In September of this year, I participated in my very first TEDx conference. I have been a big fan of TED videos for quite some time, but so far, I have only participated from the comfort of my couch. The official TED conference is usually held each year on the West Coast, and the cost of attending can reach into the thousands of dollars. Because of this, I was extraordinarily excited to find out that there would be a local TEDx conference in Minnesota this fall.
Officially named TEDx Burnsville, this local conference featured a strong line-up of speakers, including nationally-known educators and ed-leaders Eric Sheninger and Jennie Magiera. The topic of the conference was “Real World Ready” and each speaker talked about what it truly means to be preparing students for the real world.
To affirm the importance of student voice, the TEDX Burnsville line-up also featured Hasib Muhammad, an inspiring young man who has spoken in front of the United Nations on youth empowerment. His talk, along with many others throughout the day, reminded me that preparing students for the ‘real world’ is not just about preparing students for life after high school. In many ways, being real world ready means giving students the tools they need to navigate and influence our world in the present.
Although there were many thought-provoking moments throughout the course of the day, my favorite TED talk of the conference came from Jennie Magiera. A former colleague of mine had introduced me to Ms. Magiera’s blog several years ago. Having been impressed by her work and writing online, I had high expectations for her talk, which event coordinators had scheduled as the final of the day. Ms. Magiera’s passion and conviction exceeded my expectations and refreshed my own enthusiasm for education. The 18-minute talk is definitely well-worth the watch.
There were also a good number of local educators and administrators featured in the line-up, including Chris Turnbull, Michelle Ament, Brad Scherer, Brad Gustafson and 2014 MN Teacher of the Year Tom Rademacher. I had been following many of these local educators on Twitter, so it was exciting to finally see and hear from them in person. The complete list of speakers (as well as videos of their speeches) can be found here.