TED Conversations

Jeff Hoffart

Social Entrepreneur, ED-ucation Publishing


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Within learning communities, how do we educate youth about the ethos of TED and get them excited about contributing to the TEDx community?

While we organized our event at TEDxYouth@BIS this year, we found that we were marketing the idea of TED and TEDx to people who already understood and supported this ethos. We are looking for your ideas, resources, and other possible solutions to help educate and involve more youth in the TED and TEDx communities.


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    Jun 23 2012: I wonder whether you might explore this question best by meeting with focus groups of uninvolved youth.
    Young people may have a bias toward action more than discussion, particularly those who feel they already spend a lot of time at school.. Young people often do not pay great attention to the motivational speakers at their graduations, I notice, and many TED talks may ring that way. ATEDxYouth event might draw a broader audience if the plan links it to clear, immediate opportunities for action or experience beyond networking that connect with aspirations kids already have.
    In this way you are less selling what may be perceived as intellectual/academic talks (that seem a lot like more of school) as offering something that feels like a practical add-on to their every day stuff.
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      Jun 24 2012: I definitely think you are right about the action component. Our students' talks this year focused on Sustainable Action. Students did not present just an idea, but also presented an action that they had taken already or were planning to take, which would sustain for years to come. This was highly motivating for the speakers!

      Upon reflection, I feel that something that we could have done better at our TEDx event, is get more community members who have connections with the event theme to attend. If we had more delegates and members from organizations such as United Nations, UNICEF, etc..., our students may have had a greater chance for success in making their ideas and action a larger reality.

      I guess this comes back to the initial question. We did invite members from some of these organizations, but some of the members did not even know what TED was. So, again, it comes down to the education of our communities. One resource I thought was very powerful, was an info graphic about TED and TEDx: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fidelman/7402394044/

      Again, if you did not know what TED or TEDx were, it would not mean much. So, I am interested in further ideas and resources to enable us, and everyone, to be able to successfully make TED accessible to each and every person.
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        Jun 24 2012: In terms of attracting people from organizations involved with the theme, why not reach for participation from those who would truly welcome some actual participation from kids (to have a greater chance of making their actions and success a larger reality)? Local organizations are great for this, because even the very young can participate fruitfully with adult supervision in adopt a street or adopt a park activities. For the kids this might seem just as important as the UN but more importantly, local service SHOULD feel important to them.

        UNICEF has excellent material online, bu the way, that is focused at kids and what kids can do. You probably know this:)

        If you are thinking about grade school kids in your area, why not see if you can get on the agenda at a district teacher training and present a small packet of child appropriate talks on various subjects with examples of how you have used them in your classroom? Another thing that can grab a teacher's interest, perhaps, is a list of well known people and their talks- people kids might predictably want to hear from?

        On a smaller level, how about a staff meeting at your school to present that?

        Sometimes the personal touch, one teacher to another, is the way to go.

        I hadn't realized when I first replied to you that you were talking about grade school kids. I assumed you meant high school kids, for whom almost all the talks would be appropriate.
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      Jun 24 2012: Hi Fritzie, I really like your idea for focus groups. I agree that youth look at life through a different lens than adults and it is impossible to access that viewpoint without delving into their minds a bit. Mostly, the youth we work with are tech savvy and I can't help but wonder if there isn't something more we could do beyond Facebook, Twitter and other social media to hook young people? I think you have provided a great idea for organizers to work WITH students to have them part of the process via focus groups and thus become inherently invested in the outcome. But I wonder if any other TEDxers out there have actual resources they have used for the expressed purpose of spreading the ethos of TEDx to their communities...

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