Building Blocks: Session 3 at TEDGlobal2012

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Click to watch the session-opening animation

It’s a truism that everything we know or think is the result of our past and our previous experiences. Yet it’s on these building blocks that we build our chances of achieving real progress and change. In this session, we wanted to introduce some of the world’s pre-eminent educators. They’re not all necessarily working in schools or with “students” as we might traditionally think of them, but each of these speakers is helping us to think in new and different ways.  

Coursera is an online education company that aims to democratize the education provided by the world’s elite universities. The company was co-founded by Stanford computer science professor (and MacArthur Genius) Daphne Koller, who is here to share more about the thinking behind her radical experiment to disrupt higher education. Here’s what she said >>

Despite his associations with high-profile universities such as NYU, Harvard and Stanford, Shimon Shocken‘s real interest lies in promoting an open-source approach to teaching computer science. He co-authored the book, The Elements of Computing Systems, while he is here to help us understand more about self-organized courses and classes.  [For a glimpse at a different part of Shocken’s world, check out this talk filmed at TEDxTel Aviv in 2010, in which he discusses an outdoor program he started with Israel’s young offenders.] Here’s what he said onstage >>

Beau Lotto describes himself as the “head misfit” of Lottolab Studio, the world’s “first public perception research space.” What does that mean, you ask? Scientist Beau Lotto has set up his lab inside of the Science Museum in London in order to bring science, the arts and education under one roof. Today, Lotto will discuss how this unconventional location has helped his work, while a former student will share her experience working with the team–the results of which were published in the prestigious Royal Society journal, Biology Letters. Here’s what Beau and Amy talked about onstage >>

Entrepreneur and author, Eddie Obeng founded Pentacle, the world’s first “Virtual Business School.” He’s going to talk about the speed of change — and how we need to deal with it. Read what he told us >>

It’s a big week for Karen Thompson Walker. Her first novel, The Age of Miracles, finally hits bookshelves after being the subject of a high-profile bidding war, not often waged by publishers these days. Walker eventually sold the book to Random House for a $1 million contract, but we’ll see no self-congratulation here. Instead, Walker will discuss fear–and how the nominally negative emotion can actually be a useful mechanism for imagination and creativity. Here’s what she talked about >>

To round off the session, we’ll welcome the inimitable Macy Gray, a Grammy Award-winning vocalist of distinction and, well, raspiness. Read about it >>