEM bent, and our society no longer values those professions. More significantly, due to this bent, other more traditional elements of the university such as the humanities were set aside and I would argue have not been picked up since.

The net effect of this is that the best schools in the US spend their time churning out narrowly educated scientists, technicians, technocrats and business students who ultimately have no idea how society should be run or what their place is in it beyond the specific narrow role in front of their noses. Worse, there are no longer productive industrial jobs for these people to be employed in and they have increasingly transferred their talents into ultimately destabilising professions such as the techno-financial sector, quantization-analysis services, modern-media relations, and the MBA industry.

Universities are effectively educating generations of idle hands with no civic sense or purpose. The result is essentially the rampant mischief we see all around us and ultimately the disintegration of rational, humane, civic society.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396871)

This overlooks a dramatic change in US higher education from 1900 to today. Math PhDs were not granted in the US until a little before 1900. This means that any professor with a PhD would be an import from Europe. Today, we still import a large number of PhDs, but we also educate an awful lot of PhD students from elsewhere. I imagine that the history in the sciences is somewhat similar. It says little that the US did not contribute to the intellectual world during our agrarian era. I would also tend to give more emphasis to the American rather than European-born descriptions of many immigrant scientists as the scientific climate here deserves as much credit as the environment of their birth. This is debatable with the WWII and post-war era due to fleeing the Nazis and taking Nazi scientists as spoils of war, but I think this is largely reflective of the US having one of the world's best systems of higher education while lacking an overly distinguished system of primary education.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395485)

I wish my pen had as much ink as yours, then I'd tell you how cute your little attempt to rewrite history is. If you don't think very much of American scientists err engineers then get off our goddamned communications medium.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39400753)

You are a bigoted sack of shit. Regardless of who did what science, you bring nothing into this world other than disparegement and hate. You a complete sum.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

terremoto (679350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39400911)

Up until about 1970, essentially every significant "American" scientific discovery of accomplishment was the work of European-born and European-trained scientists and engineers.

So Illinois [wikipedia.org] and South Dakota [wikipedia.org] are European states then?

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

luk3Z (1009143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39404439)

Most original Americans are descendants of refugees from Europe, so in most cases they're not so smart today IMHO.

Re:America has only produced a handful of scientis (1)

olau (314197) | more than 2 years ago | (#39404465)

As much as I enjoy America bashing, I think you're underestimating the illiteracy in other societies. Granted, the bible extremist may be fewer and less dominant, but America doesn't have a patent on stupidity. A couple of weeks ago I heard a Danish priest call the evolution theory "just a theory". What's important is arriving at a culture that doesn't idolize rampant lack of knowledge.

Re:Give it up. (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394829)

USA sucks. The ambition to learn STEM (another useless acronym) was lost long ago. We have one last generation of scientists; then no more..

Clearly you're overlooking the fact that over 90% of students who are taught the STEM curriculum have learned to spell 'stem' correctly. We'll take our successes where we can find them, TYVM.

Re:Give it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395741)

Oh bull. US students regularly perform at-or-above average for European students in math.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009001.pdf [ed.gov]

PDF warning, actual data warning, etc.

Re:Give it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395913)

TIMSS is both math and science, and our kids generally trounce European students. Asian countries, on the other hand, rule the roost every time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/world/americas/15iht-14students.8345918.html [nytimes.com]

Re:Give it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396077)

Egypt, Chile and Saudi Arabia are European countries?

American students lagged far behind those nations, but earned scores that were comparable to peers in European nations like Slovakia and Estonia, and were well above countries like Egypt, Chile and Saudi Arabia.

It has been tried and it has failed horribly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394753)

This is been tried in many countries and has failed miserabley. TV should be used in the classrom on fridays when the students are too busy thinking about what they are going to do on the weekend.

Re:It has been tried and it has failed horribly (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394781)

You had better not be saying bad things about Mathnet. [youtube.com]

3 edu-sites already. (5, Interesting)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394765)

Three education related sites released this year:

  1. Sebastian Thrun's udacity.com [slashdot.org]
  2. A combination of univ initiatives @ coursera.org [slashdot.org]
  3. Ted ed [slashdot.org]

In addition to the programming initiatives at Khan academy and MIT OCW [mit.edu] that existed already.
We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects) Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394779)

Why do people even bother with college right now?

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394809)

to drink natty light out of red cups

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394987)

Best place to get pussy, hands down.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39403165)

Best place to get pussy, hands down.

