Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Sir Ken Robinson on modernizing education

The RSA has a great series of talks online. On Outside the Beltway, I found Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on “Modernizing Education:”

For people familiar with trends in progressive education, some of what he talks about will sound familiar, but he’s wonderfully well-organized and a good speaker. He’s also quite critical of overmedication for ADHD, which he regards largely (but not entirely) as an artifact of schools’ need to medicate kids to regulate their behavior (and one might add, the existence of drugs– other than Nyquil and gin– to do so). I especially loved this line:

Attention deficit increases as you move east across the country. People start losing attention in Oklahoma, they can hardly think straight in Arkansas, and by the time they reach Washington, they’ve lost it completely.

As an ex-Southerner, I find this delightfully anti-Southern. (I expect Sir Ken isn’t from Manchester.)

The other thing I really like about this talk is that it presents a wonderfully updated version of graphic recording, something I’ve spent years working with. (If you’re not familiar with the practice, David Sibbet’s new book, Visual Meetings, is a terrific overview.) The animators, Cognitive Media, are essentially scribing the talk, but do so with greater than a live recorder can, and they make judicious use of animation as well. The result, I think, is pretty cool.

They’ve got many more animated maps on their blog, should you care to take whole morning off.

[To the tune of Sia, “Breathe Me,” from the album Six Feet Under, Vol. 2: Everything Ends (a 5-star song, imo).]


  1. I saw this yesterday too, and I love it. Where do I learn to draw like that?

  2. Some of what he says is by-now conventional critique of standard education, but the bit on orthogonal thinking and how we lose it is very good. And it's a neat mix of graphic recording and speech. Very cool.

    (sent via iPhone) 

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