I was on Twitter earlier this week when the following tweet from Nick DeNardis (via Karine Joly) got my attention:

I spent the next 15 minutes watching a very compelling TEDxNYEd Talk by Will Richardson. I have watched dozens of TED Talks and while they are all great, this one is now my personal favorite. If you work in education, if you have kids, or if you are simply concerned about our future, you must watch this video:

Will had me at the first chord (literally). I loved the opening story of his daughter learning to play “Don’t Stop Believing” on the piano. That was me back in the early ’70’s when I was told I couldn’t learn how to play “Joy to the World” by an old-school piano teacher. I ultimately gave up piano lessons, I decision I regret to this day. If only I had an iPad and the Internet back then. Who knows where my musical career would have gone, especially since music was something I was very passionate about.

While some people viewing this video will focus on the question of “testing”, for me the larger picture is what matters here. Yes – our education system was built for a world that no longer exists. As one of my favorite quotes goes: “The question isn’t if there should be laptops in lecture halls, the question is if there should be lecture halls in universities.”

Memorable quotes from this talk include:

  • This is the coolest moment to be a learner. Our kids can learn whatever they want, whenever they want and this is a big shift that as educators we need to begin to understand.
  • With their phone, they will have access to 2 billion potential teachers and the sum of human knowledge in their pocket.
  • The hard truth – schools in the form that they were constructed are no longer relevant to our kids lives in terms of places to get information and knowledge.
  • Do we really want our kids being prepared for their future by a system that hasn’t fundamentally changed in 125 years?
  • It’s time to stop trying to do school better. We need to start doing them differently

I will close this post as Will closed his talk – with a quote from Eric Hoffer:

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.