I should imagine the only hands down you did at college was in your own underpants.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (3, Informative)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395681)

Because most jobs in America want a degree as an entrance. Even a AA or AS will get you in the door. It's a way of screening out the 'riffraff'.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394803)

MIT OCW material is of varying completeness for each subject.

HR people will demand Bsc, no matter what. Also parents will keep pushing their children to college / student loan. (You can't just sit all day before your computer, blah, blah, blah.)

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394871)

One of the guy I meant to mention above, went out from high school, learning packaging, worked as an apprentice (ie no college), and then got into a very senior position in a security firm (all the details hidden because it's not relevant). And he is barely elder to me.
You don't have to be in front of the computer at your place. You could rather go out and work in a company, getting flamed by your colleagues. Honestly, I found the communication to be better when the person physically sits with you discussing your problem than getting it solved over IRC. But that could be just me, and my poor communication skills.

And yes. Agree with the MIT OCW thing.
Walter Lewis' lectures are probably the most complete lecture series in the entire course. I am forever indebted to him for me clearing my mech class (compulsory subject that I did not want to take)
My friend asked me to get her a course worth reading from literature and philosophy, and it barely had anything there.

college discrimination aginst peopel with disabili (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395053)

I think that the Traditional College system is not the best fit for lot’s of jobs and there are better ways to learn and to show that you have skills.

Harvard Study: Too Much Emphasis On College Education?
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0202/Does-everyone-need-a-college-degree-Maybe-not-says-Harvard-study [csmonitor.com] [csmonitor.com] [CC] [MD] [GC]

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/02/harvard-study-hey-maybe-were-placing-too-much-emphasis-on-a-college-education/ [hotair.com] [hotair.com] [CC] [MD] [GC]
“It would be fine if we had an alternative system [for students who don’t get college degrees], but we’re virtually unique among industrialized countries in terms of not having another system and relying so heavily on higher education,” says Robert Schwartz, who heads the Pathways to Prosperity project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Emphasizing college as the only path may actually cause some students – who are bored in class but could enjoy learning that’s more entwined with the workplace – to drop out, he adds. “If the image [of college] is more years of just sitting in classrooms, that’s not very persuasive.”
The United States can learn from other countries, particularly in northern Europe, Professor Schwartz says. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, for instance, between 40 and 70 percent of high-schoolers opt for programs that combine classroom and workplace learning, many of them involving apprenticeships. These pathways result in a “qualification” that has real currency in the labor market”

“It would be fine if we had an alternative system [for students who don’t get college degrees], but we’re virtually unique among industrialized countries in terms of not having another system and relying so heavily on higher education,” says Robert Schwartz, who heads the Pathways to Prosperity project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Emphasizing college as the only path may actually cause some students – who are bored in class but could enjoy learning that’s more entwined with the workplace – to drop out, he adds. “If the image [of college] is more years of just sitting in classrooms, that’s not very persuasive.”
The United States can learn from other countries, particularly in northern Europe, Professor Schwartz says. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, for instance, between 40 and 70 percent of high-schoolers opt for programs that combine classroom and workplace learning, many of them involving apprenticeships. These pathways result in a “qualification” that has real currency in the labor market”

http://ketchumgroup.net/blog/skills-needed-skills-defined/ [ketchumgroup.net]
“This determination could have long-range impact in the use of diplomas as blanket screening tools. Unlike industry-based certification, diplomas and degrees from schools seldom define demonstrated and assessed skills. This EEOC guidance could speed the adoption of skill-based, industry driven, skill certification. Currently, the US Department of Labor lists over 4,400 industry-based certifications on the Certification Finder at the CareerOneStop.com website. These certifications will rise in importance to employers while education-based credentials may fade. Effective skill development on the job requires a structured approach based on the defined skills used in the workplace. In such a structured OJT workplace, meeting this EEOC guidance will be readily accomplished, and new employees quickly trained in the need skills.”

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395059)

went out from high school, learning packaging, worked as an apprentice (ie no college), and then got into a very senior position in a security firm (all the details hidden because it's not relevant).

I can imagine the details... I guess he's a real fighter, huh?

Re:3 edu-sites already. (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394811)

I think it depends a lot on the area. We're closer to replacing programming classes with online courses than we are to replacing, say, civil-engineering degrees; at least for the near-term future, nobody is going to license you to work on a bridge if you don't have a college degree, no matter how many online videos you've watched. Part of the reason imo is that it's easier to demonstrate competence in programming, e.g. by having a "Github resume" of non-trivial projects you've worked on in your spare time.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394875)

We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects) Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

People will go to college because for the next generation or two because the majority of them will be interview and/or hired by people who went to college. Many college graduates feel there was value to their college experience, even beyond the education they received, and they will favor others who might have had that experience.

