TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 2

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hasan Elahi: FBI, here I am!

Courtesy of TED.com

“When Hasan Elahi’s name was added (by mistake) to the US government’s watch list, he fought the assault on his privacy by turning his life inside-out for all the world to see.”

Common Sense Media provides great materials for teachers and students about the concept of a digital footprint. Hasan Elahi’s talk fit in with the message we were trying to convey to the 8th grade.  I love how he shows another view of what a digital footprint could be and how you can have a say about what is out there about you. It’s also pretty entertaining!

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Andrew Stanton has made you laugh and cry. The writer behind the three “Toy Story” movies and the writer/director of “WALL-E,” he releases his new film, “John Carter,” in March.”

We used this talk to introduce the art of storytelling during an interdisciplinary unit with 8th grade English students. Andrew Stanton tells a good story and delivers a great talk.

**Warning** The beginning of this talk contains a “Not Safe For School” joke. After 1:10, it is safe for students. We edited that part out before we showed it.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Courtesy of TED.com

“Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.”

I know that this TED talk is the most watched ever, but how many students have seen it? In my opinion we don’t include students enough in conversations about their education. What do students think when they hear Sir Ken Robinson’s talk? I included this talk as an option for the 8th graders as we were exploring project ideas. I wanted them to start thinking about their education and how they could start to look for some topics they would be interested in exploring.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Courtesy of TED.com

“The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.”

I love this talk because it gets right to the heart of improvement and learning. We asked students several times this year to give each other constructive feedback, and they are terrible at it. Everything they say to each other is nice and supportive, but not constructive. When someone does offer constructive feedback there is so much tension and defensiveness that nothing is gained. Constructive feedback is welcome on this topic.

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 1

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada

Courtesy of TED.com

“When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.”

I used this talk to introduce project ideas to the 8th grade. For the most part, they struggled with the concept of self-guided learning.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

Courtesy of TED.com

“A prolific short story writer and blogger since age seven, Adora Svitak (now 12) speaks around the United States to adults and children as an advocate for literacy.”

I showed this talk to 6th graders to inspire them to “do” what they are passionate about. Too often we hear adults say things like “you aren’t old enough.” I want our students to know that they aren’t too young to affect change and make an impact.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.”

We were working with the 6th grade on an interdisciplinary project with University of Rochester, Professor of Geophysics, Dr. Cynthia J. Ebinger, which involved trying to understand another culture. I love the powerful message in this talk. It relates directly to one of our school initiatives, the “Global IQ.”

TED Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.

To learn more about TED Ed, got to http://ed.ted.com/about

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

Twitter & TEDxFlourCity

This year I had the good fortune to attend two local TEDx conferences. TEDxRochester and TEDxFlourCity. Both events were outstanding and well organized. I walked away impressed by the great people and ideas that Rochester has to offer.

If you are unfamiliar with TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and the concept of TED it’s well worth your time to explore the TED website. I am constantly learning and inspired by the great speakers that I have found on their website.

Saturday, June 9th, was TEDxFlourCity at the Rochester Academy of Medicine in Rochester, NY. There was a fantastic offering of speakers. It was well planned and organized. The host, Matthew Bukowski, was entertaining and funny. The food was delicious and eclectic, the venue was homey and comfortable.

I could spend time evaluating and summarizing the speakers, but my colleague Amy Bonner (@artwithmsb) did an excellent job of that already in a blog post (TEDxFlourCity). So, I am going to focus on something that I experienced at TEDxFlourCity that was unexpected.

I was alone when I picked my seat in the small auditorium. I sat close to the wall so I could get a good view of the stage. The first speaker, Dan Tylee, used bread as a cultural metaphor for connecting  with others. I thought this was a great way to start the conference. He even hid bread in small bags under the seats in the auditorium, a sort of Oprah moment. The idea was to introduce yourself to the people seated around you and “break bread” with them. It was a nice ice breaker. So, being a twitter head, I tweeted:

#tedxflourcity Bread as a metaphor for cultural diversity.”

