Curiosity – the Force to Transform Education | Manuel Dolderer | TEDxHeidelberg



thank you I'd like to welcome you and thank you that you're here today and especially because I think you are here by choice at least I hope so that nobody forced you to be here today okay if you're here against your will please point your right index finger at your nose nobody okay so you hid by choice and my question is why why are you here and I I guess I hope you are here out of curiosity curiosity if you think about it is what makes such an event possible is what brings you here and makes you hopefully actively listening right now to me and if you think about it a little bit more curiosity is not just the reason we all are here today it's also the reason or the driving force behind basically every scientific or technological discovery the human race has ever made okay and coincidence place also a role but curiosity is a very important factor in this I mean from the day our ancestors discovered how to make fire to the first man landing on the moon to the fact that today I can send not 140 but 280 character messages to all my Twitter followers around the globe in an instant all made possible by curiosity and that's what I want to talk about today and curiosity is not only important for the development of mankind it's also important for the development of each and every human individual I don't really remember but I imagine that my first years as a child were basically driven by curiosity from I mean from the day you open your eyes the world around you wants to be discovered and is full of secrets and mysteries and things you want to learn about and be able to do and understand and that's basically how children learn how they learn to walk how they learn to talk how they learn to use a spoon how they they learn to tie their shoelaces ride a bike whatever children learn they learn out of curiosity that's their main driver because nobody forces them to do anything it's all about curiosity until you're old enough to go to school and then everything changes from a learning perspective you enter a different world because from that moment on nobody is really interested in what you are curious about anymore because there are experts who came up with the curriculum and teachers who look at the curriculum to know what to teach you and for every hour of every day of your whole school career there is someone telling you what to learn and when to learn it and it's not about curiosity anymore and that's a problem because if it's not about curiosity what is it about what's the reason for us to learn things well we then need a carrot and a stick or in school terms we need tests and grades and of course your teachers will tell you and told me that you're not just learning for school because in your future you will truly be able to put this knowledge to good use because as we all know non scholar said we tear this chemos but really do we I mean I want you to take a moment and try to remember the three most important aspects of the last year's of math class you had in school just think about it there is most of the time nothing left and there were researchers doing studies about that and they asked students they tested students two years after they've received their a level or Abitur or high school diploma they tested how much of that knowledge they had to gather in order to get their diploma was still there and the answer was devastating it was between 20 and 25 percent think about that everything else is just gone because the reason to remember it isn't there anymore because you've learned it not because you were curious about it but because you wanted to pass a test and now this test is gone it's not there anymore though so the reason to remember these things is also gone and your brain is a very efficient organ just gets rid of it you learned it not just in school you learned it for school so as an interesting sidenote Seneca 2,000 years ago he didn't write about non scoreless a treated Eskimos it was exactly the opposite he wrote about non Vitesse that score lady schemas and was in his way of criticizing the philosophical schools of his time so you see the problem it's pretty old so what can we do about it and you might have guessed already that the answer at least for me has something to do with curiosity and I would like to introduce you to this idea of curiosity an education an education where the driving force behind every learning experience is curiosity well how would that look how could that be possible if you try to to realize such a solution there are some fundamental differences to the way we teach today or we create schools and learning environments today and the first and most important difference is it's all student-centered everything has to be centered around the student so not like today where you have experts and curricula and this idea of telling students when to learn what that doesn't work with the curiosity driven educational approach because it's just not working that way that students are curious about math every Monday morning at 10 a.m. for exactly 45 minutes and then within a five minute break switch their curiosity towards biology that's not the way curiosity works so you have to get rid of this curriculum and have to focus on each and every student and ask them what are you curious about what are you interested in and then you have to help them create a learning project out of this question this interest they have and then they start learning by themselves and then a lot of interesting things happen because as these students are learning self-directed and curious about the topic they chose the teachers stand next to it and say what is our job now because we are not there to actually teach something they have to come up with a new role for themselves with a new responsibility and this responsibility for the teachers it's always thinking about how can I support this learning experience of my students how can i empower them or encourage them to be curious how can I inspire their curiosity and