For many, their college or university affiliation is like belonging to a special club. Even more so if they belonged to a fraternity or sorority. It will take time for that to wane.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396533)

College is not just about job training, it is learning to think more broadly, becoming a responsible adult, etc. In high school, you get a little sense of history from dates and places, but the grand narrative and the lingering long term effects are not really emphasized whereas in college you get a better sense that one ware grew out of the lingering distrust/resentment of the last. Similarly, a lot of mathematics in (average track) high school is "here's a technique, practice it 20-30 times and show that you can effectively use this technique" while leaving Calculus as a height to aspire to and making no mention of what lies beyond. In college, starting with calculus, you begin to get more of here are a collection of techniques, how can they be combined to solve problems and/or what new techniques/properties can be derived from these? You also see the more tree-like structure rather than the linear structure of concepts seen in primary school. Virtual group work is generally not as effective as in person group work, which is the norm in a job setting, which is a weakness to the online learning setting. Transitioning from living with your parents directly into the real world is more jarring than the gradual progression from dorm to campus/off-campus apartment to real world apartment.

The online learning setting does have one huge edge from what I can see - the ability to more easily allow self-paced learning. Most courses are offered at one pace or perhaps two if there is an honors version. For many of my weaker calculus students, spreading out the standard 3 semester sequence over 4 semesters or extending the semesters into the summer would allow them to learn better. A 20 week slower paced course would be better than taking a 14 week course twice to really learn it for instance. This self pacing could be a vast improvement in learning (though there is a risk of students to letting classes drag out if it lacks firm deadlines). One issue that still requires work to catch back up to traditional instruction is assessment - I like that online homework enables immediate feedback on answers, but at the cost of receiving feedback on technique - it is easy to get sloppy with parentheses on early homework and such habits catch up to you later on. Similarly, long response answers are more difficult to use in these settings. With things like Wolfram Alpha or IBM's Watson, there is hope that in the future we may be able to have computers actually understand written passages enough to provide feedback though.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

olau (314197) | more than 2 years ago | (#39404491)

For many, their college or university affiliation is like belonging to a special club. Even more so if they belonged to a fraternity or sorority. It will take time for that to wane.

And it is, in some sense. If you're paying attention, college installs a certain, shall we say academic, culture in people where you learn to question beliefs and work hard for the sake of knowledge.

Well, that's what it's supposed to do, at least.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394895)

I find Ted talks a very frustrating experience. So many of them are just psuedo-intellectual waffle - with some gems buried in there. I watch quite a few... and I can pretty much sum up how interesting the talk will be in the first few seconds.

Young woman speaker = 99% chance of being shit.
Young man speaker = 30% chance of being shit.

Middle aged woman= 70% chance of being shit
Middle aged man=20% chance of being shit.

Elderly woman=50% chance of being shit
Elderly man="10% chance of being shit"

First words "I'm a storyteller"=shit.
Anything art related=shit.
Ecological speech=shit
Anyone media trained=75% chance of being shit

The only "reliably good" Ted talks come from middle aged/elderly professor types with no media training talking knowledgably about their geeky subject.

Is this anyone else's experience of TED?

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394961)

i'd tweak the numbers and be a little less closed-minded about some subjects (myself coming from media and art, though mostly doing programming and geek stuff), but that does pretty much sum it up for me as well..

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395231)

Not sure why this was modded flamebait, that's been my experience too. Except I'd say Young Man Speaker = 70% chance Liberal political spiel. TED handing Bill Clinton a $100k "prize" for speaking at the event should tell you something.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395671)

Why? He pointed out that the emperor was buck naked.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396329)

Should Bill Clinton be lecturing on the state of undress of world leaders?

You, Sir, Are Unfairly Modded As Flamebait (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395319)

Your analysis of the TED talks by age and gender may be a bit whimsical, but you're in essence dead on.

The smug and tedious pretentiousness of the majority of TED presentations has been one of those Geek Truths That Dare Not Speak It's Name for years now. It's about two, maybe three years away from complete Burning Man Status (i.e., everyone knows it's time has come and gone, but there's still plenty of money to be made from the n00bs, so hush up...)

