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Amy Peach

Director of Instructional Technology, Fontbonne University, St Louis, MO USA

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If you had one year to prepare to apply for an invitation to TED, what would you do?

As many of us know, those who are invited to TED events usually have an impressive resume coupled with natural enthusiasm and excitement for learning. If you had one year to pursue new opportunities that would give you the best chance to earn that invitation, what would you do? I'm curious to see how everyone's respective disciplines prepare for something like this.

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    Oct 23 2013: I think irrespective of impressive resume, those who are interested in TED should give a chance to be invited. Why not? after all it's the interest of such people that have encouraged TED initiative.
  • Oct 21 2013: I have always believed in justice for all. Do we have it? No. Take the $$$$ out of our Judicial systems would be a beginning to true justice, although not perfect.
    Perhaps one year would not be enough to prepare for this complex problem. But it's worth the energy and time.. No?
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    Oct 19 2013: Sad to say but I'd probably procrastinate for 11 months...
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    Oct 18 2013: I'd probably revive the amazingly versatile YarnShifter hand-weaving loom I invented 10+ years ago, and spread the word about how to weave geometric shapes with a continuous thread - the fastest hand-technique for constructing a piece of fabric. It should be much better known, especially in developing countries. Well ... maybe just ... I might ... anyway ...
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    Oct 17 2013: As usual. 363 days fun, one stressful day, little sleep and up it goes ... :o)

    Thats probably why there is no video document on this site of me.
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    Oct 21 2013: Can you elaborate on this, Gio? I'm having a tough time seeing the connection to the overall theme of the conversation. What money would need to be removed from what system? Can you provide some specifics?
    • Oct 22 2013: Sorry Amy, i have misunderstood the theme of your conversation.

      Perhaps improving communications might warrant an invitation to Ted.
  • Oct 21 2013: I would try to think of where or intellegence came from.
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    Oct 21 2013: Sounds fantastic, Joshua! I really hope you do!!!
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    Oct 18 2013: I would continue doing what I do everyday, keep my mind and heart open, then look deeper inside.
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    Oct 17 2013: to honoring the honor they'll give to me ,the question is how i can honor this honorable and the reply must waiting this day to honor itself if it's worthy to it.
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    Oct 16 2013: Amy, Let me turn this around. First of all I do not think that a person should be required to submit their own application. Invites should be based on recommendations of others and a investigation by the TED Committee. Having said that, try this. Ask a fellow worker to evaluate you for a TED talk and you evaluate them.

    We all get in the dumps ... I often worry about what I have accomplished and if I have "left a mark". I take a deep dark look and am never really satisfied. Then out of the clear blue a person will come up to me and say coach I was ready to quit but you would not let me ... you had faith in me when no one else did ... when things get tough I still think of you and do not want to let you down so I dig in and try harder ... just wanted you to know how much you mean to me. Thanks. .... This is followed by going to the restroom and blowing the nose and complaining that a bug flew into my eye ... the tears will wash it out ... thanks I'm alright.

    The point is you do things all the time without a second thought. You may never know how many people you influence. By letting someone else evaluate you it will allow you to to see the other side of the mirror. Kinda like letting Clarence from It's a Wonderful Life take you on a tour. Ding, ding, ding.

    I think it would be great if TED had five minutes between speakers and introduced up and coming ... and local heroes one at a time. People that have made a difference in their profession, the community, enriched lives of others, etc .... They are not the world shakers and movers but they are the bedrock of what we are all about.

    As for me .. prepare for a TED talk ... does wetting my pants in front of all those smart people count? If so then I am ready.

    Always a pleasure to respond to your conversations.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Oct 17 2013: I really needed this laugh today, Bob! :) I've had so many situations similar to yours. It's hard to know if what you're doing is working or not. Just last week I had a former student come in and while he's told me that he learned something valuable in my class before, he gave me another joyful surprise this time. He took an online course from someone else here and he noticed something almost immediately. "Peach has had her hands on this", he told me. Apparently the faculty member has taken a number of my trainings and has thankfully taken advice on keeping things organized and providing back up help for students. That was great to hear.

