Student-led TED in Your School?

On February 27, students from East Grand Rapids High School and Forest Hills High Schools are hosting a TEDx event. You can see more details about the program and the participating students in this School News Network article. This is an excellent example of students engaging beyond the classroom, and each of the speakers will undoubtedly get a big life boost from the experience. I had the thought that others might want to do something similar in their schools, so I thought I’d share some ideas and resources on how that might happen.

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One idea is to start a TED-Ed club. Within these clubs, students can view and discuss TED talks as well as work towards developing their own. If you want to know more about what these are and what it takes to host your own, check out this list of FAQ’s.

You may be thinking that motivating students to do such things is unlikely, and I have heard of clubs faltering or disbanding. Typically, support and inspiration from adults is required, especially if a formal TEDx event is going to happen. I recommend a small team of adult leaders so that the responsibility isn’t all on one person. Also, many local citizens have given talks in various TEDx events, and they would be great partners or guest speakers. See this list of TEDx events, which maps all events past and future. You may be able to connect with one of the speakers.

Schools and teachers could also incorporate the TED structure in curriculum or presentation activities.This would increase the level of authenticity and perhaps get students intrigued about the format. There are also a number of lessons that utilize TED talks as a center point, which can expose students to the format.

Whatever level of exposure is provided, it is certain that the TED brand has staying power, and it is one of many ways we can empower, embolden, and enlighten our students. Thus, it is worth exploring.

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