We’ve got a lot of great things planned for Nebraska Learns 2.0 in 2012 but to end 2011, given everyone being so busy with the holidays, we figured we’d end the year with an easier thing, yet still very educational: TED videos.
I’ve been watching TED videos for several years now and I rarely see one that isn’t educational, entertaining, or inspirational. Some of them are all three.
Here’s the basics of what TED is all about:
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. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.
The annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).
On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 900 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
Our mission: Spreading ideas.
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. This site, launched April 2007, is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you’re an important part of it. Have an idea? We want to hear from you.
The springtime TED Conference, held annually in Long Beach and simulcast in Palm Springs, is at the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend — indeed, the event sells out a year in advance — and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.
TEDActive features a live simulcast of the Long Beach conference, in fabulous Palm Springs, with an emphasis on connection, conversation and creation.
TEDGlobal is TED’s twin conference. It was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007. TEDGlobal is now held annually in Edinburgh, UK, each summer. The themes of the global conference are slightly more international in nature, but the full TED format is maintained.
TED also hosts events around the globe.TEDIndia was held in November 2009 in Mysore, India, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia. TEDWomen was held in December 2010 in Washington, DC, asking the question: How are women and girls reshaping the future? TED also hosts smaller events around the globe, including many TED Salons, evening-length events with speakers and performers, and TED@ events, exploring a topic or location.
The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED Community’s exceptional array of talent and resources. It is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.” After several months of preparation, the wish is unveiled at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference. Over the life of the prize, wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.
TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.
The TED Fellows helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED Fellows, TEDGlobal Fellows, and TED Senior Fellows are drawn from many disciplines that reflect the diversity of TED’s members: technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, NGOs, business and more.
The TEDx program gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently.
The TED Open Translation Project brings TEDTalks beyond the English-speaking world by offering subtitles, interactive transcripts and the ability for any talk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. We launched the project with more than 250 translations, 50 languages and 100 volunteer translators; one year on, there are more than 21,000 completed translations from our thousands-strong community. It’s an ambitious project that radically enhances the accessibility of the talks — for the hearing-impaired, for those who speak English as a second language, for search engines (which can now index the full transcript of a talk), and of course for the vast audience of non-English speakers worldwide.
Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.
To get you started here are two of my favorites (one a longer than average, the other shorter than average):
Search the TED archive and watch about an hour worth of videos. (This will probably end up being about 4-6 episodes.) In your blog post link to the ones you watched (or better yet, embed them in your blog,) and talk about one of them. Did you find the video particularly entertaining, educational or inspirational? If so, why?
The videos you watch and blog about don’t necessarily have to tie back to libraries but you’ll get bonus karma points if they do.