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Motivation and Education

April 15, 2012

I came across a post on Matt Monge’s blog about “The Surprising Truth About Motivation”, an animated talk that Dan Pink gave at the RSA (while you’re on Matt’s blog, also have a look at his other posts). I’ve embedded Dan Pink’s animated talk below. You might also be interested in his TED talk on “The Surprising Science of Motivation”, which is also available on YouTube.

This research helps to explain why people will pay for a premium membership so they can upload their best work to online repositories and forums (Flickr, for example). Why would people pay in order to give their stuff away to strangers for free? We establish our identity and reputation online to the extent that we contribute. We can’t be heard (or seen) unless we speak. We do this by uploading, commenting, and registering our presence through our interactions with others. This has important implications for how we approach education (offline as well as online).

Dan Pink’s talk reminded me of the TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson. I’ve discussed Robinson’s “Bring on the Learning Revolution” talk in an earlier post, and I mentioned the TED event that this talk sparked. As well as paying attention to the content of these talks, we can learn a lot from the use of appropriate technologies and presentation styles. Other good talks by Sir Ken Robinson include “Schools Kill Creativity” (June 2006). The Website has a series of talks about learning.

Note that full transcripts of the TED Talks are available with the videos (I once transcribed a 15-minute talk before I realized this!). TED talks are covered by a Creative Commons License (check out the New Zealand site), so they can be legally shared. Also see Sir Ken Robinson’s Website. He’s written two books that expand on the themes he discussed in his talks (I haven’t yet read “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything“, but I can recommend “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative“). You can also follow @SirKenRobinson on Twitter.


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