13 February 2012

Brain Candy: My Top Five TED Talks

Recently, I was speaking with my parents and said something about TED Talks.  You can imagine my surprise that they had never heard of TED.  Wow, I said, you guys are in for something very special.

TED Talks are like candy for my brain.  There are many evenings when friends will come over and we will kick back to watch each other's favorite TED Talks.  There are many lunch breaks when I will reboot by watching TED.  By far, TED has become arguably my most important resource for inspiration, creativity, and learning.

So, Mom and Dad, as an introduction to this incredible library and compendium of ideas and ways of thinking, here are my top five TED talks.

1.  Sir Ken Robinson's Do Schools Kill Creativity.  It's hard to pick which one of Sir Ken's talks to show.  I love his most recent TED talk and I love the visualization video that gives a history of current education paradigms and how they need to change.  This seems particularly apropos to a conversation my father and I had over dinner where my dad pointed out that one facet to America's problems is that our vision of the future is based on the past (don't you love solving the world's problems over dinner?)  This video demonstrates how true that is in education.

2.  Barry Schwartz's talk on the Paradox of Choice is certainly one of my favorites.  It is particularly important, in my view, to librarians' understanding of search habits and information overload.  This talk is funny while challenging what has become a fundamental principle of our culture.  Great stuff.

3.  Daniel Pink's talk on the Surprising Science of Motivation.  Again, I love how funny Pink is while challenging our traditional notions of motivation.  Especially as I think about the kind of leader and manager I want to be, this talk is on the top layer of my tool box.

4.  Simon Sinek's talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action.  Again, perhaps because I am focusing on leadership but this talk is wonderful.   This is a talk that is vital to teachers.  For today's students, we must give them the WHY.  

5.  Benjamin Zander's talk on Music and Passion.  I know this will be my parents' favorite talk because of their deep love of classical music (which I share).  But I love this talk because it inspires me as a librarian, teacher, thinker, and parent.  I have used Zander's process of coming home as an instructional design model (very successfully) and I deeply appreciate his passion for teaching and connecting with us.  Marvelous.

Selecting my top five TEDs was actually quite difficult.  I have been watching this video by Michael Wesch a lot lately and I think this talk by Sheryl Sandberg is inspiriting, especially as a Smithie.

So, give it a go: what are your favorite TED talks?  Which ones would you share to someone just meeting TED for the first time?