Posts Tagged TEDtalks

My 12 favourite TED Talks

Many people have already discovered TED Talks, or have seen some footage of one. A conference scene that involves short presentations on ‘ideas worth spreading’ in the field of technology, entertainment and design, TED provides freely viewable recordings of select talks on their site (and through their app).

One of the most famous TED Talks amongst educators would have to be Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 talk on how schools kill creativity. If you’ve never gotten around to seeing this video, I highly recommend it – I even set it as a ‘reading’ in the opening weeks of my curriculum studies unit. With almost 10.5 million views to date, the talk was such a hit that Sir Ken was invited to follow it up in 2010 with a second talk, Bring on the learning revolution!

But what’s there in TED for an English teacher, besides Sir Ken?

This topic came up a few weeks ago on the #ozengchat Tuesday night stream and I had a few suggestions ready to go. One of my favourite talks of all time is one of the first I saw – by David Griffin onhow photography connects us.I love to show it to classes that are about to start a unit on digital storytelling, or picture books :)

I have quite a few favourite TED Talks, and looking at the collection of downloaded talks on my iPad, I thought it would be good to post my collection (so far) up here on the blog. I’d love to hear about which ones you’ve seen and liked, or which ones you would recommend. Here’s my list:

TED talks ipad screenshot

LINKS TO MY TOP 12 TED TALKS:

Sherry Turkle (2012): Connected, but alone?

Seth Priebatsch (2010): The game layer on top of the world

Sarah Kay (2011): If I should have a daughter

Rives (2007): Rives on 4am

Rives (2006): Rives controls the internet

Jonathan Harris (2007): Jonathan Harris collects stories

Joe Sabia (2011): The technology of storytelling

Geoff Mulgan (2011): A short intro to the studio school

Erin McKean (2007): Erin McKean redefines the dictionary

Emily Pilloton (2010): Teaching design for change

David Griffin (2008): On how photography connects us

Chip Kidd (2012): Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is.

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Building the game layer

Thanks Andrew Jessup for showing me the work of Seth Priebatsch, who as it turns out has a lot of material covering the exact topic that has been bugging me.

How do I integrate Games Based Learning, or GBL, into my pedagogy without disrupting or contradicting my current approach to learning and teaching?

I think the idea of ‘the game layer’ is the answer.  I think it’s also a great concept for me to use in thinking further about the role of motivation and learning theory in explaining the success of teachers who ‘gamify’ their teaching.

Seth is the Cheif Ninja at SCVNGR and the use of the popular game meme here did make me chuckle.  Playful right down to the business card eh?  I like it!  Especially as I’ve been characterising myself in class as the ‘Cheif Pirate’.  I wonder who that is in Seth’s camp, and what they do?

I highly recommend a watch.  He has quite a few talks online now but this TED talk (above) gave a great overview of four key elements that build a successful game.

Watch the video and your reward will be to find out what they are ;)

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Women seal it with a kiss

Whether you liked the tone of Julia Gillard’s address to the US Congress or you thought it was an “unnecessary suck“, you can’t deny that she made some powerful statements.  Her insistence that Trade = Jobs was a clear signal to Congress that a policy of trade with Australia would be of more benefit in the long run to the US economy than the protectionist farming subsidies that are currently under consideration.

The other powerful statement of course was the flaming red/orange (let’s call it vermilion?) jacket that she wore for the speech.  It had such a visual impact, drawing the eye straight to her, guaranteeing she was the focus.  It was so bright that it dulled the red in her own hair, and it also occurred to me that it was near enough to ‘Labor red’ to count as an attempt at branding.

Why am I so interested in Julia’s clothes?

I recently watched a TED Talk given by Madeleine Albright about being a woman and a diplomat.  She told an excellent story about how and why she started using her jacket pins (or brooches) to symbolise her stance and attitude while she was Secretary of State.  It’s a fascinating idea.  On one hand of course so infuriating that women have to pay such close attention to their costume while men’s choices in business attire very rarely attracts a second glance.  This only goes so far though – I guarantee that if a dude showed up to address congress in a bright red jacket, we’d be talking about it!

But the potential for using costume intentionally to codify our position or beliefs…I can’t say that I would rather we all wore grey suits cut from virtually the same cloth.  And in this increasingly visual age isn’t it natural for us to increasingly draw on visual codes and conventions to communicate meaning?

If you haven’t come across Madeleine Albright’s talk before, I recommend it.  It’s a 13 minute long interview and contains one of my new favourite quotes of all time:

There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.

Enjoy!

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Sir Ken Robinson FTW!

The first TED talk I ever watched was by Ken Robinson, and I was enthralled and moved to reconsider my own practice by his explanation of how schools work to kill creativity.

