Sunday, April 13, 2008

Recommended Viewing for Innovative Educators

As an Innovative Educator I have an insatiable need to read, see and hear about new things all the time and on demand. I have found a tremendous resource to satisfy this desire at which posts fresh TedTalks weekly. Ted Talks are inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers designed to bring inspiration, innovation and new perspectives on the world and on ourselves. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 200 talks from the archive are now available, with more added each week. The videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

For an Innovative Educator (especially a city educator who spends a lot of time on subways and buses) the 18 minute format is just fantastic for personal learning. Additionally, the videos are all segmented into smaller pieces just perfect for sharing when trying to inspire students when delivering instruction.

Here are The Innovative Educators 6 picks to begin your TED experience.

Freakonomics Fans
In an eye-opening talk -- presented before the publication of Freakonomics --
Steven Levitt presents one of the book's more fascinating analyses. Sifting data collected through first-person interviews with a Chicago drug gang, he shows that drug dealing is not at all a quick route to riches. And yes, a drug gang does have a org chart.

Whole New Mind Fans
Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

Jane Goodall Fans
Traveling from Ecuador to Africa,
Jane Goodall takes the audience on an ecological journey, discussing highlights and low points of her experiences in the jungle. She shows how progress is helping research (DNA analysis) and hurting the environment (clear-cutting). And she draws a dozen parallels between primate and human behavior, making the point that we really aren't all that different. Our big advantage, she says, is the ability to communicate with sophisticated spoken language -- yet, sadly, we are abusing this power and destroying the planet. She urges the TED audience to behave differently, and use their higher powers to correct the planet's course.

Tipping Point and Blink Fans
In this witty monologue, Malcolm Gladwell follows the career of a food industry consultant who uncovered a key secret to what eaters like. Running huge focus groups to find customers' truest tastes, Gladwell's hero draws a radical conclusion, an epiphany that has defined food marketing ever since. Note: The theme of the 2004 conference was "The Pursuit of Happiness" -- hence the talk's quirky presence.

Nicholas Negroponte (One Laptop Per Child - OLPC) Fans
Nicholas Negroponte lays out the details of his nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project. Speaking just days after relinquishing his post as director of the MIT Media Lab, he announces that he'll pursue this venture for the rest of his life. He takes us inside the strategy for building the "$100 laptop," and explains why and how the project plans to launch "at scale," with millions of units distributed in the first seven countries. "This is not a laptop project; it's an education project," he says.

You may also want to check out: Nicholas Negroponte: From 1984, 4 predictions about the future (3 of them correct)ttp://

Wii, Interactive Whiteboard, Touchscreen Fans
Johnny Lee demos his amazing Wii Remote hacks, which transform the $40 game piece into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer. A multi-ovation demo from TED2008.

The TED mission involves a passionate belief in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. We are fortunate they have built this clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

Another amazing thing about contribution is that viewers have an opportunity to share their thoughts about each video because they provide a commenting/discussion feature associated with each video. TEDTalks have tremendous potential to inspire innovative educators everywhere. I invite you to share how videos such as these have inspired your teaching and learning by posting comments on such experiences here. For more great videos visit The Innovative Educator's Video Recommendations.

For more information visit 25 Incredible TED Talks for Educators

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for blogging about TED. I recently saw a video podcast from iTunes about a guy who had discovered what Da Vinci's face looked like. TED topics are interesting but accessible at the same time.

    You asked for a video recommendation and I have one. Many people have seen this, but for those who haven't it is truly inspiring. "The Last Lecture" was given by a Carnegie Mellon professor after he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Enjoy!

    Here is the youtube URL: