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 25 2012: Thank you Linda for your ideas!

    I have taught within Canada's system, as well as within the International setting in Taiwan, Asia, and now in Germany, Europe. I do believe that many see TED as an additional resource or group or organization. This is very similar to the mentality that we used to teach technology in complete isolation to other subjects. Now, we see that technology is a tool or a vehicle that is integrated in and across all subject areas. This is how I feel about TED. I think it is a perspective and mentality that needs to shift, and this may take some time.

    I do respectfully disagree with "TED is not for everyone". I do think that there can be different levels of involvement. But, that is similar to saying that Education is not for everyone or Inspiration is not for everyone. One of the purposes of this conversation, is to try to come up with ideas and resources to successfully disprove this statement. I don't have the answers myself, but I do think that, if we all work together, we can find a way to more successfully integrate inspiring ideas within our teaching, rather than "add it on".

    I am currently teaching in the upper primary, as a Grade 5 teacher. We held a TEDx event this year, with 17 youth speakers, 12 of which came from Grade 5. Their ideas and action were amazing! You can check out their videos here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6AAF48379A09E839&feature=plcp I would highly recommend Kate or Shivani's talks to get started.

    Next year, we are beginning to hand over the responsibility of organizing our event to our Youth Organizers, who are in Grades 6-7. In the coming years, we are aiming for a similar goal to TEDxYouth@Tokyo, which is completely organized and managed by youth.
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      Jun 25 2012: Jeff, what I meant is that TED is not for everyone is that some students just cannot sit and listen to talks if they are of any length and have no visuals (like someone had written about graduation speeches), nor are they interested in learning things or taking any type of action.... at least that is what I have come across in my classroom.

      And about your Grade 5 event, it was impressive. It did help that the speakers were from their own age group, as I was thinking they were mainly adults. We tend to think that youngins' have nothing to say/contribute, but that is NOT true at all (look at Jack Andraka who would be a GREAT speaker) . I wish a "fire" would be lit under some of our students here in my county to do something like this. Good luck to you with the venture.
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        Jun 25 2012: You are definitely right. It is really tough for younger kids to connect to some of the big issues addressed on TED, and many talks are far too long to hold the attention of younger students. It has definitely pushed me to be very selective in the talks that I show in class. Linda, what are your feelings and perspective on TED-Ed? Have you had a chance to use this in your class? If so, do you feel there is something else TED-Ed could do to make it even more accessible for younger students?

        I think that in order to instill the ethos of TED within our students and to enable them to take action, teachers need to explicitly teach the skills necessary for students to be able to do so successfully. I have recently conducted an action research paper with a few colleagues of mine that focused on the skills necessary for taking action. We created a Phase Document, which includes the skills to be taught, and created a website that gives teachers the resources necessary to implement and unroll this document: http://www.helptakeaction.com/

        I would love your feedback on this, and if you have some suggestions for what you think we could add or modify to help drive this initiative forward.
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          Jun 25 2012: Jeff, I have to admit that I only heard of TEDed a few months ago, and it was right before I retired in March, so I never did get to use it (but I sent the link to my dept. chair). What I saw though, looked pretty good for me in English, but the way we have our curriculum/grading set up that addresses mainly core standards, FCAT testing, and grading per a "proficiency" model, it would be hard to incorporate what the program offers except once "in a blue moon". :-(

          The link you shared looked interesting, but first, for it to come to total fruition, students and teachers would all have to have technology (and some advanced) which would definitely be the "have's vs. the have not's". How would that issue be addressed?? I will also need to look at it more in depth and to get my MINDSET out of our American system. Grrrr.... For me personally, my last "attempt" at getting my students to be involved in the world and to try to take any sort of action, I had my 11th graders do a research paper on a human rights violation; they were to then come up with an action plan and present it to the class, but I left before the project was finished, and the teacher who replaced me didn't follow through with what I expected. I think that you are definitely going in the right direction, esp. in getting the younger students to see that there is a world outside of where they live and that their actions can help to better both. Kudos to you. :-)

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