TED Conversations

Mitch Harrison

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I need a TED icebreaker video! How do I get someone hooked?

I strongly feel like exposing high school and college students could really change our future, because we are the future. I find, however, showing someone a video with someone talking about statistics or dependence on oil doesn't particularly peak the interest of most of my fellow students. I need a talk that is exciting or up-beat or something! I want to get my generation's foot in the TED door. Maybe we can start spreading all of these "ideas worth spreading"!


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  • May 28 2012: Many kids identify most with music, so I recommend:
    - Eric Whitacre: A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong (This is the one I use to show people first)
    - Benjamin Zander on music and passion
    Then after that, maybe:
    - Evelyn Glennie shows how to listen
    - Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors

    You could also go with a hot topic and have them debate it out. Religion always gets a ton of responses on TED and Youtube. I'd start out with something funny like "Julia Sweeney on letting go of God," then move on to "Dan Dennett's response to Rick Warren" and "Tom Honey on God and the tsunami." "James Randi's fiery takedown of psychic fraud" is more about spirits than God, but can be used as a stepping stone to talk about religion too.

    Kids may be able to relate to someone closer to their age, like Sarah Kay "Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ..." Rives is also popular with youth.

    Personally, I don't know anyone who doesn't love nature videos! Check out Thiery Thys, Sheila Patek, Susan Savage-Rumbaugh, Robert Full, Deborah Gordon, David Gallo, Jane Goodall . .

    And space videos are great at creating wonder, too. "Carolyn Porco flies us to Saturn" is fantastic.

    (Sorry if that's overload, I've been watching A LOT of TED talks recently, haha! Good luck!)

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