how can I make sure that they have what it takes to take on this responsibility for their own learning in experience because this last step taking on the responsibility for your own learning experience that's pretty hard to do if you compare it with the normal system in the normal educational system you don't have to make a lot of decisions as a student everything is basically presented to you the stuff you have to learn the duration but the timeframe in which you have to learn it the way you have to apply it to solve certain problems the way it is tested to find out if you've actually learned it everything is decided for you presented to you and you have to just react to it in an curiosity driven approach where the student is the center of his own learning journey they the students have to make these decisions they have not only to decide what am i curious about what do I want to learn but also what is my goal how can I describe it what is the deadline for me and then they have to learn to stick to their own deadlines to take their own goals seriously to choose their own learning resources all of that is something students have to learn as well and they learn a lot by doing that so they are in this environment not just learning about the content the topic they chose but also how to make all these decisions and take on the responsibility for their own experience and then learning happens but of course if you are in an educational institution you cannot just let learning happen there you have to have some way of during learning outcome because in the end you have to decide whether or not someone gets a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree or someone else or something else and that's where you need a clever solution that is not tests and grades but gives you the chance to document learning outcomes of your students and that's a competence framework a competence framework is basically a tool where you sit down and you think about which competences are the students focused on what areas should they be learning things about and it's about knowledge it's about skills it's about social skills and competences it's about personal competences everything goes into this competence framework and then students by defining projects and goals can decide which competences they want to evolve in which where they want to gain new proficiency levels in competences so you put all these things together student-centered approach curiosity driven learning teachers that are mentors and supporters and a competence framework and you have everything you need to build a new kind of learning institution a learning institution like the one I am building right now and again the approach is curiosity driven learning and the University I'm founding right now we called it code and code it's not just my idea we were a team of three it Oprah nurse coming up with the concept of code code started basically eight weeks ago with the first 88 students and what they're doing right now these students is exactly what I described they are thinking about what do I want to learn and then they create project out of these ideas and gather other students who are interested in the same topics and then they apply for different roles in these project teams and by picking a role they also decide what to learn which competence to take on and then they start learning and you can stand next to them and you see them learning and you have to don't have to apply pressure you don't have to tell them about tests and grades because they're learning out of curiosity for the topics they chose themselves and our professors of course we have professors they are looking around and trying to find out how to best support their students on their individual learning journey and of course we have a competence framework describing the different competences our students can choose from and they have to connect the projects with the competences so for each project there are teams and in the team's there are different roles for students and for each role there is a competence or few competences connected to this role so the students know when I choose this role in a team I will be working on these competences and in the end after the project students and professors together decide whether a student has achieved a new proficiency level in this field of competence and that's how they learn and that's how we document the learning and that gives them the freedom to really sit down and again and again ask themselves what am i curious about what am i interested in what should be the driving force behind my learning and the result is amazing it's really inspiring to see these students learn just because they want to learn to see them present the results and they're really proud of what they've done and what they accomplished as a team and they organize it all by themselves and they ask for input they approach our professors and tell them teach me something give me a hint give me a good learning resource I want to understand this concept I want to be able to do that so there is teaching of course but it always starts with the curiosity of a student that's the main starting point for every learning that happens at code and I wonder how would our world look like if we would be able to implement more of this curiosity driven learning into our schools and universities and our whole educational system and I want you to think about that as well because my vision is a total new way of learning where students children young men and women are really fascinated by the way they be learning thank you [Applause]

4 thoughts on “Curiosity – the Force to Transform Education | Manuel Dolderer | TEDxHeidelberg”

  1. Great Talk. There is a lot of value gained by a effektive education and still much potential for the use of deductive techniques left.

  2. What if this curiosity-based system was fully implemented into schools, would teachers basically have these TED-like talks inside their lessons? That would be genious.

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