Re:You, Sir, Are Unfairly Modded As Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464359)

This seems like a bad time to tell you about "its" vs. "it's", so I won't.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

tkprit (8581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39399397)

Absolutely. Shit infomercials for the most part.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394899)

Many fields require dealing with hardware you don't have access to unless you go to college. Also, the ability to learn from smart people is a huge untapped potential, once online learning becomes mainstream universities will realise that they have to offer more than just giving students books /notes to memorise.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (5, Insightful)

giltwist (1313107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394909)

Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

Simply put, passively watching a video is better than nothing and even better than tuning out in the middle of class. However, there is simply no replacement for hands-on experience. That's why you see all those cutting edge new charter schools that are opening up moving away from textbook-based learning to project-based learning. As a math teacher, I am 100% behind sites like this providing opportunities for people to engage in life-long learning. That being said, I simply don't believe you can become an expert anything simply by watching. The cognitive psychology research says you need something like 10,000 hours of practice to develop the automaticity of an expert. That is to say, do you want the surgeon who has to check the anatomy book before he cuts into you or the surgeon who practiced on cadavers so much he can find the place to cut with his eyes closed? THAT, my friend, is what the value of college is. The other key feature of college is that gives you a chance to see where the holes are in understanding/technology/methodology. Universities, especially at the graduate level, are really about preparing people to engage in innovation. Do some people have good ideas without college? Surely. Are even half of those ideas feasible or attainable without some serious training? I doubt it.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395061)

I watched two of the videos, the one on containerization and the one on simple words being more effective than polysyllabic verbalization. They were both nice, but easily misused in a classroom setting. They're over almost as soon as they begin, and they move very quickly. I think they could be used near the end of a lesson, to drive a point home after a teacher did all the groundwork the old-fashioned way; but if you tried to introduce a lesson with one, or, heaven forbid, thought one of these videos could be used in place of a teacher's exposition, it wouldn't work. The video would be over before the students even settled down. That's the problem with new technology and methods. Yes, they're wonderful. But they're not magical. In theory they should work great, but that's because the setting in which they're initially evaluated is nothing like the setting in which they'll be used. And, sadly, not every teacher—or administrator—is smart enough to realized this.

I like these videos, and they have their place. But how they ought to be used in the field is something that requires a bit of thought and experimentation.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396063)

The video would be over before the students even settled down...

It a video, its free, its never over. Just play it again. Not in class room time. Face to face teaching can focus on what ever its better at. A lot of the class time seems to be focused on not leaving anyone behind while keeping everyone back. A good resource of material the use of which is driven by interest rather than exam preparation can only be good. Many people just don't 'get it' in class and would have been better of running around in the sun for most of their childhood for all the good the classroom did them. The availability of resources for autodidactic study should be a societal priority.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395121)

If you think that online learning is "simply watching" you should really have a look at the new classes on Coursera and Udacity. They have lots of what you call "serious training". Even if the programming assignments aren't hand-graded, the very active community more than makes up for that. You can discuss all your questions in a way that's not possible on campus.

anatomy book

A large part of anatomy is memorization. When you cut up a cadaver you want to know beforehand what everything you're going to see is called and does, otherwise you'll just see a mass of flesh and bones. For memorization, interactive online learning with immediate feedback works better than books. An anatomy class [anatomy-class.org] is planned for this spring at Coursera. I think this is exactly what online learning is good at. Of course not the cutting part.

Also the staff spends a lot of time reading suggestions and bug reports and constantly improving the courses. You can't say that of most campus classes or textbooks. In a printed book, an error isn't fixed immediately. You're lucky if it's fixed in the next edition or in some online errata list that nobody reads.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

giltwist (1313107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395199)

If you think that online learning is "simply watching" you should really have a look at the new classes on Coursera and Udacity.

While I concur that some of these do have interactive elements, many of them are of them are of the watch-this-video variety. The TED-Ed stuff which started this thread is a great example.

Of course not the cutting part.

Thank you for making my point for me. Surgeons get paid for the cutting part, not the memorization part. Likewise, mathematicians get paid for designing new applications for mathematics, not just applying pre-existing formulas. Moreover, while the online courses you mention and similar ones for mathematics (like ALEKS) can be VERY good for memorization...IF AND ONLY IF you are a motivated learner to begin with. Only a real live teacher has ANY chance of changing the mind of a student who has a "When am I ever going to need to know this" mentality.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395555)

The cognitive psychology research says you need something like 10,000 hours of practice to develop the automaticity of an expert.

I'd love to know what that research is based on and how they defined 'expert'. 10,000 hours at 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with two weeks off for holidays and sick days comes out to 6 1/4 years.

