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Posts Tagged ‘TED’

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The TED conferences have recently been in the local news with their announcement about the global conference moving to Vancouver and Whistler in 2014, but TEDxMania IS coming to West Vancouver this May. Of course, since June 2006, when Sir Ken Robinson spoke at TED on creativity, the education world has been captivated with TED.  Since then, TED videos have become integral to classrooms and to our professional learning.

And since then, an off-shoot from the TED conferences — the TEDx events — has been created:

“Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, ‘ideas worth spreading,’ the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.”

I have had the opportunity to speak at a TEDx (UBC), where I shared my story of working with students during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I really loved the event format because speakers had to be concise with their presentation within an 18-minute time limit. The format also lent itself to participant discussion between presentations, with a good mix of ideas from people in a wide-range of fields and with different perspectives; it was live-streamed on the web and afterward archived on YouTube, and it was focused on ideas. Talks from that day, like the one Barry MacDonald gave on Boy Smarts, I reference to this day. I was also so impressed with those who volunteered to organize the event because it is a huge undertaking, but a wonderful service for the community.

That said, two groups in West Vancouver have caught the TEDx bug and are setting up for an exciting May:

TEDxWestVancouverED comes from the dedication of four thoughtful and passionate West Vancouver teachers – Craig Cantlie, Cari Wilson, Brooke Moore and Garth Thomson. The event, first hatched at an EdCamp in Delta last fall, is focussed on the future of education and asking some big questions, sharing ideas, and inspiration. Their event, at the Kay Meek Centre on May 11, will celebrate and also challenge – it is the very best of our profession. I am honoured that I have been asked to speak, and I am busily trying to recast a previous blog post on Some of My Parenting Wishes into a TED-worthy presentation.

The second event is TEDxKids@Ambleside, also at the Kay Meek Centre, on Friday, May 17 (for many BC schools this is a professional development day). Focused on curiosity and wonder, and led by the ever-dynamic, Grade 7 student, Qayam (also the event’s curator and founder), it is taking on real shape. The event is also supported by a team of students who would rival any organizing committee in their dedication, focus and execution. It is a thrill to be a support for these students, seeing the event gel, watching them solicit sponsors, weed through speaker candidates, promote via social media and turn a concept and idea into a solid event. Currently, the organizing committee is in the final days of accepting speakers, and has already filled more than 50% of participant seating for the day. The event is truly by the kids, for the kids and will feature some amazingly powerful young speakers.

The power of TED is the engagement that takes place on the day of the event, but it is also what Sir Ken and others have shown – the spreading of good ideas and the sharing of videos that emerge to give these ideas legs. Hopefully, many in my network will be able to attend one or both of the upcoming events, either in person or virtually “full of good ideas worth sharing.”

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Twitter, or more specifically those who I connect with using it, has influenced my thinking and work in a number of ways. Although, from time to time, I do hear “Twitter is a waste of time,” my experience has been that if it is a waste of time you are following the wrong people.  While it is not the greatest tool for a discussion, or the best place to share deep, thoughtful commentary, it is a wonderful place to connect.

Here are the three ways it has influenced me as I look ahead to the next couple months:

My kids won’t be joining the library book club this summer

Every summer, we go to the local public library to get our sticker book and then make the weekly visits collecting stickers and exchanging books.  If there is one topic I have been most influenced on this year, it is likely the use of rewards and motivation.  From the powerful examples of Daniel Pink in Drive, to the sharing of Alfie Kohn’s work, to the thoughtful discussions around the use of awards in school from local educators like Chris Wejr,  I am much more conscious now of using external motivators.  I want my kids to love reading, and not because of a sticker.  I am not as firm in my belief as some of those on Twitter around external motivators, like stickers or candy, I am much more conscious of it now than I was a year ago.

I am not going to any major conference this summer

Once students leave for their break, it is often an ideal time for adult learning.  In past years, that has included attending a major conference — whether it be an event hosted by ASCD or the Building Learning Communities.  These major conferences are a wonderful way to be invigorated, connect to wonderful educators, and meet informally with many people who may only be previously known through their blog.  It is just not the only way to do it anymore.  There are many other choices and options.  Twitter allows me to drop in to a number of conferences across North America by following along with the conference hashtags.  Many of the major presenters are also streamed live for those who are not in attendance.  There is absolutely something about “being there” but it is not the only way.  For less money and travel I can sample a number of different events, and learn from a range of thoughtful leaders.

We are going to try un-conferencing with our administrators

I have been fascinated by the growth of the “un-conference” as shared on Twitter. So many people I follow describe their experiences as the best professional learning of their lives.  Whether it is the informal learning that is associated with TEDx events, the Edcamp events that seem to be all the rage in British Columbia, or a range of other participant-driven events, there are more people moving away from structuring professional learning around a series of “sit and get” Powerpoint presentations.  It is common to hear educators talk about Birds of a Feather events, lightning talks and world cafes.

We hold an annual summer conference with our school administrators and will try to model the un-conference format.  Our August event has often been heavy on information and outside speakers.  We will try to use some less structured formats that take aspects of the Edcamp model, and also experiment with Pecha Kucha (another term I hadn’t heard before Twitter).

I will probably blog a little less frequently over the next two months, but I will be learning and growing on Twitter.

All the best for a wonderful summer break and thanks for your ongoing support and engagement in this space.

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