Amy Peach

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


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101 improvements to the world...inspired by TED.

My involvement with TED has spawned so many initiatives over the years. I'm curious what you're doing that was inspired by a talk, a conversation, or attending a TED event that has improved our world.

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      Apr 23 2014: Simply Fantastic!

      This is an idea Worth spreading!
      And will forward that link to family and friends. :-D
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    Apr 23 2014: Hope you're on the road to recovery, Don. I think you have a great idea here. Would be nice for TED to follow up on any posts that appear to be working on a specific project. I was part of a design lab at TED Active this year that was investigating how to follow up on work that was accomplished at TED. I'll be curious to see if they adapted some of the suggestions.
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      Apr 23 2014: I’m doing much better, we often complain about western meds, but I’m thankful for them today. :)
      Getting sick at the start of a holiday weekend blows, and yes pun intended ;)

      I give you a standing ovation for being so active and proactive in TED and with your projects. You are a shining example for us all.
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    JB E

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    Apr 17 2014: About a year ago I watched a TED talk on indoor hydroponics for metro living. I was interested in the concept and so I pursued the website that was featured, and joined. After some trial and error I finally designed and built my own hydroponic system from recycled and repurposed materials that is small enough to fit in my apartment in front of a standard sized window and I grow my own tomatoes, pineapple and maybe zucchini next. Not that this is improving the world but I did take an engineers approach to it. I have successfully had it up and operating for a year threw winter producing more tomatoes than I can eat myself, so this could be considered proof of concept. I want to make this more like a household fixture that people wouldn't mind having in their living rooms, if more people grew their own foods themselves it would help the world at large as the industrial agriculture and transport industry is a very large carbon producer. Considering too all the chemicals used in agriculture and the toxic potential to the environment all could be reduced if what I did could catch on, and I wouldn't of even thought of it unless I wasnt a daily TED wacher.
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      Apr 21 2014: That is really exciting! Do you have the link for that talk? I live in St. Louis and can generally grow my own food a good part of the year. The extremes in winter and summer can be difficult to manage, though. Would love to have fresh tomatoes in January!! Seems that time of year I forget what a strawberry is supposed to taste like :)
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        JB E

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        Apr 21 2014:
        I started out with my own version of this window garden but then found out that it was limited in the type and size of the plants I wanted. I developed my own system that is bigger but allows some good size plants to grow in a window between 5 and 7 feet across. Mine has been running threw winter for about a year and it consistently produces more tomatoes than I can eat myself. It's controlled via electromechanical controls I built myself from old coffee maker and blender parts. I plan on using kitchen sink base cabinets to house the system so that it looks more like a piece of furniture than a science experiment and making more designs to show how it can be incorporated into someone's living room. Theoretically you can grow just about anything with this system by altering the cycles and nutrients and I have plans to design it to work as an aquaponic system as well.
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          Apr 23 2014: I just sent this on to our dietetics department, which has students investigating sustainability and technology-enhanced systems. Thanks so much for the info and links!!
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    Apr 17 2014: It is great to hear you have been able to pull off some amazing projects, and I know other TEDsters have been able to also. It makes me feel good to know I may have had a small part in some of them.

    Ted inspires people to be better, emotionally, mentally, environmentally, and in many other ways.
    For example how can a person measure the improvement to the world that Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter TED talk has done?
    You could measure by that it has had over 4 million views, but I think the comments say more as to how it has improved the world. Not by inspiring grand amazing projects, instead by inspiring millions of small projects and people to lead by example.

    Personally I have not planted millions of trees, but partially inspired by TED I have planted several trees, eatable and flowering plants. And think TED has inspired others to do the same, so all together TEDsters have likely planted millions.
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      Apr 21 2014: I agree! I love the comments even more than the talk sometimes. Although the ideas put forth by the speaker are obviously "worth spreading", the commentary gives a dimension that would not have been possible without that collaboration. I don't think you have to plant millions of trees to be effective, Don. You plant some yourself and how many people have you told about that? I know it now just because of your post and down the road maybe I'll have a question about which trees will give me bright red leaves in the fall. Can I look it up on Google? Sure. Would I rather engage in a conversation with Don about what he likes? Absolutely. Don't ever undervalue your influence in the digital age and in an economy based on trust! (oh, and I learned that on TED :)
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        Apr 22 2014: It could be just my flu/fever talking, but you’re making me blush, Thanks.

        I enjoy your topics, in fact I know other TEDsters have done amazing projects inspired by or improved by TED conversation. I was looking forward to hearing from some of them, for example I wonder what Ron Burnett did with his TED feed-back?

        I also love reading the replies/comments; it is great seeing topics from multiple viewpoints.
        I could go on, but with this flu I would likely start sounding drunk if I’m not all ready. ;)
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    Apr 23 2014: I just figured out you're in St. Louis, Don! If you ever need to play with some new technologies, be sure to stop by Fontbonne and see me! (
  • Apr 21 2014: The best Ted Idea was Ted itself by creating a system of permission for individuals to move through life unobstructed by those that have no imagination. Ted exemplifies life and how we all work together as one organism to improve our life cycle.

