A few years ago I watched the documentary TED: The Future We Will Create. Being a fan of TED talks, I was curious to learn more about the behind the scenes of TED talks and how the conference came to be. I had heard snippets here and there that the TED conference was like a boys club…you had to have money and “be” somebody to get into a live event. The documentary pulled back the curtain a little on the intentionality of the way that TED conferences are set up. They are intentionally packed with entrepreneurs and successful people from various walks of life to bring together change makers. The actual speakers may not be well known (at least not prior to the talk), they have a limited time to speak, and they share an inspirational message. But TED isn’t really about the talks, TED is really about the talks that happen in between the talks. It is about those serendipitous moments that happen when people are exposed to a shared inspiration and then have opportunity to dream about it together. The magic is in those moments when people with different perspectives come together and share their thinking from that unique vantage point. It is really about the in between moments, that seemingly empty and unimportant time. TED does something else that I wasn’t aware of, they offer one TED speaker a “prize”. Only the prize isn’t really a prize (not in the way we typically think about prizes), instead it is that this person gets to make a wish. They get to cast a vision and a “what-if.” They get to challenge the audience to solve a problem that matters to them. Then comes the incredible part- these people actually use their unique gifts and talents and perspective to help make it so. World changing. A future that we create. Together.
As I was pulling together resources for our current inquiry block about “sharing the planet,” I came across several fantastic TED talks that could act like a catalyst for deeper thinking and additional curiosity. As I watched each video, I kept thinking about the behind the scenes, the in-between talks that aren’t documented. The change happening as a result.
Then it hit me, we could do this at Anastasis. We could watch these talks together, and then allow for the in-between talks. We could be intentional and let our students engage in the discussion, the serendipitous moments of one thing leading to another, and another. We could give our students time to just talk and wonder and discover together. We could narrow it down to 3 or 4 TED talks and provide our students with serendipitous in-between. We could open up the opportunity for our students to come up with the “wish” or challenge that the others would work to make happen. We could empower our students to go through this same process and then watch them use their unique perspective, gifts and talents to find solutions and dream up new possibilities.
I’m excited to try this. I believe that we are in the midst of genius every day at Anastasis. These kids are really incredible. I want to see what unfolds when we offer just a little inspiration related to our inquiry and then give them some space to just explore and talk. I want them to see that when hunches collide, BIG world changing ideas happen. I want them to understand that they are world changers.
Has anyone else done this with students?
I think that this will be a starting point. For now we will watch talks. Next year, I would love to have our students plan their own talks. I want to invite the best-and-brightest from around the world to come listen to our talks. I want to provide the in-between moments where change is enacted.