Monday, March 7, 2011

My TEDxNYED Revelation, Takeaways and a Suggestion

I just returned from New York City where I had the privilege to attend my first TEDxNYed conference.  I was fortunate to combine this event with a visit to see family and an old friend. Overall it was a great weekend. 
The View
Kudos:
First I would like to complement the organizers of this conference for doing an amazing job. I was greeted by friendly faces when I arrived, guided to the correct floor and provided with delicious snacks and lunch. The venue was beautiful, comfortable and had incredible views of Manhattan and of the ground zero construction. The speakers were well chosen, stayed on schedule and were introduced in thoughtful and funny ways.
Ground Zero
My Revelation:

TED is actually a TV show with a studio audience. 


I had the opportunity to be part of that audience. It was exciting to be there. I got to meet some people face-to-face for the first time and re-connect with some old friends. But the lack of interaction was difficult for me. Interaction is what keeps me going. Twitter helped with that, but it wasn't really enough for me. Plus, I discovered later on that I wasn't even suposed to have my laptop open (Oops - I didn't see the sign until the last session).



Content wise there were some good messages.  A lot of what people said wasn't new to me, but it suddenly came to me, I'm not really the audience! These videos will be viewed by many many people.  That is the brilliant aspect of TED. I am thrilled that the messages that so many of us have been talking, Tweeting and blogging about will get out through a different medium. Everything we do can make a difference for someone.

Takeaways:

  • From Alan November: Who owns the learning?
  • From Homa Tavangar: We are more plugged in, but are we more connected? We have a universal understanding of what it takes to be a good friend. A global citizen is a good friend to the world.
  • From Lucy Gray: Connect Now! Practice professional generosity for the benefit our children.
  • From Gary Stager: Young people have a remarkable capacity for intensity. Less us, more them!
  • From Heidi Hayes Jacobs: We can do dumb things with SMART boards. We don't need re-form, we need new-form. We need new types of teachers. We need to be a new kind of teacher. 
  • From Luyen Chou: We can change education by changing the assessments.
  • From Morley: If you are feeling helpless, help someone.

In such a short period of time with one talk right after another it is hard to process what you are hearing. I am thankful I can go back and watch the videos to see what I missed.

A Suggestion:
What if we had half the number of speakers and 10 minutes of discussion in the room after each talk? That might be the best of both worlds!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz - Again, great meeting you. I was engaged by and surprised by some of the same things at TEDxNYED. It was my first time as well. I had no idea that we would be sitting through 18 sequential talks with no opportunity to interact except on Twitter (which was great fun) and during breaks. I now understand this to be part of the TED brand. I had always thought that there would be opportunity to interact with both the speakers and colleagues. A "blended" environment that allowed for both would be ideal. Boiling an argument down into an 18 minute slice is a great concept, but then let's react and play with it a bit.

Unfortunately, I think the TED franchise may frown on that and place limitations on the organizers that would preclude such a structure. From my point of view, I would have gotten 3x as much out of 1/3 the amount of presentations.

TIm Holt said...

Liz,
Thanks for sharing.
I wish I could get to NYC!

Sometimes I wonder the value of these meet-ups, as it is often the same folks telling the same tales to the same audience. (Did you notice if anyone in the audience actually thought that what was being said was something new to them?)

I am awaiting for the day when these "thinkers" begin to show us a plan to create the world they say we are missing.

Show us how.
Show us how to scale up these little successes to the entire nation.

It is always easy to point out the errors. It is something altogether different to develop a plan that addresses the problems.

I await that TEDx.

JeanTower said...

I think you are right about adding some "process" time. When I present using the Pecha Kucha format, I find the best part to be the discussion and processing after the slides. BTW - I love the TED talks but always see them online only. Kind of jealous you got to be in the "studio audience."

Arlene said...

It seems so intense and getting more and more info and more and more stimulation without some time to just be, to have a cup of coffee and sip it, let some of it swirl around. Is what children and teachers need is more and more doing, connecting, sharing, exchanging, asking each other what more you can do to get teachers and students to do better, test better, tweet better, research better. Look at this world.
As a sixties teacher. mother, this is not what I wanted for you and your generation and the generations to come.
What about stopping, relaxing, playing? Where is the time and space for creativity?

Arlene said...

It seems so intense, getting more and more info and more and more stimulation without some time to just be, to have a cup of coffee and sip it, let some of it swirl around. Is what children and teachers need is more and more doing, connecting, sharing, exchanging, asking each other what more you can do to get teachers and students to do better, test better, tweet better, research better. Look at this world.
As a sixties woman. your mother, this is not what I wanted for you and your generation and the generation to come.
What about stopping, relaxing, playing? Where is the time and space for creativity?

Lucy Gray said...

Eek! Didn't see that sign either, and I had my laptop open! Great to see you, Liz, and I'm sure we'll catch up more at another conference.

Gary said...

I too am incredibly grateful to the TEDxNYED organizers for the amazing job they did and for the kindness they showed me.

You are absolutely correct. TED and TEDx is show-biz (not that there's anything wrong with that). It would have in fact been easier for me to "perform" had I been in a television studio.

The traditions (real and imagined) that have grown up around TED require performance and quick reports on "stuff" rather than on the "stuff" itself.

Worst of all, as hard as one might try to create dialogue and conversation virtually during or after the event. There is nothing like discussing powerful ideas in one place at the same time.

Quick pitches are good for attracting investors, but at this moment in the history of education, we need to have serious thoughtful discussions and arguments among thoughtful people.

I have pushed other conferences to do this for YEARS and the closest we ever got was the "debate" circus I performed in at NECC two years ago.

If the media is not going to allow thoughtful educators to have discussions around a big table, ala Charlie Rose or Meet the Press, then we need to organize it ourselves.

Gary said...

I too am incredibly grateful to the TEDxNYED organizers for the amazing job they did and for the kindness they showed me.

You are absolutely correct. TED and TEDx is show-biz (not that there's anything wrong with that). It would have in fact been easier for me to "perform" had I been in a television studio.

The traditions (real and imagined) that have grown up around TED require performance and quick reports on "stuff" rather than on the "stuff" itself.

Worst of all, as hard as one might try to create dialogue and conversation virtually during or after the event. There is nothing like discussing powerful ideas in one place at the same time.

Quick pitches are good for attracting investors, but at this moment in the history of education, we need to have serious thoughtful discussions and arguments among thoughtful people.

I have pushed other conferences to do this for YEARS and the closest we ever got was the "debate" circus I performed in at NECC two years ago.

If the media is not going to allow thoughtful educators to have discussions around a big table, ala Charlie Rose or Meet the Press, then we need to organize it ourselves.