Thomas Gilligan

London Uk, United Kingdom

About Thomas


After studying at St. Cuthbert's High School in Rochdale I went on to study Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford where I specialised in early Islamic theology and the archaeology of the Old Testament. While studying i worked extensively in museum education and worked with egyptology collection in orde to make them useable my school children. When i graduated i returned to Oxford to study for my teaching qualification where I researched the problems associated with introducing new technologies into school environments. Upon graduation i commenced work at the London Academy of Excellence which is a Sixth Form college in the borough of Newham set up to take students who lack educational opportunities and help them gain places at the UK's top universities.

Areas of Expertise

Religious Education, theology & philosophy

An idea worth spreading

Anywhere can be a classroom. Everywhere should be a classroom. The UN have declared that every child has the right to an education and if we want to make this a reality then we need to equalise global classroom provision. This doesn’t mean standardise it. We need to take the tools, skills and solutions of education and make them globally applicable. Interactive whiteboards are great but unless they fit in a rucksack and run off a battery you can forget using them in rural Peru. By using the internet to create a global staffroom and inviting teachers to become tinkerers both with theory and technology we can start to build anywhere classrooms; super-schools in a rucksacks.

I'm passionate about

I'm passionate about education, and finding new ways of telling the stories of our world to new generations.

Talk to me about

Education, religion, innovation and equality.

People don't know I'm good at

Building things.

My TED story

The first TED talk i ever watched was about KIVA. I watched it on my friends iPod and immediately had to find out where it had come from. As soon i returned to my computer, and after investing in a bakery in Afganistan, I sat down and let TED unfold before me. I show my students TED talks when i want to leave them with their eyes wide open and their heads full of crazy ideas. i love TED because it's where crazy ideas are real.

Comments & conversations

Thomas Gilligan
Posted about 3 years ago
What have you accomplished in response to a TEDTalk?
So far it is a standalone device that utilises the Raspberry Pi computer in order that it can all run on the same power format. It's very much a proto-type at the moment and part of a wider education project that i am working on that aims to get teachers more involved with hands of educational problem solving.
Thomas Gilligan
Posted about 3 years ago
Within learning communities, how do we educate youth about the ethos of TED and get them excited about contributing to the TEDx community?
I'm a teacher at s Sixth Form college in London and we plan to set up a TED club for our students next year. We work with students who don't always have the best opportunities but have passion and enthusiasm to learn. The plan is to show our students the talks, have discussion groups based on them but most importantly to try and put some of the ideas into action in our school community and in our wider community. We plan to take some students to a TEDx event and get them involved in that way. It would be even better if we could host a TEDx youth event. The idea is not that we educate them about TED but that TED can be incorporated into education.
Thomas Gilligan
Posted about 3 years ago
In an individualistic world where autonomy is a requirement for human-involvement, should conversation be mandatory?
I think that this phenomenon is not just something that happens with our neighbours. I'm sure we have all been in te situation of being in the same room as someone that you "kind of know", the friend of a friend that you met at a party. You look at them and they look at you but you aren't 100% sure of their name and they can't remember where they met you. So you both stand awkwardly in the room and the tension mounts until you can never say "hello". We paralyse the possibility of friendship because we fear looking foolish. I think the same is true of our neighbours. We all know that we should know them better and everyone of us is a little embarrassed that we don't. At a conference nobody is expected to know everybody else and so there is no tension. The total ignorance means that we feel happy to talk. However, transport yourself a few months from the conference and imagine you see a man on the tube. Is it Dave? ... or was it Simon?.... he isn't looking at you so perhaps you've got the wrong person entirely...