Exposure, Experiences and Speed Dating Ideas with TED

For my entire academic career, aside from Educon, I have only attended events meant for educators only, which until now was perfectly normal. It was the way that we have always done it…which as we all know, is the destroyer of progress.

“Idea dating” isn’t new to most of us in education, especially if we are on social media. Someone shares something…a brilliant glimpse into their classroom, a lesson, initiative, project…a moment that has reinvigorated their school. We do this always and because we understand that we are better because of what we share and try in our own environments, it has become a significant necessity in progressive education.

Idea dating with TED. Join me, won't you?

Idea dating with TED. Join me, won’t you?

But…this “idea dating” was different. This was taking place over a 6 day period, with over 1000 attendees from all over the world and countless professional perspectives. “This”…the TED Global Summit, was a euphoric once in a lifetime exploration of one’s beliefs and boundaries…but really, an experience meant to challenge both.

And it did

Here’s the deal, if we continue education as normal…a walled garden of standards that kids have to learn while ignoring local and global problems…we are not truly educating. We are preparing kids to work…not lead. If you think that this isn’t problematic, then I encourage you to join me in speed dating more ideas…ideas beyond the scope of what we consider “educational”.

Newsflash…The world is educational and it’s time that we invite it in.

Tidbits from TED


Selfie with Zak Ebrahim

The TED-ED team selected 30 brilliant educators as Innovative Educators and all were invited to the TED Summit. This was the most diverse of all “selective edu groups” that I’ve ever been in. It can be done people! It can be done!

I want to live my life with eyes wide open, fully aware of my assumptions and fears. TED speaker, Isaac Lidsky taught me that.

When more of us are willing to take a “trust leap”…new and different ways of doing what we’ve always done, the systems that we’ve always known can change. A lesson from Rachel Botsman

Esra’a Al-Shafei, founder of Mideast Tunes, is the biggest bad-ass that I’ve ever seen and her determination is legendary. Being able to actually tell her that myself meant more to me than she will remember.

I accidentally ended up in a Q&A with Daniel Pink. Where else does that happen? This was my biggest takeaway…”Listen as if you know nothing and you will learn.” This ONE quote made my moment! Also, “Exposure and Experiences” make the difference in what we believe and how we view the world. This, to me, is the definition of what education should be about.

Kymberlee Weil literally just made me strip and rewrite every “talk” that I’ve ever given. With her, I learned to craft and tell my signature story…the single most transformative 90 minutes of my entire life!

Zak Ebrahim, author of The Terrorist Son, is one of the most genuine humans that I’ve ever met. I started his book months ago but didn’t finish it. Then, I was approached to join a table with two presenters…working to streamline their sessions. One of those people was Zak. I stayed awake that night and finished his entire book. Then, I watched his TED talk and I haven’t been the same since. Thank you Sharon, for serendipitously coming to our table for that moment!

I may or may not have hyperventilated when I met Sarah Parcak. I was able to tell her what that meant seeing her on Colbert and sharing that moment with students. I had no idea that “space archaeologist” was even a thing! I have never been this excited to meet anyone. My nerd levels were on high alert! Sorry Sarah!

From Ione Wells, I was reminded that activism cannot end on twitter. It must lead to action.

Every time I wanted to complain about the hikes up and down the mountains of Banff, I thought of Jen Brea, who was paying with her health to not just speak during the TED Summit but also experience it. When her talk is released in the coming weeks, I can’t even verbalize enough the need to watch it and then find a way to act and advocate.

Tech, Tech, Tech

Yeah, I’m definitely not going to allow machine learning to rule the social world that I experience. Unfortunately, it is already working in the back end of many of the tools that impact us indirectly and that is unfortunate. Zeynep Tufekci thank you! Now, this is something that we should be talking about with kids!!! I mean, pretty much every discussion that I had with a person should be a discussion in our schools. However, nothing is more important than this because the inequity of information is real and those that know…have the potential to have choice.

It was interesting to hear about so many startups and platforms from attendees. Most of what I heard could potentially impact a problem that we face which reminded me of the power of asking kids what problems they want to solve instead of giving them someone else’s problem…because Tech.

TED ED Platform

World, meet Franz...TED Ed Animator

World, meet Franz…TED Ed Animator

The TED Ed platform allows users to build lessons on its content for classrooms. I want TED to know that focusing on this platform is odd from an organization built on innovation. We have plenty of platforms out there that allow us to do this, much more fluidly. Please don’t become another “edtech” hub alone. The power of TED extends beyond this. It is the ideas that will impact deeper learning. It is the community of people curating and adding to this living encyclopedia of learning. So, if you really want to impact education globally…make this hub a place where ideas, the voices of ideas and discussions can happen. To do this, YOU MUST INCLUDE IDEAS FROM THOSE IN EDUCATION DOING THESE THINGS. Starting with your TED Innovative Educator community is a start. (Not just in blogs…but also in physical voice)

On another note, the TED ED Animations and animations team are to die for! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Because, if you know me, you know that connecting with the animators was everything and their passion to create is inspiring.

One last thing…

Dear TED,

I never expected to grow as much as I did this past week. I never expected to feel such a deep need to change the problems that I know exists. The TED community is everything and I mean that with all of my heart. People wanted to talk to people…no egos…none.

I am honored to have attended but not only that…I am honored that you pushed me to live..

For that, I will always be thankful.

No really, one more thing…

To the new cohort of TED ED Innovative Educators,

The experience that we had will not be yours just as the experience of the cohort before us was not ours. I wish that this Summit was more often than every few years but the value of this program is in the connections to each other. I am forever bonded to 29 other individuals from 11 other countries. That, my friends, is what makes this experience the powerful change that we need.


Comments 5

  1. Thanks for sharing. I know this must have been amazing. I agree it needs to happen more often than just a few years but will look for a local community of voices to join in Atlanta.

  2. Glad you attended our Global Speed Chat session. It was so nice having you there! Nice to see that it is leading to inspiring ideas!

    1. Post

      Hi Kim. Thanks! This actually wasn’t based on your session. This was based on me taking time to visit multiple ideas at a time and TED’s new video on dating ideas.

  3. That’s kinda one be a great aha experience..!!Gonna edge in my mind for a long time to come.My mission and ambitious goal is to make TED E-Ed platform and TED-Ed Clubs a part and parcel of the Kenyan education system.
    To the TED team and TED -Ed Educators a big kudos!

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