Mind you, that leaves no time for doing anything else that might be job related. No reading, no classroom instruction, no meetings, no writing, etc. Yet people become competent in a wide variety of skills in much shorter time frames and can be certified as masters in many fields in roughly 4-6 years.

For example, a good friend of mine was certified as a diesel mechanic for heavy construction equipment in 2 years. He picked up a master's certificate in another couple of years.

When I was in the Navy, I became a pretty good electronic tech after about the same 2 year period, and was running my own shop after 3 more. In my case, I can guarantee I wasn't spending 8 hours a day doing nothing but electronic maintenance. On a good day, I'd average 6-7. On a low day, figure 2. (On bad days, more like 14, but those were special circumstances as nobody can troubleshoot well when they're exhausted.)

So, setting a bar of 10,000 hours as the necessary hands on goal is way too high. Maybe a better question to ask is, what's needed to become competent? Any idea?

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2)

giltwist (1313107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396177)

So, setting a bar of 10,000 hours as the necessary hands on goal is way too high. Maybe a better question to ask is, what's needed to become competent? Any idea?

You have hit the million dollar question in education, my friend. I suspect its a question that doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer. Sadly, educational policy has long operated under the same-training-same-results mentality which is diametrically opposed to the differentiated instruction models that have slowly crossed into mainstream education from special education research. However, I agree that 10,000 hours from a college is unfeasible, even undesirable. In fact, I really don't think a degree makes you an expert. That being said, I think you have to admit that, in general, an hour under mentorship/teaching gets you more bang for your buck than trying to figure it out all by yourself. Granted, I'm assuming GOOD mentorship/teaching, which is a WHOLE other conversation.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39400781)

For example, a good friend of mine was certified as a diesel mechanic for heavy construction equipment in 2 years. He picked up a master's certificate in another couple of years.

How many years would it have taken him to get certified to design the next generation of high-efficiency diesel engines?

When I was in the Navy, I became a pretty good electronic tech after about the same 2 year period, and was running my own shop after 3 more.

Tell you what, spend a couple of decades being treated by physicians that have had only 2-3 years of practice tell me if you feel the same way.

Post-secondary education isn't needed for everyone; I'll be the first to say that. However, those who dismiss the value of a degree really fail to understand where it would put them.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397779)

The other key feature of college is that gives you a chance to see where the holes are in understanding/technology/methodology.

Or alternatively what ties things together. Where I did my Ph.D. comps we were simply given a list of about 50 books, told we were responsible for knowing the contents, and then given a year to accomplish that on our own. There were no course requirements although I suppose if you were weak in an area then you could take a course to help with that.

Other aspects of the testing were that the tests were supposedly breadth tests not depth tests, done in 5 half day tests in 5 sub-disciplines. You would not be told your mark (you could not challenge the results) - just that you had passed or that you had failed and had to leave.

I'm pretty sure it would have been illegal to subject employees to this kind of process but the standard answer to questioning the process was basically "well I had to do it."

Now the assertion that these were breadth tests was utter BS once you looked at tests from previous years. It was a gate keeping exercise where they could make up the rules in closed meetings.

But the one benefit to it all was that for however long the knowledge stuck in your head you could see the connections between all the sub-fields, how they related, how their problems were all aspects of deeper problems etc. It was worth it for those insights and I don't see any other way to have gotten them.

A few years later they dropped that process which was a mistake imho - hey, I had to do it! ;)

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39401023)

There IS hands-on experience now. All of these classes have programming assignments, and quite a few of those assignments are not trivial by any means.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

usb47 (201858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396197)

TedEd, Khan, et alis are not enough.

http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com] (current post)
http://www.techsavvyed.net/archives/1866 [techsavvyed.net] (refers to older posts of Frank)

Here's why Khan other video lessons may *worsen* the problems:
http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/khan-academy-and-the-effectiveness-of-science-videos/ [wordpress.com]
http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/pdfs/research/super/PhD(Muller).pdf [usyd.edu.au]

Re:3 edu-sites already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397033)

Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

Beer, parties, and coeds, what else?

As for TED, it comes off to me more like a "Church of the Latest Sacred Meme" rather than an educational institution, virtual or otherwise.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (2)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397687)

Why would people even go to college once this becomes mainstream?

Because college/university provides you with things that others value. For instance a university degree shows that you are capable of staying in one place and working on a goal for 4 years. Similarly it shows that you are capable of delayed gratification. Your transcript shows whether you are a stable performer (most grades the same) or erratic (F's and A's).

An enormous amount of the effort in college/university is about certification not education. Remove the element of certification and university would be much cheaper to deliver.

