Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TED Talks: Ken Robinson

For direct link to video, click entry title.

This was the best video I've seen in our class thus far.
Ken Robinson is an amazing speaker.
Sir Robinson's talk delves into what he views as the critical shortcoming of every education system in the world: creativity is grossly depreciated while uniformity and correctness are overvalued. This point is brilliantly underlined when he correlates this problem to the problem of "intelligence inflation"; that degrees no longer guarantee jobs, and kids who obtain degrees end up going home to continue playing videogames. It could not be truer - there are so many stu
dents out there who graduate college with good grades, and are without a job. The combination of cut-throat academic programs now offered at every college and the tightness of the job market results in a surplus of people with the same socioeconomic backgrounds and the same knowledge. The universal, conventional form of educating people through grammar school, high school, and college has become obsolete. This method no longer automatically warrants success.
How could it be otherwise? In a system where each student it educated through the same lectures and the same exams, the outcome can be none other than the same people with varying skill levels for the same jobs. Ken Robinson notes that intelligence today is being
squandered through this dated mode of producing successful individuals. Schools need to focus on the diversity and the distinction of each and every student. If being creative were as prioritized as being literate, the world would have a sudden influx of people who are specialized in doing something both different and useful. I think one of the big points Sir Robinson was trying to make is that no one standard can exist to critique everyone. Each person needs to be diagnosed to his or her own (e.g.: Gillian Lynne).
My favorite quote from the video was, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original". The fear of making mistakes or breaking a rule has led schools to teach straight out of test books, give standardized exams, and suppress artistic and creative endeavors (this is a sweeping generalization, but bear with me for the sake of making a point). There is just entirely too much uniformity among the candidates for different jobs.
The above quote seems pertinent to what we've been stud
ying in class this semester. In regard to mashups and remixes, there's are certain lines of legality that one has to cross in order to produce something creative and original (if you consider re-writes of original pieces original). Topics we've discussed such as free culture (Matt Mason's "Pirate Dilemma") and reverse engineering are all huge benefactors in promoting creativity and originality. In a sense, copyright laws and Microsoft making XBox modding illegal can be made analogous to the education systems that Sir Robinson discusses: they all suppress our culture's ability to further our creative potential, and have become obsolete. Today, it is imperative that our generation steps up to the bar in correcting recreating and restructuring both how we receive knowledge and by what means it can be legally applied to further advance ourselves in every aspect of our lives.
I'm sorry this entry had so much cheese. Let's chalk it up to that undeniable moment of inspiration I had after watching TED Talks with Ken Robinson.

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