June 25, 2011

TEDxPhiladelphiaED 2011

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

On Saturday, June 25, I attended (in person) my first TEDx conference.  The ISTE conference is taking place in Philadelphia this year, and and education-focused TEDx was scheduled for the day before the conference.  I applied and was one of 330 people selected to attend the TEDxPhiladelphiaED program.

To summarize… thumbs-up to the giveaway (echo smartpen) and inspiring speakers; thumbs-down to the technology failure throughout the event.

The most inspiring speakers were Barbara Chandler Allen (Fresh Artists), Matt McInnis (Inkling), Sharon Campbell (RMS Energy Star), John Hunter (World Peace Game), George Moore (Magic Wand Foundation), and Molly Milroy (Invisible Children).  What made them inspiring?  It was not necessarily use of technology but their pure passion for making a difference in the lives of students and empowering them to go on and make a difference in the lives of others.  Please visit the links to their organizations above – you will not be disappointed!

John Hunter on the World Peace Game

Oh, and let’s not forget the “youth” representation at the event.  In conjunction with TEDxPhiladelphiaED, a youth poetry contest was held, and the winners read their poems at the event.  WOW – how thoughtful and inspiring they were with words.  Hopefully, their reading of the poems will be posted online soon – such maturity and professionalism beyond their age.  And another young professional was the co-host of the event, Adora Svitak.  A video of her TED talk (yes, a 13(?)-year old giving a TED talk) was playing in pieces before TEDx began.  What I wouldn’t give to have Adora in my classroom someday!

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

I have left TEDxPhiladelphiaED tired, inspired, and ready to reflect upon how I can do even more to engage my students and tap their inner-passion to learn.  Barbara’s Fresh Artists has reawakened me to just how bad the budget issues are hitting Philly elementary schools (83 cents for art supplies per student per year? Really???).  Students, civic engagement, philanthropy, innovation, giving back while receiving… wow, all is possible in the classroom.  We as teachers just have to have the guts to make it happen.