TEDActive – My Experience as a Teacher @TEDActive #teded

I had the inspiring, awesome, amazing experience to be invited out to the TEDActive conference! This week has been one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in my life (so far). I can’t even begin to put in words what I’m feeling. I have never had such a busy week every — or met more fascinating, creative, forward-thinking individuals all in one space. Our days started before 8am and ended after 11pm. I’ll leave completely exhausted, but incredibly inspired, renewed, and full of dreams!

My two biggest takeaways:

  • fear will make reaching my dreams impossible; amazingness will only come from a willingness to fail
  • the importance of storytelling and effective visuals to keep people engaged

I’ll try to just remember a few key messages here:

  • Susan Cain – “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”
    • As an introvert, this talk really spoke to me.
    • Solitude matters – for some people, it’s the air they breathe
    • Stop the madness for constant group work (privacy, autonomy in the workplace and classroom)
    • The key to maximizing our success is to be in our OWN most stimulating environment
      • for introverts, a stimulating environment is a quiet space, but this goes against the norm
      • keep this in mind in the classroom you’re setting up because the typical classroom is set up for extroverts
  • Paul Gilding – fear can be motivating or paralyzing; we wait until crisis to act, and then what seemed impossible suddenly becomes possible
  • Andrew Stanton
    • “there isn’t anybody you couldn’t learn to love if you knew their story”
    • the job of the storyteller is to make the audience work for their meal (our audience loves to use logic and put things together
      • never give them 4, always give them 2+2
    • life is never static, your story must never be static; drama is anticipation
  • Billy Collins
  • Atul Gawande
    • the importance of checklists in healthcare
    • think of this when teaching
  • Regina Dugan — one of my favorite messages
    • Fearlessness is being in touch with your inner superhero
    • What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
    • Be nice to nerds!
    • Refuse to fear failure -> impossible things become possible
    • Fear of failure stops us from attempting AMAZING things (good things can happen without failure, but not amazing things)
    • Risk taking is necessary for amazingness
    • Failure is part of the creation process
    • “There is only time enough to iron your cape… and then back to the sky for you”
  • Donald Sadoway
    • As a teacher, teach we should be teaching our students how to THINK about the problem, and then turn him/her loose.
  • Julie Burstein
    • Raku – people cherish the imperfections
      • metaphor for process of creativity; pots often crack in the process of creation
      • what I have control over vs what I have to let go of (as I give my pot to the fire)
    • Creativity grows from the broken pieces
    • Richard Ford and dyslexia – embrace the challenge instead of trying to overcome it
    • Takeaway: control vs letting go — the cracked pot is sometimes more beautiful than it was before
  • Jim Stengel
    • compassion matters
    • what if business changed? make it based on relationships. leaders using compassion.
    • we don’t bring our whole self (brain) to work – Daniel Pink
    • important reminders as leaders:
      • articulate your ideal
      • be inspirational and engaging
      • when times are tough, everyone will be watching your behavior
  • Sherry Turkle
    • technology – we’re allowing it to take us to places we don’t want to go
    • cell phone – so psychologically powerful that they change who we are
    • we want to be able to control our lives through tech
      • only listen to “interesting” parts of meetings
      • we want to be alone while being tether
      • have each other at a distance and be able to control when the conversation ends
      • we get to present ourselves as the person we want to, edited. we can delete. we can clean things up.
      • real life connections and relationships are MESSY!
    • a flight from conversation is taking the personal reflection out of the process
    • we feel like our phone listens to us more than a person
      • machines offer constant companionship
      • people mistake pretend empathy for the real thing
      • we expect more from technology and less from others
      • we can comfortably control these relationships; we will never be ALONE
      • false: “I share… therefore I am”
      • connection –> isolation
        • solitude: where you find yourself and reach out to others for real relationships
    • “If we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will end up lonely”
    • too busy communicating that we don’t have time to think
    • make room for solitude!
    • create sacred spaces
    • really listen; even to the boring parts
  • Bryan Stevenson
    • I can’t put this one into words. It’s an incredible, MUST WATCH! I had tears in my eyes by the end.
    • compassionate teacher
    • the importance of identity
    • always do the right thing even if the right thing is the hard thing
    • grandmother: story of being special
    • death row and error – 1 out of 9 (we wouldn’t imagine letting a plane fly with these odds)
    • we don’t like to talk about our problems — well how do we imagine we’ll overcome?
    • innovation and creativity require us to believe things we haven’t seen
    • “the opposite of poverty is justice”
    • “keep your eyes on the prize. hold on.”
  • Joshua Foer
    • brains of memory champions
    • “elaborative encoding”
    • the importance of creating images of the things you want to remember; the raunchier the better
      • create a script like this for anything you want to memorize
      • memories take engagement and an effort to make the connections
    • “if you want to live a memorable life, you have to be the type of person who remembers to remember”

And I’ll leave it with that. There were also so many incredible performances and visuals that I’m not going to try to put into words. These are just some of my notes, but can’t begin to capture the energy and experience that I had. Not to mention how excited I am about the future of TED-Ed.

My goal this year: fearlessly follow my dreams!

Feel like the luckiest girl in the world :)

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