At TEDxEast “Play, Dream, Create” on Friday, Chris Anderson (TED Curator) made a surprise visit to talk on Crowd Accelerated Learning. This is the game-changing theory about social evolution: How we improve when we share with one another. He said people are challenged by watching great people and wanting to do better, and this is accelerated exponentially by technology (online video, social media, and the like). “What if we took the idea of crowd-accelerated learning and applied it to global education?” Anderson said.
In order for this phenomenon to happen, you need:
- Community – People who share a passion, including potential innovators. But you also need all the people who normally make up a crowd: cheerleader, trendspotter, critic, calculist, etc. to help balance the creators and keep them honest.
- Individual Visibility
- Success Metrics – On YouTube, you can measure hits and ratings, and this real-time feedback helps raise the bar.
- He showed a YouTube video of a kid who was a great dancer, which led to the League of Extraordinary Dancers. The man who created that, Jon Chu said “dancers have created a whole global laboratory online for dance, where kids in Japan are taking moves from a YouTube video created in Detroit, building on it within days and releasing a new video, while teenagers in California are taking the Japanese video and remixing it with a Philly flair to create a whole new dance style in itself. And this is happening every day. And from these bedrooms and living rooms and garages, with cheap webcams, lies the world’s great dancers of tomorrow. Our Fred Astaires, our Gene Kellys our Michael Jacksons are right at our fingertips, and may not have that opportunity, except for us.” Anderson said the guys dancing on the corner used to measure success by who got the best dates. Now with YouTube, “global fame is intoxicating.”
- Anderson showed the online Journal of Visualized Experiements, where surgeons can learn from others and improve.
- He showed a video shot by a woman on a rooftop in Iran. This moving video became viral and helped many Americans understand their struggle as they identified with a voice in the crowd. “I think transparency helps drive moral progress,” he said.
- He shared a personal experience that he’s noticed: Since he started sharing TED videos freely, he feels the TED Talks have improved exponentially. He theorizes that people watch these talks and decide to improve on them, which is raising the bar.
Anderson said “The lights have come on all around the world allowing us to see what every individual can do….Why not apply this to global education? Millions of people throughout history have not lived up to their potential because they did not get exposed to any good teachers. The world’s greatest teachers can now reach millions.” He pointed to Kevin Kelly‘s talk on the destiny of technology in which he asks “What would Mozart have been before the piano was around?”
He concluded with “TED doesn’t have a map, but has a compass.” I hope we can follow this direction to transform education and empower all to live up to their potential.
I want to know what applications have you seen for Crowd Accelerated Learning?
– Kathy Sandler
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- Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation (ted.com)
- TED and Teaching Ourselves With Technology (fastcompany.com)