Re:3 edu-sites already. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39403155)

We have dropouts/people who never went to college holding high positions (work with a bunch of such guys on open source projects)

That probably says more about the nature of open source than the superfluousness of college education.

the best lesson... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394767)

...is the lesson that you are naturally entitled to nothing, from property to welfare, and that most human constructs are constricting rather than liberating.

So ignore how you're told to live, and work in the way that you think seems right.

Where's the copyright for these videos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394819)

I'm not comfortable using them in lessons until I know what the copyright is on them. But I can't find that info on the Youtube page or on education.ted.com.

Not very impressive (bits or in whole) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394833)

The sketch human, whose brain's segments are re-assembled onto the sketch... sucks.
Facial expressions dim, to say the least. I wouldn't show this to kids at school.

KhanAcademy.org is still our fav, at the moment... :-)

HUGE Security Resource - version 5000 - 03/06/12 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394835)

HUGE Security Resource - version 5000 - 03/06/12
- http://pastebin.com/2VyxkWrc [pastebin.com]

Previously featured on the front page of Cryptome.org.

Academic worry (4, Interesting)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394849)

As someone who's likely to end up as a university professor of math in a decade or so, online learning like this makes me wonder about my long-term job security. Why should I get paid to put together and give a lecture on material that an excellent lecturer and support staff have already thoroughly covered online? Sure, there's more to classroom learning than mutely listening to a lecture, but is there enough to justify the extraordinarily high cost of the alternative? Will it be tempting in a few years for a budget-conscious administrator to have undergraduates watch free online lectures with grad students doing all the support work (grading, office hours, recitations, etc.)?

I take some comfort in the fact that people are willing to pay through the nose for a prestigious education and that online education is currently a second-class citizen. Academic institutions are also very slow to change as a rule. My theoretical job is probably safe, but I don't know what the long term future holds. Residential undergraduate institutions stocked with professors giving lectures may become extremely rare as high quality, highly reproducible, efficient online learning improves and perhaps becomes mainstream.

Re:Academic worry (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394901)

Hmmm.. Sounds like what happened to performers when radio and gramophone made city crooners available world-wide. Which led to super-rich performers (for the first time), which led to anti-piracy laws, trademark extensions, PirateBay torrents, and Russell Crowe and Lindsey Lohan occupying our newspaper headlines. Now I see, TED and Khan Academy must be stopped, or math-teacher paparazzi headlines and SOPA laws for homework will inevitably follow.

University is not just about the curriculum (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394927)

There have always been alternative ways to study or get good at something, next to a formal school. Home schooling is a common and not unpopular way of educating children in the USA, for instance.

The reason you go to university is because you learn to do a lot of things like team work, social skills, negotiating, working in projects, dealing with supervisors without having to wear a uniform and all that.

Every time you pass a milestone at university, people will know your skill level, even if it's not directly tailored to a "real job". There is some form of warranty in hiring someone that doesn't have a lot of on the job experience, but does have a degree with good grades at a well established institute. Those don't give out degrees to people that aren't up to the standards they advertize with and why they can and will ask more money for from their students. As long as your contribution as a teacher is valuable enough to those extra things, there will be a university wanting to pay your salary for that.

University don't test team skiils that well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395085)

Some times it's solo with no open book. and the in real work place it's open book and open team. So that is why we need more real job skills and not overloads of theory.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/022511-it-graduates.html [networkworld.com]

Re:Academic worry (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394979)

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. better get that youtube/vimeo account dusted off.

Re:Academic worry (1)

giltwist (1313107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395219)

Do yourself a huge favor. Get at least one of your degrees in math education as opposed to pure math the whole way up the ladder. If you go the pure math route, I think your fears are fairly well justified. Chalk-and-talk teaching is going the way of the dinosaurs. That's what the Khan Academy is for. Go learn some of the cutting-edge teaching techniques that are being developed and you'll have a skill set that no mere computer can replace.

Re:Academic worry (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395275)

you seem to be very young.
a university professor's job is not to teach, but to do research.
by definition, a university professor is supposed to be able to advise master students. as far as I know, a master thesis is supposed to solve a new problem, i.e. "research", even if the method used is not necessarily new. thus the university professor must be able to expand their field.
note that the title of professor is usually given to people who also advise PhD students, and for a PhD thesis it is implied that a variation of a method, or an entirely new method, is worked on (and that is "real research" by most definitions).

yes, a professor will usually teach a few courses for undergraduates, but they are also supposed to keep office hours, and that's where the internet model fails (because the person in the video can't have office hours for a few thousand people). and the grad students you speak of need an advisor as well.

