George Brett

Cyber Diplomat / Senior Web Applications & Data Analyst, Defense Acquisition University / GLTC / GDIT
Falls Church, VA, United States

About George

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autodidactic techno arsty craftsy eclecticist

I've been working since 1983 with Research and Education (Higher Ed & K12), Libraries, community networks, and other organizations to help them understand and implement new computer, communications, and information technologies into their work, research, and education.

I'm George Brett and I've been involved with technology and network applications in education, community and libraries since the 1980's. Most work done with higher education communities. But my favorite year 1996 was spent working with the Boulder Public Library.

Recently a friend asked, "What's your elevator speech?" As I sit here I realize that at heart I'm a teacher and as a teacher there can be no short answer. Basically, I believe that technology is a tool kit with increasing number of tools of varying application and utility. The trick and joy is in matching the right tools with the right people to the right solutions. I have been blessed to be successful for a long time in communicating and connecting people to the right technologies.


English, German, Latin

Areas of Expertise

Photography, Metal Smithing, sculpture, Teaching, tech transfer, Information Technology, Publishing, fiber and textiles, social networking, Cyber Diplomacy

An idea worth spreading

There is a lot to learn from the past when technology limitations kept innovation from happening. There is even more to learn from our children who have not read any manuals that may limit their imagination and creation of new applications from daily objects and technology.

I'm passionate about

Education, Art, Design for the Real World, Truth, Accountability, Love, Friendship, Social-Media, Learning from Elements and Patterns of the Past to re-Frame for the Future

Talk to me about

Your preferences for digital photography or how to make junk into fun, useful stuff or at least Art.

People don't know I'm good at

cooking, public speaking

My TED story

I met RS Wurman in the late 80's and followed his work from then. I have wished to attend TED since he started it all. I have been an Associate now since you all started it and have spread word around parts of the DC Beltway.

TED stirs my heart, my imagination, and gives me a strength to think dangerous thoughts of new and exciting things to do.

Thank you TEDsters! You All behind the curtains and those of you around the World.
Love, Peace, and Holding You All in the Light
George Brett (not the baseball player)

ps I have participated in TEDx DC in addition to being a TED Associate since 2009.

Comments & conversations

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George Brett
Posted about 3 years ago
We need better tools for cooperation - not just better tools for our existing ways of communicating.
This is a good question, but perhaps the issue is not so much technology or software, but better understanding of the cultural divides between folks. I see these divides within higher education. Each discipline has differing methodologies and expectations. Some are open and others closed to new and different communication means. I have moderated workshops where we have spent the first day just developing an understanding of how the different communities work and then trying to create a common vocabulary so we can move forward to a common goal. Cultural differences, varied vocabulary, and expectations need to be flattened or modified into a level playing field then collaboration can be more productive.
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George Brett
Posted about 3 years ago
How to use doodling at work? How does it improve creativity?
Among other possibilities the doodles may relate to the topic at hand. Makes me think about Dan Roam's books about "The Back of the Napkin" and its companion workbook. Also, the 1957 classic "Thinking with a pencil" by Henning Nelms. Plus, some folks doodle with mind maps creating links to ideas from the presenters. The bottom line is to get the doodlers to share the story of their graphics and text with their colleagues.
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George Brett
Posted about 3 years ago
Making ideas "open source"
I agree and have been collecting open projects. There is an older version of my MindMap using FreeMind online at You can pick a graphic Flash based version (click on the nodes to expand or contract the topic) or a JavaScript outline format to explore (click on the plus signs + to expand the topic). cORdially, geORge brett @ghbrett
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George Brett
Posted about 3 years ago
How do we capture the collective wisdom and engage the global TEDx communities?
Sharing the stories and experiences we have learned from real-time TED and online, streaming TED. I think structured categorization as well as folksonomy (people tagging) would help folks to find information relevant to them. As far as technology goes -- use them all from face-to-face meetings, salons or 2 way video conferences; printed books, graphic comics, eBooks, PDFs, ASCII text; audio tapes and podcasts, VHS tapes - DVDs- and Streaming Video; and how about 3D rendering of objects mentioned in the TED events. Like Mail Art in the past, chain mail letters & email -- use media channels to pass it on. Informally -- to friends, colleagues and family. Formally -- donate to schools, libraries, hospitals, government officials, and prisons. Sharing is the key. Cheers, geORge brett @ghbrett
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George Brett
Posted about 3 years ago
Are Educational Institutions responding to the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st Century?
typical story of my life: I just skimmed the other comments, but here are my thoughts any way. Here are a couple of my observations: 1) There usually is some kind of scapegoat, whether shiny new theories from Schools of Education or Fed up Teachers and now the shiny new toys of Technology. 2) There is a long history of rigid, formal process versus guided discovery. 3) There will always be children who while growing older sustain self-driven desire and need to learn more whether in formal setting, from mentors, or from their own experiences. 4) Mentor/student or Master/Apprentice has been around for a long time, I see it beginning to happen again in person or at a distance via communication technologies. 4) Education can be a paradox -- the more I've seen children and adults be subjected to classes; the more I see them shut down and turn off to retaining what is being stuffed into their 5 senses. And so on -- basically, I think the challenge I had and have experienced with my two adult daughters is how to stimulate, support and keep a person interested, excited, a life long learner of primary, secondary, and new skills, continued scholarship, improved communication, etc., etc. With end results of being a more informed individual and hopefully a person who contributes in return to society or at least to other folks. I appreciate recent trends in tinkering (e.g., John Seely Brown), making (e.g., O'Reilly), community (e.g., Howard Rheingold), sharing (e.g., Charles Leadbetter), and Open Systems like the Meta Univeristy c/o Charles Vest. cORdially, geORge brett, autodidactic arty techo eclecticist @ghbrett