Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My new friend TED

So, I've just crawled out of my cave, where I've clearly been living, to learn about TED. I'm pretty amazed it's been around for so long without my notice.

You've heard about it, no doubt. But just in case, you, too, are a cave-dweller, here's the story in brief:

At the annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, speakers are asked to speak about one big idea for 18 minutes. No more, no less. (I haven't yet found the reason for this specific number, so if you know, fill me in.) It started in the 80s with people who were connected to the Silicon Valley, so the ideas shared were largely about technology and design. But the concept has evolved to encompass the scope of human thought and endeavor, so the speakers now come from a huge variety of disciplines. They speak before a live audience, and then their talks are disseminated on the web. Because, as the tag line goes, they are "ideas worth spreading."

You know how once you know about something, you suddenly see it absolutely everywhere? This has been my experience with TED. They just had their 2010 conference, so it makes sense that there is an up-tick in internet traffic about it.

For example, I read about Jamie Oliver's 18 minutes on educating children about healthy food on a couple of Blogs I Love, Teacher Tom and Bakers and Astronauts. Then, a friend forwarded to me a link to Aimee Mullins stunningly great 18 minutes on making use of adversity. And then, someone on Facebook posted Sir Ken Robinson's compelling 18 minutes, in which he asks if schools kill creativity. Intrigued, I dug into the TED archives on their website, and found another education-related 18 minutes from Dave Eggers that I'd love for you to see.

18 minutes is just long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to feel like you can just sit and watch one (or two) without clearing your schedule. (By the way, the TED site seems to offer some 6-minute and even 3-minute presentations, too.)

I can tell my beautiful new relationship with TED is just getting started. What are your favorite TED talks?

A side note: the Sir Ken Robinson talk was posted by a very socially conservative Facebook friend of mine. I wasn't sure that I'd relate to a view of education that this friend agreed with enough to post in his status. As it turned out, I loved what Sir Robinson had to say, which reminded me that my sources for inspiration and growth can surprise me, and it's best for me to keep an open mind. This, I would venture to say, is what the spirit of TED is all about.


  1. A couple of my favorites are Gever Tulley's talks. His are short - I think 6 minutes. The first one he did was 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do. (Or some title close to that.)

  2. They must be doing some kind of outreach right now because I've only just "discovered" them myself recently. (My wife actually attended one of their conferences several years ago but it obviously didn't click for me at the time.)

    I'm going to check out the Gever Tulley and Sir Robinson videos!

  3. I have never heard of these little talks or conferences - I am so glad you shared this in your post today. I am going to take a few minutes and check them out this week.

    I also want to tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtful comments on my blog - Thank you so much for your continued support.

  4. My absolute favorite is Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight. You will never tire of this one. Gives me chills each and every time (and teary eyes)

  5. Jenny, on your recommendation, I watched both of Gever Tulley's talks. Awesome. I found myself on his website, checking out his camp photos. I wish his school wasn't on the opposite coast from me, because I'd love to make a visit....

  6. Deborah, I love your blog--it's a pleasure to comment on it and join in the great conversations that your posts start! Thank YOU for stopping by over here! :)

  7. Marla, I watched Jill Bolte Taylor's talk last night, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I had no idea she was going to take me where she took me. I just loved it. Thank you so much for the recommendation.

  8. Hi Launa!

    I just discovered your blog and I love it!
    I am a kindergarten teacher with 25 students and almost that many years in the classroom.

    Not only have I heard of TED, I've been dying to attend a conference for years. (It isn't easy.) The title of the 2011 conference is 'Rediscovery of Wonder' - An early childhood educator's dream!

    I am a long time fan of TED. I just wish I could get there.

    I write a blog called TALKIN'KIDS. Check it out when you get a chance. It's pure kindergarten chatter.

    Good stuff here,
    I'll be back.

  9. Diane, thank you so much for visiting and for the kind words--and let me return them! Love your blog! Notice it just appeared on my blog roll....

  10. Hi Launa!

    I'm glad you visited my blog and that you enjoyed it. Thanks for adding Talkin' Kids to your blog roll.

    So that my readers have access to your informative material, I'm including your blog onto both of my blog rolls immediately.

    I write another blog ABOUT MOE DAILY. If you think the kids are funny...

    I'll get back here soon.♥