On October 5, six Learning Technology staff members went to TEDxColumbus with 700 of our closest central Ohio friends. COSI was a great venue for the event, which had us at the edge of our seats (well, okay, the only drawback of the conference was the horrendously uncomfortable chairs), watching 18 presentations centered on the theme: The Future Revealed.
For those of you unfamiliar with TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) and the TEDx series, the format consists of a day-long agenda incorporating “a suite of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances (live, or just TEDTalks videos) on a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder–and to provoke conversations that matter.” TEDx differs in that the program focuses on topics and presenters at the local level and are developed independently from TED.
Although there were amazing speakers throughout the day, my colleague Tom Evans and I really enjoyed a few in particular. For instance, Priyank Shah showcased amazing data visualizations demonstrating how, as we move toward 2050, society age distribution will become column shaped rather than triangular…with hints at the forces that will be at play. Gary Wenk, from OSU, shared how we should think of food as drugs and showcased impacts on our brains and bodies (FYI, the best breakfast you can have is coffee and donuts). Terrell Strayhorn (also from OSU) shared via story by story about how a sense of belonging (and dignity and respect) can impact student success in and out of the classroom. Finally, Doug Smith, a former CEO, talked about ‘FOFO’ or embracing faith, optimism, flexibility, and openness as the key to happiness.
What tied all the speakers together was a visible display of passion about their topics, but more importantly, how these topics were personally related to them and those in the audience. Each presented for no more than 15 minutes and really used the minimalist stage to focus on their stories, using the screen behind them to visualize and augment. Viewing really well done presentations was inspiring in and of itself.
In sum, it’s good to break away every so often to remember everyone has a story behind their work and as a person.
Learn more about TEDxColumbus at: http://tedxcolumbus.com/
Learn more about TED at: http://ted.com