Teacher unions are constantly in contract negotiations around much of the world these days as contracts are constantly expiring and needing renewal in one place or another. Some of these can drag on and/or get rather unpleasant in nature. We are in the middle of a negotiation situation where I live. Some incorrectly perceive I’m not in a position to comment without being in conflict of interest despite having my individual rights of free speech, but I’m not here to discuss that. I don’t want that to be a distraction here, nor this to be the hill they die on. Instead, I’m here to share a familial story on teacher working conditions for perspective and documentation of stories not otherwise preserved beyond oral retelling in the family.
This past weekend, I happened upon Ted.com, the site for the Technology, Entertainment and Design community. With a moniker of Ideas Worth Sharing, and people like Al Gore, Bill Gates, Isabel Allende, Brian Greene, David Kelley, among many others, I knew I was on to something good. A day later, it has become an addiction I will have to moderate myself so as not to spend all my time on it, and it will be something I will keep in my life as long as it and I exist.
Among the things TED.com contains are 378 videos (at time of posting) of talks and interviews with people who are inspiring, knowledgeable and/or interesting. Each is about 20 minutes, some with content markers along the bottom to help the viewer find the segment desired. The site has all the videos, but you can see some of my favourite in the bar at right in my Vodpod list.
The speakers in the videos are there to share, wow and open your mind, heart and soul. Listening to just a few, I realized this was the very state of existence I would maintain if I could 24/7. I love to learn and think, especially think about things and/or in ways that expand the limits of my thinking and imagination, in enlightenment of being inspired. I speak of enlightenment here in the purest sense of the word as in realizing something new that has value, not necessarily the religious enlightenment. My enlightenment could be about some very dark matters, though with insight it will be useful to shed a solution for positive change. To see the light in darkness is far more enlightening than to see it in light already existing because you see far more new things in the former situation.
Furthermore, TED.com has a vibrant free membership community where people can rate the talks on a variety of criteria, like inspiring, informative, jaw-dropping, etc. You can join forums, discuss, get notice of new videos, and so on as well. The synergy and inspiration I feel from watching the video and being part of the community is amazing. But be forewarned, the membership profile is probably the most thought provoking one you’ll ever have to fill out! They ask you some pretty neat things!
I also realized I could learn more than just what the TED speakers share from how I learned about TED. I heard of TED via a story of Bill Gates talking about his foundation’s fight against malaria, proceeding to release mosquitoes into a large lecture hall (Feb 4). Bill stated “not only poor people should have to experience this”, although his mosquitoes were malaria free. Funny, bugs follows the Microsoft Windows founder everywhere.
Bill has done similar talks before. Maybe not exactly the same talk, but it was not the first time he has talked about malaria to a large group, that’s for sure. Then, in a conference full of brilliant speakers, he ups the ante and becomes the story that gets out the farthest among all the ones at the conference. And he did it with a jar of mosquitoes. That was just brilliance. He didn’t get to where he is and isn’t who he is for nothing, you know!
Better yet, the video was mostly about Bill talking about what makes a great teacher. Most of us will definitely learn something from that! Now if only the many school systems around the country could and act upon it.
Now, how am I going to ingest Ted.com’s 378 videos, with more coming? That’s a lot of time! And even more brain and soul power! Inspiration and knowledge are like drugs for me. I can only handle so much of it at once, even though I love it. I then need time to absorb it and recover from it.
[ I should warn you that drug analogy is lie-kely a lie because I have never taken a drug in my life, and I barely drink an average of a glass of wine every 10 years. I don’t really know what I’m talking about but I feel I can imagine it accurately. ]
Moderation is going to be the key to ingest those videos. That solves the absorption problem, but what about time and my conscience? I can’t bear to ingest media without multitasking. Well, nobody said you had to really watch the videos. Sure, watching helps a little bit, but all you really need to do is listen. That’s all you need to be inspired, which means I could multi-task to do things like, say, cook? Yes, I need to cook more in my life. What a partnership this is going to be!
I can also download the talk in MP3s, which means I can also listen to them while I run. I already listen to audio books while I run, but for the most part, they won’t compare to this! As if running generally weren’t enlightening enough for me considering how many bright ideas I get during my runs, this will be unbelievable!
Of all the sites I have discovered over the years, I can honestly say few have gotten me as excited as Ted.com, includes porn sites if you’ll pardon me for an inappropriate and inaccurate joke. 🙂
Enjoy! I mean Ted.com, not the porn sites!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.7