    An example of how Ted works: First the idea is planted, then nurtured with kindness, and when all things are done, it is given approval and support.
  • Apr 20 2014: Amy

    TED certainly has added more thought to the complexities of the world, but what are the 101 improvements that you speak of.?
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      Apr 21 2014: Chris, I responded to Bob below with some of the projects. These are major initiatives, but even participating in minor conversations gives me an idea that can gravitate toward something significant if I chew on it long enough :)
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    Apr 19 2014: Ted helps me to think better of the human being. When I notice there are many people working on projects only because they think their results may be good for them and for all, I feel myself a little more empowered and stimulated to keep myself open minded without a pause. May be a question of a healthy and polite envy.
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      Apr 21 2014: Great point, Sean. It's easy to watch the news and think poorly of our species. Even if I don't necessarily agree to the means of a certain talk or conversation, the intent behind almost everything here is to improve the human condition. That's where these conversations are so useful. People have been able to add "did you think about..." remarks that only improve on an original plan.
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        Apr 22 2014: Amy, I agree. '..People have been able..." translates exactly what I think about.
  • Apr 18 2014: I think a lot.
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    Apr 17 2014: TED

    TED + Internet(Accessible) = ME:) + Shared( At Cafe, Schools, Offices and etc = More Me + Inspired = Spark Of Passion
    + Collaborate ( Auto Add Trials ) = Innovations + Maturity = Boost of Passion + Brainstorm = Social Innovations(Sustainability Included If needed) = Visionary

    TED really change the world piece by piece :)
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    Apr 17 2014: generally it changes my understanding more than anything I do practically speaking. what has it changed that you actually do practically speaking?
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      Apr 21 2014: I actually have a massive list, Greg, but the reason I put the question out there is because I got back from TED a few weeks ago and I have no less than 20 projects that spawned from that trip alone. I think the one project I just completed that came almost entirely from TED conversations is our Center for Educational and Emerging Technology on campus. It's a hub for new technology that is either very promising for the classroom or completely unknown. In the case of the latter, we put it in the hands of students in a design lab and have them try to find a creative use for it. This came not only from talks about new technology, but about the importance of connecting people from different backgrounds, the value of community effort, and reasons why failure is a critical part of innovation.
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        Apr 21 2014: sometimes i try to inspire others by the conversations i initiate. For instance, I started one that was pretty successful in terms of comments received about how you could occasionally go out in the world in your pajamas and bathrobe. I ran one saying we should design a sport women and men could compete at equally. I have one going now to try to get people to use their "bad" hand more, their left hand if they're right-handed, their right hand if they're left-handed. I have a second one going now that encourages people if they hear about a story that would interest the media to let the media know about it just on a volunteer basis. I believe you could see my convos at the link But so far I can't think that anyone has said they would use any of these ideas, except Jacob said he might try to use his left hand more.

        Actually, Amy, maybe you should inform your local media about the TED-inspired projects you're doing, perhaps one of them is good enough to get written up in a newspaper, or get on the radio or television?
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    Apr 16 2014: You have a point, David, but actually I should have been a bit more clear. Although the organization itself does a lot to harness these ideas, suggest improvements, and provide a forum to get them out, by "TED" I really meant the community members as well. For years, I've put conversations and ideas out to the community and have been able to pull off some amazing projects with their collaboration.
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      Apr 17 2014: Amy, I have read your conversations and have replied to many ... I had no idea we were involved in projects for you. Since you mentioned that we were collaborators ... could you share some of the success stories that we assisted in. Knowing that we were are apart of a "amazing project" would make us feel better about how we respond to TED ... and the value of our responses.

      Thanks in advance. Bob.
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        Apr 21 2014: Bob, your contributions have been a huge part of the work I've done! I've copied part of my response to Greg below as it relates to the center only, but I've also looked back over my conversations and added some of the minor projects and initiatives that have come from those.

        One project I just completed that came almost entirely from TED conversations is our Center for Educational and Emerging Technology on campus ("my technology toy room" and "best way to display TED talks" posts). It's a hub for new technology that is either very promising for the classroom or completely unknown. In the case of the latter, we put it in the hands of students in a design lab and have them try to find a creative use for it. This came not only from talks about new technology, but also those about the importance of connecting people from different backgrounds, the value of community effort, and reasons why failure is a critical part of innovation.

        ...aaaaandd the other conversations:

        "What will it take for everyone to become a teacher" is transforming into free webinars for anyone in the community who would like to be a guest speaker and learn about easy and useful technologies to use and tips to connect with the students. We're also playing with the idea of a more critical role in the classroom for guest speakers who will eventually become more like "secondary instructors".

        The educational entrepreneur talk was used to launch a conversation about alternate degree programs to encourage teachers to think in more innovative ways about their work.

        More personally, I have revisited "sustaining a change" and "when to push and when to move on" anytime I'm stuck and not sure if I should abandon something or press on. I also asked advice on the TED application, which was quite useful when I submitted my application. All of this doesn't even include my list from the conference itself.

        SO keep those great comments coming Bob! This unfinished list affected at least 200 people
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    Apr 16 2014: I think you are giving a lot of credit to TED (although I love TED as well). Did TED really improve the world or just make some things more well known?

    I am amazed at how many colleagues have never heard of TED. At least 50% of people I ask and these are primarily physicians and educated people. If you work in tech I assume most people will know of TED.

    I would love to see some smaller, specialized TEDx events (like TEDMED)