He now has a book out called Element . Thanks to Raman for posting a link to this five minute interview with Sir Ken about the new book and his views on standardized testing:

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The power of time off #TED

The word of the day…sabbatical!

My new dream retirement plan, and some fascinating insights into design, in a TED Talk by Stefan Sagmeister:

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Alain de Botton: Career anxiety and success #TED

An appropriate talk to listen to on a Sunday night before school, when bed beckons, and the marking pile still looms…

Alain de Botton talk about career anxiety and the philosophy of career sucess in this TED Talk:

For me, they normally happen – these career crises – on a Sunday evening; just as the sun is starting to set, and the gap between my hopes for myself and the reality of my life start to diverge so painfully that I normally end up weeping into a pillow.  I’m mentioning all this because I think this is not merely a personal problem…

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Tribes #TED

Seth Godin talks to TED 2009 about how, rather than homogonising everyone, then internet has instead lead us to form TRIBES. He explains how:

  • People on the fringes can now  find each other, connect and go somewhere.
  • It is tribes, not money or factories, that can change our world…that can align large numbers of people.
  • What we do now for a living in today’s society is: find something worth changing, then assemble tribes, which assemble other tribes etc. until it becomes something bigger than us – a movement.
  • Leaders challenge the status quo, and build a culture and a community to connect people to a cause.

What are you changing?

Who are you connecting with?

Who are you leading?

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Arts and Sciences not seperate #TED

In this TED talk Mae Jemison makes some very poetic and logical arguments for teaching the Arts and the Sciences in a more integrated way, and about the importance of promoting human creativity, which she explains is found in both the Arts and Sciences:

The talk was interesting in itself, but the reason why I found this Ted talk so appealing was that it again got me thinking about the inter-related nature of the acts of reading and writing, and of what our English syllabus in NSW calls responding (reading, listening and viewing) and composing (writing, speaking, and visually representing).  You might already have spotted a problem with these divisions – although the syllabus names reading as an act of responding (because it involves thinking about and having a response to what is read), one can also write or speak a ‘response’, yet those acts are names as acts of composing.  Do you follow? ;)

The distinction being made in the syllabus however, is not really between the acts of reading and writing (for example), but between acts that involve responsive or comprehensive thought processes, and acts that involve original or creative thought processes.

Jemison is critical of the way we have been taugh to regard ‘intuitive’ and ‘analytical’ thought processes as seperate – to see ourselves and others as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’; ‘artists’ or ‘scientists’; ‘destructors’ or ‘constructors’.  While it may be handy for working out assessment task weightings to distinguish between acts such as listening and writing (although we will often test listening by getting kids to write down what they understood!), it is one way in which we reinforce the artificial binary of intuition and analysis.

One must be intuitive to be truly analytical.  One may work very methodically to acheive originality or create art.  Good English teachers understand this, and continue to promote creativity in all its forms.

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Beautiful Math #TED

An absolutely excellent TED talk from Margaret Wertheim: The beautiful math that links coral, crochet and hyperbolic geometry.

This talk reminded me a lot of the intersection between mathematics, beauty and life that is explored in McBurney/Complicite’s play A Disappearing Number.  From the production’s website:

Threaded through this pattern of stories and ideas are questions. About mathematics and beauty; imagination and the nature of infinity; about what is continuous and what permanent; how we are attached to the past and how we affect the future; how we create and how we love.

What a delightfully philospohical space to sit and think in!  Enjoy.

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Twitter #TED

Recently for some reason unknown to me I have found myself often amongst students and colleagues hating on Twitter.  The thing is…they haven’t tried it.

Of course, people are allowed to have opinions, even when they are not based on any real knowledge or experience.  But I have been a bit surprised by how quickly, and with what venom, people are ready to leap into attack mode when someone mentions Twitter.

Wow, some people must really think they are important – as if anyone cares about your sad life.

Don’t people have anything better to do?

Who could be bothered checking to see if someone posted some random note.

As if I want to hear about the boring details of someone else’s life!

It’s a place where sad-cases can find out what P. Diddy is doing every minute of everyday.

Narcissists!

Yesterday a penny dropped for me, and I realised a big reason why I find these comments so unsettling: Why are people so determined to express how much they DON’T care about anyone else’s world?  Sure, meeting in person is a ‘nicer’ way to be closer to people you know, but these comments don’t smack of pro-embodied-socialising; they just reek of tall poppy syndrome and a bunch of I-don’t-care.

I’m hoping some teachers on our school technology committee will start dabbling in Twitter soon, so I can start making the rich professional connections in school that I currently need to seek out of school.  I found this TED Talk on Twitter very interesting, and I’ll pass it on to my colleagues soon:

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