      I'm still hashing through this and I'd love to hear what others have to say before I submit a final post on a plan. I'm already taking your idea about five minutes between speakers, though. We have a technology institute on campus and I think I'm going to run some highlights of our participants who are teachers as they walk between sessions. I think this is why I want to come to TED someday. I can post a simple question here and get 20 fantastic ideas that may or may not have anything to do with the intended subject.

      Thanks as always, Bob!!
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    Oct 16 2013: I think people should pursue the work that they think is important and think of a TED invitation as a side effect of doing what is cutting edge in their fields rather than developing a work program in order to win such acknowledgement.
  • Oct 16 2013: I think I distribute more positive energy with my TED question responses than I could in planned activities designed to win an invitation. If a professional takes their job seriously, tries to share knowledge, project a positive energy, and perhaps advance the discipline they have chosen, they are promoting a healthy learning environment. I'd say that is also a good start.

    Perhaps you are speaking of an invitation to speak?

    Gee, for that I think you might need to have shown a body of work that promoted learning, impacted many people, or highlighted some unique aspect of learning that could change the way education and learning are viewed.
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      Oct 16 2013: I would agree about the conversation threads, Robert. I decided to post this for a couple of reasons. When I looked at the registration form, I found it interesting that it asked for websites or other promotional materials to display what you do. What I've found in academia is that there seem to be two types of professionals advancing work in their fields. The first spends all of his/her time researching, talking, and teaching for the benefit of students. The other spends about 80% of his/her time doing this and 20% promoting those activities. Up to this point, I've been the former. I don't think I realized this until I saw that form. While many of us here at Fontbonne have done some fantastic things, we're often too busy to promote it. However, promoting it is an important piece that shouldn't be overlooked.

      As I started looking over the projects I had for the last couple of years and those planned for next year, thinking about what I could do before applying helped me narrow my focus and set firm deadlines. While I completely agree that being great at what you do is important, (and I agree with Fritzie that an invitation should be just a nice bonus) it doesn't always get you exposure to the kinds of people one could really learn from. If hard work and innovation alone were enough, the registration form would never ask for access to information that helps promote what you do.

      As for speaking, that would be a LONG way off for me personally :) I've been a fan of the talks for quite some time, but I'd like to know a little more about the attendees as well.
      • Oct 16 2013: Amy,

        I understand a bit better now. So lets think of some ideas to help achieve your goal.

        Many schools have a marketing department or consultant that helps bring students into their schools. Perhaps you could appeal to the administration to get this group to help promote the work you are doing at your school without taking away from the work you are doing with your students.

        Perhaps you might sponsor a competition among your students and ask the questions: What do we do here at Fontbonne that makes us different from other schools?' This sort of data would interest the marketing people anyway, and the administrators, so perhaps part of the marketing plan could be to give the teachers/professors involved in these activities the kind of local and national publicity that might catch the eye of a TED invitation folks.

        Another way you may gain some attention is to take on a bit of professional risk by trying something like the Khan method or some other learning method described by one or more of the TED conversations. This would be sort of a working application, then you could report/write on its effectiveness relative to the techniques you have already found to work, or perhaps a pure Socratic method of some kind.

        Perhaps you make a project in one of your classes where the kids have to learn the material and then present it in a way that inspires people, spins positive energy, or captures curiosity. Then pick the ones that are the best and send them into TED for review. Perhaps you and the students get invited to an event.

        I think the events are open, so maybe you could appeal to a parent's association, alumni group, or business that supports a particular learning style that your attendance might be good field research that you could effectively bring back to the school in some manner.

        If I were a teacher, I think this is how I might go about getting to a TED.

        Do TED events need volunteers? That might be another way to get there!

        Good Luck!
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          Oct 16 2013: LOVE these ideas, Robert! I'm not really much of one for self-promotion so I think that's why this sort of thing doesn't come naturally to me. However, I'll do just about anything to get students involved in any kind of active learning. As teachers we sell all the time (you've never tried a hard sell until you convince 17 year olds that understanding the New Deal is important :) You would think we'd be better at selling what we do or why our institutions are worthwhile. Thanks very much for the feedback. TED invite or not, these are all important things to think about.