Then I turned around and “broke bread” with the people sitting around me. The person sitting directly behind me introduced herself as Alicia (@YogAlicia3). The next thing out of her mouth was “are you tweeting”, which I was. She was also live tweeting the conference. Her first tweet was in response to the standard “please turn off your cell phones” request.

#tedxflourcity Put phones away? Disagree… I promise to keep it quiet, but am planning to stay on Twitter. :)”

So, needless to say we hit if off. We live tweeted the entire day and shared in a conversation with other attendees and people who were unable to attend but were following the conference via the hashtag “#tedxflourcity”.

At one of the breaks, Alicia was asked by the organizers of TEDxChemugRiver in Corning, NY, if we would be willing to attend their conference in November to help with the live twitter stream.

Since then, I have continued to share articles and blog posts with Alicia. I am also following several of the presenters and attendees from the conference. For me the true power of social media and twitter comes from the connections you can make. It can turn a conference with 100 or more people into a personal conversation. Ideas can be shared, connections can be made and conversations can continue in ways that just weren’t possible before.

I have referred back to #TEDxFlourCity several times after the conference. I go there to reflect on the day, to look up information about the speakers, to write this post… The entire conference has been cataloged for anyone who wants to learn about it.

All in all it was a great day! Did I mention that Twitter rocks?

My Favorite Talk From Tedx Rochester

This year I attended Tedx Rochester and it was amazing! I know that in the past I have taken for granted all of the awesome happenings that go on, in and around Rochester, NY. However, the TEDx Rochester event was eye opening for me. Dr. Mark Noble’s talk was, in my opinion, the most inspiring. Dr. Noble is a Professor of Genetics and of Neurobiology and Anatomy  at the University of Rochester. In his talk he discuses the research his lab is conducting on stem cells and the potential breakthroughs with implications in all areas of epidemiology. Thanks to TEDxRochester publishing all of the videos from the conference I now have a chance to share it with as many people as I can. Clear your schedule, sit down, and take the time to watch his 17 minute presentation. You will not regret it.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

My View of TEDxRochester

So, my head is still swimming from my trip to TEDxRochester at Geva Theater. It was the first time I have ever attended a TEDx event and it was a great experience. I am a huge fan of TED Talks, and I frequently comb their website looking for something new to watch. I am a believer in the “Ideas worth spreading” philosophy, which is the TED tagline.If you aren’t familiar with TED, it stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. I won’t get into all the historical particulars, but TED represents more just those three things. For me, as an educator, I find many of the talks inspirational. They have given me a different perspective and appreciation for what is going on in the world. We are so blessed to live in a world with so many brilliant and engaging people who are willing to talk about their passions and share their stories. It is truly inspiring!Back to today. It’s one thing to see the TED Talks online, and completely different to be in the audience. From a professional development perspective, I know that everyone of our faculty would have found at least one of the talks today relevant to their curriculum.The first talk was from college student, Adam Walker. He, and some fellow students are developing a way to give cheap, safe, clean and renewable electricity to rural areas in developing countries. The name of his company is Kosovo Wind Gardens. This talk was a science teachers dream. It had some many cool aspects, from social responsibility to engineering.And so went the rest of the day. The librarians would have appreciated the talk by Andrew Perry, Associate Director of the Writing Center at RIT. The music and band teachers would have enjoyed the talk by Dr. Christopher Azzarra from the Eastman school. The health, science and social scientists would have found the talk by Ashley Aberg engaging and thought provoking. Still more for the science teachers from a group called, Prove Your World.My favorite talk of the day was by Professor Mark Noble from the University of Rochester Medical Center. He talked about the use of stem cells to treat of major diseases. It was nothing short of awe inspiring. Based on the “oohs and aahs” from the crowd, I know they were equally as impressed. The potential implications and the medical benefits he spoke of are truly life altering.

Overall, I was very impressed by the amazing stories and resources Rochester has to offer. I will do my part to spread the word and ideas that I heard today. I will post the link to the talks as soon as they are available.