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Volume 30, Number 1
January/February 2014

TED-ifying School


In 2010, when Gunn High School librarian Meg Omainsky first got the idea of broadcasting TED Talk videos weekly on the library’s big screen during lunchtime, she had no real idea what she was about to start.

A group of students quickly came to love the short videos made famous by the annual West Coast TED Talk events, which highlight “ideas worth spreading.” The Silicon Valley students were joined in their enthusiasm by a handful of Gunn teachers who were already using the videos in class to introduce new ideas or get students to practice analyzing others’ work.

Then, in 2011, the students lobbied to become one of the first schools in the nation to organize its own TEDx event, a nearly full-fledged version of the annual event sanctioned by the TED franchise. The talks “bring ideas not normally introduced into the classroom into school,” says Soham Tikekar, a former student who saw his first TED Talk—about creativity in school—in photo class.

This month, students will host their fourth TEDx event with the theme “Be the Variable,” which will include a mix of student presentations and outside experts. The event is anticipated to have an audience of up to 1,000, including students from nearby schools and a mix of adult and youth speakers. As in previous years, the presentations will be videotaped, streamed live to the Internet, and then posted online for all to see.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.