Testing, testing: How will measurement change in the future of education?

When measuring for the future, there is much to consider.

  • We need to embrace a plethora of schooling options as necessary to help different types of learners get to success.
  • On top of testing for literacy and math competence, we should also test for other things that are clearly important to parents, such as whether kids feel safe and cared for. These things are softer but more difficult to assess.
  • To improve our education system, we need to understand we currently only have answers to some huge open questions right now. We are still figuring things out on how to enrich different people's lives as they find their positions in the economy — and society at large.
  • This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.
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What NASA can teach us about education reform

If teachers weren't taught to fear failure, could they see greater success in the mission of education?

  • Matt Candler, founder of 4.0 Schools, questions why school has stayed overwhelmingly the same the past 100 years. As a teacher, he sees the future of schools embracing mutual curiosity in both students and educators.
  • He points to the example of NASA scientists, who approach missions with the idea that failure is welcome and necessary. Failure during preparation ensures the mission will succeed when the time comes to perform.
  • Candler suggests that this idea should hold up in discussions of education reform and how teachers are trained in their approach to learning.
  • This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.
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Lumina Prize awarded for innovation in post-high school education

Congratulations to our Audience's Choice and Judges' Choice Award Winners!


Winners announced for Lumina Prize

In January, Big Think and Lumina Foundation called for innovative ideas in post-high school training and education with an emphasis on an entrepreneurial approach. Today, we are pleased to announce that we have selected two winners.

The Judges' Choice Award

The Judge's Choice Award goes to PeerForward, an organization dedicated to increasing the education and career success rates of students in low-income schools and communities by mobilizing the power of positive peer influence. You can watch their winning video entry here.

For the next and final leg of the competition, winners will be flown (or train-ed) to Big Think's studio in New York City where they will receive coaching from top social venture and media experts on how to deliver a spectacular and direct business pitch.

The Audience Choice Award

The Audience Choice Award goes to Greater Commons. Founded by Todd McLeod and Andrew Cull, Greater Commons is an organization that helps people live happier, more successful and fulfilling lives through agile learning. You can watch their winning video entry here.

Congratulations PeerForward and Greater Commons!

And thank you to our four finalists, our community of voters, and the wonderful judges who helped us make this competition possible. All applicants had fantastic ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.

For the next and final leg of the competition, winners will be flown (or train-ed) to Big Think's studio in New York City where they will receive coaching from top social venture and media experts on how to deliver a spectacular and direct business pitch.

Big Think producers will film and edit the footage from the pitch training and create a digital copy to be released on our website and additionally used by the winners as a tool to meet potential investors and stakeholders. We look forward to working with Greater Commons and PeerForward and are excited to release their pitches on Big Think in the coming months!

John Stuart Mill's big idea: Harsh critics make good thinkers

Keith Whittington, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, breaks down three key free speech arguments by John Stuart Mill.

  • 19th-century political philosopher John Stuart Mill defended the right of free societies to explore radical and dangerous ideas.
  • One of his arguments was based on humility: You must be prepared to be wrong, and genuinely be open to being persuaded. Put your ideas into intellectual battle by exposing them to the harshest critics. These critics will show up your flaws and make you a more sophisticated thinker.
  • Another of Mill's arguments was concerned with arrogance. He criticized the common tendency to want to shield other people from dangerous ideas as paternalistic. You can judge good ideas from bad ideas; you should afford everyone the same respect.
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Why pitting prejudices against each other keeps society free

Should all speech be free? How much intolerance should society tolerate?

  • For society to stay open and free, you don't need to eliminate prejudice. You need the opposite: All kinds of prejudice pitted against each other.
  • Intellectual diversity helps society as a whole learn the truth. And as long as society has rules that force ideas to be openly tested, the intolerant will not gain the upper hand.
  • "In America it's legal to be intolerant. It may not be right. It may not get you accepted or respected. But absolutely it's legal and it should be legal," says Jonathan Rauch.
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