TED Talks

By now most everyone has heard of the TED Talks. This is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “spread ideas.” TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and started in 1984 as a conference where innovation in the three areas above were presented. With the advent of the internet and new ownership, TED has taken off.

In the six years since its launch, ted.com has added over 1,100 talks—the most popular TED-conference talks, plus TED-approved talks from other conferences and events. The most popular of these include Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, recounting the story of her own stroke; a British educator, Ken Robinson, bringing an effortlessly droll delivery to the argument that schools kill creativity; and David Gallo, an oceanographer, narrating underwater footage of bioluminescent sea creatures and crafty octopuses defending themselves. The idea that would prove more contagious than any other, though, was that of TED itself. Collectively, the TED Talks have been viewed more than 500 million times

I took the excerpt above from Benjamin Wallace’s article, How the TED Conferences Started an Intellectual Movementin the New York Magazine. There is also an excellent podcast that critiques the movement, from Slate’s Cultural Gabfest, which is linked here.

I always check out the new talks featured on the TED.com page and think it is great that people are excited about intellectual ideas, instead of celebrity gossip, mindless video games, or sitcoms.

TED has grown outside of the website and the annual conferences. Our school held last November, a TEDx (x meaning external) conference. The TEDxYouth at ISB was very popular. A young science teacher at our school, Mr. Luiz Mello was that force behind it coming to the school. My role was to support him in giving him advice and logistical support of the school resources. Many of our students and parents absolutely loved it! My favorite “speaker” were G.R.U.B.B. Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats.


The best part was several students also gave talks. TED went well with the MYP Personal Projects. One student, Sava, did his Personal Project presentation at the TED and was as well invited to a technology conference at MIT to give the same talk. He made a social networking program for mobile phones.

We will be holding another TEDxYouthatISB in November. Luiz has left the school but passed the torch to our HS Receptionist, Mr. Nikola Miletić.

An interesting initiative by TED has been the TED-Ed web site which will be helpful for students and teachers.

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. The TED-Ed site, launched in April 2012, allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.

So far there 87 videos covering a variety of subjects. I am excited to explore the website more and to continue to help develop TEDx Youth at ISB.

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