Trends | Getting Excited About Learning

Ariel Diaz at TEDx Cambridge“We’re teaching students backwards. Today’s educational system weighs students down with the minute details of a subject instead of getting them excited about learning,” says Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless. Diaz spoke recently at TEDxCambridge on inverting the curriculum. The notion of inverting the curriculum says instead of weighing students down with minute details up front, educators can show them the beauty of the big picture to get them excited about learning. Many educators, including biology professors at Grinnell College, are already inverting their curriculums. Now, it’s time for educators everywhere to invert the curriculum to give students an understanding of the beauty intrinsic to each subject. Check it out here.

  • harrykeller


    Ariel Diaz has it partly right. Motivate, then teach.

    However, his race-car example is inapt. Suppose that you used that to introduce engineering to lots and lots of students. Is every student motivated by race cars? May some consider them too noisy? Might some see only useless danger in them? Others may see an unnecessarily polluting sport. Each person is different, and you have to allow for those differences when choosing motivating ideas.

    Continuing in the transportation theme, some may get very excited about making cars that are incredibly efficient. Others would choose to find the ultimate safe car to drive at highway speeds. A different group may be turned on by autonomous vehicles.

    If we truly are going to “invert” our courses, then we must seek broad motivators. The biology examples given my Ariel are rather good. They could probably be improved and may have been because he gave only a very brief explanation, a few words really, for each.

    For this idea to work, you might have to come up with two or three or more motivating ideas in order to engage a group of students.

    He as also ignored other motivators. For example, finding out the answer to a question can motivate. Young children constantly ask, “Why?” Use that fundamental internal drive, not just some long-term by itself.

    By combining intrinsic motivational drives, you should be able to make an even more engaging and exciting course and achieve even greater results.

  • nancy wimbush (@nancywimbush)


    The answer is the question. Inquiry, is the key to authentic based learning. Arial Diez gets it. Love the metaphor. BYOD and global Project Based Learning with a purpose (connection to learning goals). Thanks for a great Ted Talk. Nancy

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