Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blog Post #13: TED Talks

TED: ideas worth spreading
What can we learn from these TED talks? -Dr. Strange

Throughout the semester, Dr. Strange has assigned our class different videos from TED talks for us to watch and summarize. What is TED talks though? Why are these videos important to us? TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit organization that began in 1984 as a conference that brought people together from all around the technology, entertainment, and design worlds. TED holds two annual conferences that bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. With more than 1400 talks and FREE, the mission of TED is to spread ideas. As young educators who are still learning, TED talks are important to us because they share thoughts and ideas from such brilliant people who have experienced situations we can learn from.
This week we were giving a list of 10 of these talks that Sir Ken Robinson picked as his favorite, and were assigned to choose three to summarize and evaluate.

Teaching One Child at a Time- Caitlin Lankford
Shukla Bose is the founder of Parikrma Humanity Foundation in India. For twenty six years, Bose worked in the corporate world and has never been trained to be an educator. However, one day she wanted to make a change in the education world and decided to educate children that live in the slums of India. There are 800 slums in India, and of the 800 slums, there are two million people living in those slums. Bose and her co-workers decided to walk through some of the slums to find out how many houses had children that did not go to school. They put their numbers together and found out that 200 million children, ages four to fourteen, should be going to school, but do not. There were 100 million children that went to school, but could not read, and 125 million children could not do basic math. However, Bose and her team did not want to play the number game anymore, and made an effort to make a change! They started their school during the month of June, in the slums, on a rooftop of a two-story building. When the school started in June, there were 165 children and Bose described it to be an amazing bonding experience, due to the excessive amounts of rain that month. Soon after the first school began, more schools started. There are now 1,100 children, four schools, and one junior college. Bose speaks about three myths that are believed in India. The first myth is that no one in the slums can speak English. She quickly responded by saying, that the myth is not true. Bose showed a video to the audience at the TED conference of two children speaking english. The girl that was in the video, talked about a few books that she enjoys reading and that she cannot put some books down once she begins reading them. The boy in the video, explained his desire to have a bike. Bose told the audience that he has not seen a bike in person, but has done plenty of research on Google to know interesting things about bikes. The dream of Parikrma Humanity Foundation is to educate children, but most importantly to calm the children and prepare them for the real world of chaos. People that are first introduced to the foundation, think that the curriculum being taught is too hard for the students, but Bose is quick to defend her students, because she says that they excel in school, and do very well with the high leveled curriculum. Another myth about the Indian slums, is that parents do not like their children going to school. Wrong!! Bose said that the parents are very supportive and want to give their kids something that they don’t have and what they didn’t get as a child. At teacher parent meetings, 80% of the parents are present. Although, on more occasions 100% of the parents are present. At first, when parents registered at conferences or school meetings, they would sign in using their fingerprints, but now, the parents sign in with their signature because the students helped the parents learn how to write and sign their name. Soon, parents wanted to start learning how to read and write. So Bose began an afternoon program for parents, mostly mothers. Unfortunately, 98% of the fathers are alcoholics, so the foundation sent the fathers to addiction labs, and when they were released, the foundation helped the fathers find jobs, and taught them how to cook so the children and their families would live healthier lifestyles and go to school energized. Another myth Bose discussed was that children that lived in the slums, did not integrate with “main street” (children that do not live in slums) children. Once again, the myth is incorrect. Bose presented a video of a girl that was given an opportunity to go to a camp with other students that didn’t live in slums. The girl was so excited to have been given the opportunity, and she couldn’t wait to go to the camp. She explained that she made new friends and the “main street” children treated her the same way they treated everyone else. They did not bully her or treat her with different attitudes. The “main street” students were her friends. At the end of the video, the little girl began to cry because she did not want to leave the camp and her new friends!! The little girl was a maid before she started school, but now she wants to be a neurologist. Sports is also a major deal at the schools. Every year, Bose’s first built school is invited to a “Best School Competition” where there are five thousand children, one-hundred and forty schools, and Bose’s school has won “Best School” three years in a row. Bose ended her presentation by saying, what is in the building is not important. The color of the walls, the toilets, and what the library looks like, is not important, all that matters is what the children are learning. I loved watching Bose speak at the TED conference. She kept the audience engaged by using humor, heart touching stories, and mind-blowing statistics. It was so heartwarming to hear about all that she has done to change the way children are being educated in the slums of India. One thing I learned from Bose, is NEVER, EVER, give up on children, no matter where they come from or what their background is. Everyone deserves a chance in this chaotic world, so we as teachers need to be patient, loving, and have a desire to change lives!!

