This week’s #TED assignment for Horn’s #p79 juniors and seniors. They will post their short essay responses on Edmodo, a social platform for school use.
1. Click the link to http://www.ted.com below. Surf as you like, but I strongly recommend clicking VIEW ALL TOPICS at the bottom left of the screen. There’s a mess of stuff you might really like.
2. Follow your bliss, allowing your own interests to guide you. Check out a couple talks, giving each one at least 2 minutes to hook you. If it doesn’t, move on. Spend at least an hour exploring: this is brain food, son.
3. When you have found a good TED Talk and watched it once or twice, check Edmodo to see that no one else has written about it. One writer per talk.
4. Jot down a few notes. (I wrote about 40 words in pencil—no sentences—before drafting my example in MS Word and cutting and pasting below.)
5. Compose 350-400 words that describe the talk but also YOUR INTEREST in it. What does it prompt you to wonder about? Why might we be interested in it too?
EXAMPLE BY HORN: It probably won’t surprise any of you that I was drawn to the title “Kids, take charge” in the “Re-Imagining School” series of talks curated by TED. According to the TED website, this talk was presented by activist educator Kiran Bir Sethi at a TED conference in November 2009. Sethi describes the work she has done with students at the Riverside School in India, which she founded in 1999 because she wanted to see how children could feel empowered to change the world. (As you know, I would very much like you to understand you can change this world, so right from the start of her presentation, I began taking notes.) Recall a couple of things about India: first, its road to freedom from the British Empire was paved by a poor man who believed things could change (Gandhi); second, with over a billion people, the idea of making change in so populous a nation could justifiably seem impossible. How to get kids to say, “I can”?
In her talk, Sethi presents a three-part premise of AWARE-ENABLE-EMPOWER, explaining that when children become aware of an injustice, for example, and feel it acutely, the next job for teachers is to enable them to imagine how change might occur; finally, schools can empower students to act. She talks about her students learning about child labor by being made to roll incense sticks for eight hours in school—a pretty intense way to help fifth-graders feel how hard it is! (Imagine us asking you to sew Gap t-shirts for free all day.) She shows video of these same students in the following days out in the streets, talking to adults about labor practices and attempting to change their minds. Later in her 9.5-minute talk she describes students dreaming up solutions for everything from potholes in the streets to loneliness, alcoholism, and child marriage. I’m sure one reason I got a little misty at the end of the talk is that these are 10 year-olds out there kicking ass and showing glimmers of their potential as human beings. Pretty awesome. But another reason is that Sethi’s work at Riverside School so powerfully challenges the artificial divide between “school” and “real life” that so many people buy into. What do you believe needs changing? Let’s be about that. (383 words)
6. Proofread. Words matter, and this is public. You’re smart, so show it.