By Anna Schwind (April, 2013)
A secret passion of mine is watching TED talks (http://www.ted.com/talks). Have you heard about TED? TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and it’s the bringing together of people from disparate fields to discuss the ideas that they have, the research that they do and the new things that we can expect in our future. They’ve been doing it since 1984 and they have over 1400 talks available for you to watch and learn from.
I believe that ideas are generated by ideas, and that the more we are exposed to people who are thinking big, thinking imaginatively and thinking innovatively the more we ourselves will take on those qualities. This is one (of the many) reasons I choose to spend the bulk of my time with elementary aged children. There are no bigger thinkers, in my experience.
It doesn’t matter what you are interested in, there’s a half dozen TED talks covering that topic, usually with the experts in that field. They tend to be about twenty minutes or so, though they can be shorter, and I’ve watched with fascination talks on subjects I thought I had no interest in.
Here are some of my favorite TED talks, to get you started:
- Legendary video game maker Brenda Brathwaite on Gaming for Understanding: http://www.ted.com/talks/brenda_brathwaite_gaming_for_understanding.html
- Rajesh Rao on A Rosetta Stone for the Indus Script: http://www.ted.com/talks/rajesh_rao_computing_a_rosetta_stone_for_the_indus_script.html
- Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroscientist who had a stroke, on her Stroke of Insight: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html
- Janet Echelman on Taking Imagination Seriously: http://www.ted.com/talks/janet_echelman.html
- Amanda Palmer, a musician whose Kickstarter campaign raised over a million dollars to fund her new record, on the Art of Asking: http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html
- And here’s Will Wright, for the Montessori connection, on Toys that Make Worlds: http://www.ted.com/talks/will_wright_makes_toys_that_make_worlds.html
But don’t take my word for what’s worth watching. Go dig around for yourself. You’ll find something there to inspire you to bigger thinking. I honestly don’t have much time to watch TED videos during the school year, so I’m pretty behind at the moment, but now you have an idea of how I’ll be spending my summer vacation.