Thursday, August 16

TED Talks (Ideas worth spreading)

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design):
TED Talks List:
Hans Rosling's 2006 TED Talk:
Hans Rosling's 2007 TED Talk:

"TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration."

"TED is an annual conference held in Monterey, California and recently, semi-annually in other cities around the world. TED describes itself as a "group of remarkable people that gather to exchange ideas of incalculable value". Its lectures cover a broad set of topics including science, arts, politics, global issues, architecture, music and more. The speakers themselves are from a wide variety of communities and disciplines. The TED Conference also has a companion conference, TED Global, held in varying locations...In 2005, the TED Prize was introduced. Three individuals are each given $100,000 and granted a "wish to change the world" which they unveil at TED...The inaugural winners were Bono, Edward Burtynsky, and Robert Fischell. Bono's wish resulted in more than one million people signing up to join the ONE Campaign to eradicate poverty... Source: Wikipedia"

The real beauty of TED Talks today, is that you and me can listen and watch these great thinkers and doers from our little (or big) computer devices and be inspired by their stories, and that there are people still all around the world trying to save it (or make a difference) whether small or big.

I have to admit that TED Talks over the last two years has been my favorite video site. Although, you can access all the TED talks on YouTube, you know when you visit TED Talks you are getting value for your time. The problem with YouTube, Yahoo Video, Google Video and the rest, is that there is so much junk and fun there, which will from my own experience often distract us from the real juice. You know Ali G is going to take up your time, while you should be watching a documentary about Muhammad Ali. Worse yet, you get stuck up watching a Norwegian young dude eating chilli and find that amusing (What's the big deal, we in South-East Asia eat chilli 3-4 times a day!).

So, video sites like TED Talks are simply gems that we should dump in our favorites and continuously use to learn (Yes, we will also realize that we are not so great after all, and our macho egos will wake up to that reality!)

To get you started on the TED Talks learning journey, I will introduce you to a truly amazing and passionate professor from Sweden, the one and only Hans Rosling, who is a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. His current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the west. Not only should you watch his inspiring talk (below), but also you should explore his yummy free learning tool Gapminder (which brings data to life).

Coming to think of it, I wish all lecturers or Professors engaged us learners with such passion and flavour. I am sure all of us would be more inspired to learn. In short, Hans Rosling has the fire to inspire.

In terms of e-learning and content development, I believe much due to Roger Schank's inspiration and words of wisdom (his books), is that if you want this new generation of learners to be inspired to learn, try using real people, telling real stories in the real language. Forget about locking some audio reader in a studio, reading out a phoney case study (or any content) using dry language with no emotional juice. It simply bores today's young learners, who want the real deal with hands-on activities after (or during) the lecture (or why not a live online session, which could be done from anywhere in the world using web/video/tele- conferencing). Yes, they want to learn about the global super companies little secrets to success (Air-Asia, Shell, Toyota, Infosys, Google, etc.) from their actual founders or leaders. So, surely we should think twice before wasting money, time and talent on content development. In short, perhaps we should use some of these inspiring TED talks (5-25 minutes sessions, which is simply excellent to warm-up the lectures, discussions or tutorials) in our classes, wherever appropriate. Please, remember to download and run the videos on your computer device (and install the necessary plugins, if needed), because you do not want it to buffer for a few minutes (while downloading from the Internet) annoying the learners and stressing you out during your inspiring learning session.

Have fun learning ideas worth spreading :)

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