Re:Academic worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396719)

It depends a bit on the academic setting - your description sounds accurate for the Tier 1 research school, but is less true of regional state schools or liberal arts institutions. In a Liberal Arts setting you are expected to do research, but the emphasis is much more on the teaching end of things. Master's only institutions fall somewhere between these extremes. Partly this is because there are less graduate students available to handle the load for 100 level classes - college algebra, calculus, etc. At a tier 1 on a 2-2 teaching load, the professor might teach one grad and one undergrad class each semester, with the undergrad class usually being 200 level or higher. At a Master's school, you are more likely looking at a 3-3 teaching load with 1 grad each semester or year and about half 100 level classes for the remainder depending on how large a pool of instructors/lecturers/adjuncts the school decides to use for that purpose. At bachelor only institutions, the 100 level load could reach 2/3 of offerings, though again it depends on whether the school makes use of instructors/lecturers to supplement professors.

Re:Academic worry (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39399457)

Yes, research often is a big part of a university professor's job, though it depends on the institution. An AC responded to your post describing some of the alternatives where more or less research takes place.

Perhaps I was unclear. My worry isn't that university professors (in math, in my case) will become useless, but that the number of jobs might decrease significantly as some of their duties are taken over by online learning, decreasing the number of professors some schools are willing to support, decreasing the available job pool before the number of people wanting those jobs decreases.

Re:Academic worry (5, Interesting)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395411)

I take some comfort in the fact that people are willing to pay through the nose for a prestigious education and that online education is currently a second-class citizen

I used to be a professor (of American Literature). I am unusual in that I have a wide background which includes mathematics, programming, and skill with computer systems/networks. I love literature, languages, poetry, art, and postmodernity. I also love computers, GREP, web development, and cosmogony (this last strictly as a spectator).

Increasingly, I found academia stultifying, especially because it meant laboring in obscurity for students who were on their way somewhere else. The best students--the graduate students I mentored in their quests to find professorships--were far and few between and headed to either to the dead-end of no-humanities-jobs or the undead-end of low pay and crippling student loans. My colleagues in the math department did not (over)produce as many Ph.D.s as we in English, but their also wallowed in the budget-cut gutter. As academics, we all were getting defunded and lines for new hires were either cancelled or endlessly deferred.

All that aside, when you find yourself saying something like your livelihood depends upon a captive audience "willing to pay through the nose" while the upstart competitor is presently perceived (and sometimes is, but not always) as a "second-class citizen" you've seriously got to wonder what your future holds.

I left academia in 2010 to become an entry-level front-end developer in the Bay Area (mostly to come back to California where I grew up. I'd had enough of living in the Midwest at an R2 university). Right off the bat I made 20% more than I did as a faculty of 7 years. My salary, my environment, my autonomy--all these things have only improved in the last two years. Every day it gets better.

I do miss some aspects of academia, the colleagues and motivated students especially. I also miss unfettered access to a research library. But I don't miss grading, overwork, low pay, and obscurity. There are also things about tech employment I dislike: petty politics, office culture (presentism), boyzone, sexism, homophobia (even in SF), and 50+ hours/week cycle of declining productivity.

Anyhow, this is a long anecdote to warn people like you that academia wears thin for many academics, but academics are so specialized they often have no choice but to stay the course they set many years ago in graduate school. Others of us who have fungible skills (technology) go elsewhere when the romanticized ideal of the university is replaced by the day-to-day of academic life. As someone who fell in love with information technology with his first Apple //e ('e' for education, remember), I saw the writing on the digital wall.

You think your job at some (more likely than not obscure) university will keep-on-keeping-on now that disruptive technology (such as Ted Education, tablet devices, and Stanford's free courses) have ruptured the pristine edifice of the ivory tower?

Think hard and think again because as sure as it will rain, academic jobs are going to be even more severely constrained.

Re:Academic worry (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396737)

Your post makes it all the more clear to me that I should have no regrets over deciding not to pursue a PhD with the aim to stay in academia, and, instead, becoming the first employee of a start-up instead. Lots of work and initial hardship, with huge risk, but never dull or rote, without the day-to-day drudgeries of academic life (incidentally, now I remember reading a comment from Larry Niven that he became a sci-fi writer instead of a researcher in a university for essentially the same reason).

"Presentism" (1)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397659)

You referred to office culture as "presentism." Would you be kind enough to elaborate? I looked it up, and I'm still not sure I know what you mean. Thanks.

