Posted by: drbrucepk | July 22, 2008

TED – Talks to Change the World

I’m going to be writing a series for the next week or two about TED and some of the presentations that I’ve been able to watch, although watch is such an inadequate word for what happens when viewing a TED presentation, over the past few weeks. I’ll be back to school reviews after I do a week or so of TED reviews. What I’m finding out in my early days of retirement is that there isn’t enough time to do what I want even when I don’t have to go to work everyday – or forever actually. But, more on that later, because what I really want to do is talk about TED and discuss the first of the TED videos that I’ve downloaded.

So, this is a blog about international education. It’s about international education because that’s where I’ve been for the past 19 years. But as most teachers know, education is very similar all over the world. So while I discuss educational issues, along with the school reviews that are probably the main reason that people come to this blog, in the context of international education, the ideas are germane to educational systems around the world. And, actually, I guess that’s what makes it international. Well, enough of that, back to TED.

TED is a both a conference and an organization. The acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. The conferences go back to 1984 and the scope of the conferences has expanded over the years to include development issues, global warming, education and much more. Speakers are brought in each year to discuss an idea in 18 minutes. It’s fun watching speakers keep their eye on the clock, and after watch a half dozen talks, it seems that all the speakers have amped up on caffeine before they made it to the stage because you’ll see and hear some of the quickest talking in the universe.

So TED is a conference where some of the most creative people on the planet show up and over four days give these 18 minute presentations on an idea or a concept or an experience that has changed them or changed others around them or can change others.
These talks are interesting, generally quite funny, and designed to make the audience think and hopefully act.

If you go to the TED website, you can find over 200 talks available for downloading in either video or audio format. Everything here is under that Creative Commons license, so you are free to download the talks and use them. As the TED website says, their mission is to spread ideas.

The first talk that I’m only briefly going to discuss (because I think that you should follow the link and download it for yourself) is by Ken Robinson – actually Sir Ken Robinson. If you don’t know who Ken Robinson is don’t worry because neither did I before I was given a link by a friend to his TED video.

photo taken from

photo taken from

Ken Robinson is an author, former university professor, and speaker who specializes in creativity. He’s been an advisor to arts and education commissions, foundations and organizations around the world. He’s published several books and has a new one coming out early next year.

His TED talk is about how schools fail to recognize, develop and nurture creativity. It’s very humorous and hits straight at one of the problems with educational systems, as they currently exist.

This is a talk that all of us who are involved in education need to hear. Download it, you won’t be sorry.


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