TED Talk Gathering

by Randy Ziegenfuss on March 24, 2013

tedtalksWe hope that the posts on SalisburySD.US will prompt readers to be inspired, think, learn and grow. With this in mind, we plan to feature reflections from some of our students in the form of guest posts. Today’s post is from Sophomore Mackenna Lenover.

On March 7th, a few students and I met after school in the library for Salisbury’s first TED2013 viewing event. After getting situated with our iced tea and popcorn, we started watching the first talk, Celebrating Ignorance by Stuart Firestein, Chair of the Biological Sciences at Columbia University. The speaker had some very innovative thoughts, and I certainly walked away with some ideas. He discussed the flaws in the education system, and in scientific method itself. Actually, he referred to formal scientific inquiry as “farting around in the dark.” Rather than talking about what we know, we should discuss what we don’t. He brought to light a new idea, being consciously ignorant. Rather than what we do know, let’s focus on what we don’t! At first, this was absurd to me, but then I realized that questions really do bring more questions and students and teachers alike should embrace that.

After the first video was complete, the students and staff present had a discussion about the thoughts we just heard from Firestein. To summarize the conversation, the students and I expressed faults we’ve witnessed in the current education system, as well as trying to come up with other options. One idea we stressed was the reality that in school we have little time to individualize.

We then started to watch the second talk, Glowing Life in an Underwater World, by Edith Widder, a specialist in bioluminescence. Her talk focused on her  adventures as a marine biologist. She shared her experiences involving the search for a giant squid. Scientists spent years trying to discover the giant squid, and with some innovative thinking, she succeeded. What I found interesting is how we applied this squid adventure to education today. She had to play around with the noises on the submarines to see what worked with the squid. I actually brought up the idea of applying the squid innovation. Maybe, to reach those students who are having trouble learning, teachers have to innovate and find different ways to make teaching more individualized.

Thursday was just a day for some students and staff to get together, watch TED Talks, and discuss. Hopefully, more of these days will come in the future.

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