Re:"Presentism" (1)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39400179)

Sure. What I meant by presentism is usually covered by the more colloquial "face time", which is the idea in corporate culture that people who are physically present in an office are productive. This can be so extreme as to discourage telecommuting even when it makes sense.

Academia generally has no such requirements. One does have committee work and office hours, but most (non-science/non-lab) work in academia is either done behind a closed door or at home. So, the freedom to work alone and/or at home may be more characteristic of the humanities and non-studio disciplines than, for example, the hard sciences and drama.

Re:Academic worry (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39400401)

Thanks for relating your experiences. There are a number of things you can do with a Ph.D. in math besides teaching, though certainly entering academia is a big piece of the job pie. I'm not sure how similar Ph.D.'s in the humanities are; you implied that it's academia or nothing. I'm very much looking forward to TAing and thesis work in grad school, to see how well I like some of the actual work that would be involved in being a professor. I imagine I will be happy with both, though I can't yet know for sure.

My undergraduate degree is also in CS, so I'd have that to fall back on at least if math doesn't work out at all. In any case, the replacement of traditional post-secondary education with new sources is certainly something I should keep my eye on in grad school. If worst comes to worst, I can build some up-to-date coding experience. I doubt it will come to that for me, but having a backup plan is a great idea.

Re:Academic worry (1)

Z1NG (953122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39396219)

Everything changes. Some changes are slower, some are almost instant. If you want to be a university professor because you want to get paid to do research, then become a great researcher and it is very likely that you will be able to find a place in academia. If you want to teach, things MIGHT be different. Ten years is a long time, but large structures like the university system can be slow to change. Even if Khan style teaching takes off, it will take a significant amount of time to get enough lectures for everything together. I am a math teacher, so I think about these kinds of things too. However, instead of thinking about how I might lose my job, I'm trying to think about how to most effectively help the largest number of students. To find a way to reach students that others can't reach. To think of a way to better engage students. To make learning math more fun, or faster or more effective. I love teaching, and I will continue to do it, though I realize the way I do it WILL change.

Evolution? Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39394923)

Why do they have a video for evolution on that site? I can't take it seriously any more.

Brain is now officially turned off. Me tink hoominz evolvd frum apez, hurpa derp...

Re:Evolution? Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39395327)

If it wasn't for evolution, you wouldn't even exist. You worthless sack of shit. I'll bet black people are smarter than you.

Seriously, I would be willing to bet $500 that there is at least one negro that is more intelligent than you.

Re:Evolution? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397243)

Neil deGrasse Tyson.. Even odds vs random poster, I'll take some action on Neil's side.

Watch Mr. Wizard (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39395007)

The videos I watched remind me of that old TV show "Watch Me Wizard". Short and focused on a single facet of one topic, the video can hold your attention for a few minutes. They would be a good supplement in a traditional educational setting, kind of like a reading assignment.

They don't seem especially revolutionary though; and keep in mind that TED talks often subtly (or not so subtly) push their organization's political agenda.

Re:Watch Mr. Wizard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39402375)

"TED's political agenda"? What's that?

Mark Honigsbaum How pandemics spread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396123)

So I have an Idea lets put the Pharamacys in the grocery store so the sick come in and get everyone else sick.
Thats the ticket.

This videos are Web 1.0, push technology (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39400659)

As a post-secondary instructor for the past 18 years and one of the first proponents of Using the Internet for Education [cadvision.com] , I can say without doubt that I have no more qualifications than anyone else to speak about this. Having said that, I think that videos like this are good for introduction or review but fail in interactivity between the learner and content. Face to face, hands-on learning is the best way to learn - period. There is an old axiom that states: sit in a large University hall lecture - remember 15% in 3 days, sit in a small class room and interact with the instructor - remember 30% in 3 days, perform a hands-on lab - remember 80% in 3 days.

The most successful courses that I've teach have a very high ratio of lab time (2/3) to theory time (1/3). One of the most enjoyable courses was a basic electricity course that I struggled with designing because of the time limit imposed - it was impossible to divide it into a traditional theory/lab split without losing significant content. The solution was to make it a 100% lab course and teach the theory on a need to know basis - Just In Time delivery of content!

Based on my experience, it always makes me wonder why we have theory classes at all. Most theory content can be easily researched by the student when directed so. I know that the real reason is an economical one and not an educational one. It is inexpensive to fill up a large lecture hall and pay for just one instructor to mindlessly lecture for a hour or more. It is expensive to pay many instructors or instructional assistants required to tutor small lab classes for hands-on learning.

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