Shane Koyczan: "To This Day" ... for the bullied and beautiful - Melissa Canterbury
"If you have time to watch only one video today, it should probably be this one. After being posted to YouTube, animated spoken-word poem 'To This Day,' by Canadian poet Shane Koyczan, has spread like wildfire online ... Slate called the video 'beautiful,' Yahoo! News dubbed it 'powerful' and Mashable promised that it will 'reshape your views on name calling, harassment and pain.'" The Huffington Post
Shane Koyczan is an author, poet and musician who has published three books and who also performed at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. He turns spoken-words into music and poetry. Koyczan’s poem , “To This Day”, is a powerful story about bullying, survival and what it’s like to be young and...... different. This spoken-word poem captivated millions and is illustrated from animators all around the world.
Through humor Shane Koyczan gives a poem of what it’s like to be bullied. He begins by saying how at such young age, children are expected to find themselves and that if they didn’t others would do it for them. For example, calling other names like “geek”, “fatty”, “slut”, “fag” etc. At the same time that children are being told these names are what they are, they are asked what do they want to be. What do you want to be when you get older? Koyczan goes on to say that when he was a kid he wanted to be a marine biologist (until he saw the movie Jaws), that he wanted to be an adult, and he wanted to shave (now he has a full beard). He says that age 10 he was told his parents left because they didn’t want him, age 11 he wanted to be left alone, age 12 he wanted to die and at age 13 he wanted to kill a kid. Koyczan was then asked to choose a career path, and he said he wanted to be a writer. He was told he should choose something more “realistic”. So, he chose a professional wrestler! He was told not to be stupid. How can we ask children what they want to be or what their dreams are and then shoot them down? Not only was Koyczan called names, he dreams were called names as well.
Koyczan recalls when his dream came back to him after being criticized and ridiculed about it. He remembers his first line of poetry was in response to a world that demanded he hate himself. From a time in life, age 15-18, he hated himself and the world he lived in. He says that standing up for yourself doesn’t have to lead to violence, he would trade in homework assignments for friendship. It’s so sad but this is the world we live in. Now, with technology it is so easy to sit behind a computer and for children to cyber bully other children. I know I am not going to fix the bully situation, but I won’t allow for it to take place in my classroom.
Next, Koyczan describes how when he was a kid, he thought pork chops and karate chops were the same thing. His grandmother thought it was cute so she never corrected him. One day while playing where he shouldn’t have been, he fell from a tree. The gym teacher saw the bruises on his ride side and turned him into the principle. His response to the questions about his home life was “When I’m sad, my grandma gives me karate chops!” If only he knew this would lead into a full investigation and would be removed from his home for three days. News got around the school and he got deemed the nickname, “porkchop”.
The rest of the video is of a glorious poem with illustrations and a violin in the backdrop about bullying. Let me just say that Shane Koyczan is incredible! The emotion in his work is so inspiring and I plan to watch more of his work.
Bullying is a horrible thing. It happens in schools, there is no way to completely get rid of it, unfortunately. This video has opened my eyes to pay attention to students. Not only will I be an educator, it goes much further than teaching a lesson on multiplication. I need to be aware of the relationships in my classroom and show students that bullying is a real action and how to handle that situation.

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together-Lauren Macon “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin even, or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.” - Mae Jemison
Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, and a dancer who tells stories from her own education and from her time in space. In 1992, she was the first African American woman to go into space. She has a new vision of learning that combines science and art, intuition and logic.
Mae Jemison begins with three quotes:
“When God made the color purple, God was just showing off.” - Alice Walker
“Research is a formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” - Zora Neale Hurston
“If you don’t much care where you want to get to, then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” - Lewis Carrol
Often when we think about the near future, we have an attitude of “whatever happens, happens.” Mae Jemison expresses that we should not have this attitude, that it does matter which way we go and what road we take. As a future educator and as a person in general, this is important to remember. She says that the most important issues for the future that we need to revitalize are the arts and sciences. What we do today, is important for the future because the world is going to be built on the ideas and creativity we came up with today. What are we contributing to that legacy? Mae Jemison says we are in a sense of failing in this. She quotes Frantz Fannon, “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill or betray it.”
Mae Jemison’s mission is to reconcile science and the arts. What is your mission? Many people think that science and art should be separated. I agree with Mae Jemison and think that they should be combined. Others think that scientist are not creative and that artist are not analytical. How can someone think this? Who wants to be uncreative? Who wants to be illogical? Not me!
Next, she talks about her childhood in the sixties. She wanted to be a hippie and resented the fact that she was too young to be a hippie. What she took away from the sixties was that there was hope for the future. There were ideas and creativity percolating. Things that are “cool” today, are ideas from back then. She then talks about how she always wanted to go into space. She loved fashion design, dance, and art. Mae Jemison was trying to figure out if she should go to medical school or New York to become a professional dancer. What a talented woman! But, she went into space instead. In the rest of the video, she talks about the differences between art and science. The difference is the manifestation of the same thing. They are avatars from the human creativity. Science is a manifestation of our attempt to express or share our understanding. It is experienced by everyone. Art is a desire or attempt to influence others through experiences that are curious to us as individuals. They are all part of us. Our understanding, our resources, and our will become our outcome.
Mae Jemison is so passionate about integrating arts and sciences. Ideas are like potential energy, nothing will happen until we risk putting them into action. We must take responsibility for our future. In my future classroom, I will take the responsibility for integrating science and art. Often people think that art is not important in education. I think completely opposite! Creativity is needed everyday. It is what our future relies on and if we fail at that, then our future fails. I will encourage my future students to be creative, have new ideas, and put risks into action. Before watching this video, I would have never thought about combining art and science. It opened my eyes to realize that these two need to be integrated. One thing I learned from Mae Jemison, is “Science provides an understanding of a universal experience. Arts provide a universal understanding of a personal experience.”


  1. "One thing I learned from Bose, is NEVER, EVER, give up on children, no matter where they come from or what their background is. Everyone deserves a chance in this chaotic world, so we as teachers need to be patient, loving, and have a desire to change lives!!"

    I completely agree! I enjoyed reading your blog post. Someday, I would like to join Peace Corps to go help children who do not have the opportunities we have in America. I did a different TED Talks for my assignment and found this one just as inspiring as the one I focused on. Good Job!

  2. "but most importantly to calm the children..." What do you mean by "calm the children"?

    "The color of the walls, the toilets, and what the library looks like, is not important, all that matters is what the children are learning." No comma after like; are, not is; semi-colon, not a comma, after important.

    Thorough. Interesting.