TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
A couple of weeks ago, Major Reader had a post encouraging readers to check out a fascinating TEDTalk, “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do” by Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, where kids "play with power tools.”
Tulley’s talk reminded me a bit of A.S. Neill’s Summerhill, a Radical Approach to Child Rearing, published in 1960, two years before the birth of my first child. Scottish teacher Neill’s whole approach to child rearing was predicated on his belief that in order to learn, children should be happy, and that the way to ensure their happiness was to give them freedom.
His school, the eponymous Summerhill, was a democracy where each child’s vote was equal to each teacher’s or Neill’s own vote. Class attendance was voluntary, etc. All Victorian and authoritarian practices, so common in many English boarding schools, were tossed out.
I enjoyed remembering the Summerhill discussions my friends and I had over coffee and my own (short-lived) attempts to insert a little more freedom into my kids’ lives. It was hard to let them run free when I couldn’t hear what they’re doing.
That particular problem was solved when we moved to a house on two acres south of town. Two acres of yard surrounded by open fields populated by ground squirrels allowed plenty of room for three little girls and, later, a baby boy to explore.
But back to TED. The whole idea of TED fascinated me, and I looked up the list of TEDTalks. What I found continues to blow my mind daily.
Membership in TED and subscribing to the TEDTalks are both free.
TED encourages its members to help spread the word about its existence. The themes of the talks have grown beyond the original “Technology, Entertainment, Design” to include Business, Science, Culture, Arts, and Global Issues.
TEDTalks are nourishing my mind in a way that television and newspapers don’t/can’t/won’t. The speakers at the TED annual meeting in Monterey, California, include such personal heroes as Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar, and Jane Goodall of Gombe chimpanzee fame and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.
As I get older, for which thanks be, I’m finding thinking is especially splendid recreation. It goes nicely with the senior discount on bus and metro fare. Besides doing my bit for the future of the planet, taking public transport gives me even more time to think!