Since the first week of August is apparently one of the busiest travel weeks of the year in the United States, let’s take a look at a perfect travel companion: TED Talks
What Is It?
Straight from the About page: TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
TED helps find and spread ideas worldwide in many ways:
- Two annual conferences: the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer
- TEDTalks video site, where you can watch talks from TED events
- Open Translation Project to translate those talks into as many languages as possible
- TED Conversations – discussion forums to talk about the ideas presented at TED events
- TEDx local conferences held around the world
- TED Fellows program
- The annual TED Prize, “for a wish that can inspire the world”
Anyone can watch the hundreds of TED Talks available at the TED website. They range from just three to 20 minutes long, and are on every topic imaginable. Use the search facets on the left to find talks that appeal to you, or just keep browsing and clicking on whatever catches your eye.
There have also been at least two Boston-area TEDx events: TEDx Somerville and TEDx Boston. These self-organized events bring people together to share a TED-like experience, focused on locally-important topics. Take a look at the talks from TEDxSomerville and all four years of TEDxBoston.
Why Is It Useful?
Once you’re out of school, it’s harder to find lessons in life that will challenge you or get you to imagine new possibilities and consider alternatives to ‘the way things have always been.’ Watching TED talks online bring some of the most amazing thinkers from around the world to your screen, and can fill you with hope and wonder. It’s as useful as anything else that makes you think, dream, and play.
Try It Out
Unless you happen to have a TEDx event coming up nearby, the best way to get to know TED is by watching TED Talks. Try these on for size…
- Bobby McFerrin playing the audience at the World Science Festival
- Michael McDaniel demonstrates his solution to cheap, effective shelter for disaster relief
- Sarah Kay, performance poet, tells us what she would say to her daughter
- Markus Fichter of Festo demonstrates their robot that flies like a bird
- Blaise Aguera y Acras demonstrates Photosynth, an amazing zooming image display….from 2007, years ahead of iPhone and iPad zooming
- Sam Liberty and Kevin Spak talk about game design at TEDxBoston 2012
- Aatish Salvi looks at programs to move people from poverty to a comfortable life at TEDxSomerville 2012
- More of the most viewed TED talks
For the rest of August, Learning for Life Online will focus on getting ready for the school year and showcase ways to help study, learn, and discover online. Whether you’re heading back to school or just looking for something to do over the winter, LLO will have something for you.