April 16, 2008

www of the week: TED.com

Many of my friends headed straight to grad school after college, but not me. I’m a fan of real-world learning, rather than dropping thousands for admission to an ivory tower. Not everyone shares this opinion, of course, but some of the people I respect most—my grandfather or, say, Abraham Lincoln—never even graduated high school. I always think of Matt Damon’s speech in Good Will Hunting, where he tells a cocky Harvard student that he’s paying “a hundred and twenty grand for an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in overdue fees from the public library.”

If Will Hunting came of age in 2008 instead of the mid-90s, he’d probably spend his time watching the videos at TED.com instead of rambling around the Boston Public Library. TED.com provides a virtual bachelor’s degree in science, design, art, economics…you name it, with some of today’s most exciting thinkers and activists ( Al Gore on 15 ways to avert climate crisis, Majora Carter on greening the ghetto, Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce, Jane Goodall…) serving as professors. ~ Heather Mueller, ed.

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