Dozens of new communications platforms have entered our culture over the past few decades, with mixed results. TED – an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design – stands virtually alone in its ability to genuinely advance the public conversation in a positive and enlightening direction.
Taking the format of a short lecture series by experts in their fields, TED offers audiences the ability to follow intellectual leaders as they tell the stories behind the headlines. Some speakers talk about projects they were currently working on, giving a preview of exciting projects and innovations to come.
Founded in the 1980s, TED began reaching a wide audience only after the internet developed the ability to archive videos efficiently. It then became a hugely influential source of ideas for a generation full of intellectual curiosity.
In 2009, the organization introduced TEDx as a major expansion of the original TED format and events. TEDx events differ in that they are local and independently organized – but they still reflect TED’s vision and goal to cover ‘ideas worth spreading’. Thousands of TEDx events are currently held all around the world each year, providing speakers and audiences alike with excellent opportunities to engage in the important issues of the day.
TEDxYouth at ISB
As the content and design of each TEDx event is developed by the independent organizers, TEDx allows for organizers to place their own values into events, covering topics the speakers and members in their community care about and can relate to.
International School Bangkok (ISB) has proudly held TEDxYouth talks each year since 2013. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.
These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
TEDxYouth@ISBangkok consists of a series of short talks covering a wide range of subjects. These are intended to foster learning, while also provoking conversation around the subject of the talk.
Every TEDxYouth@ISBangkok is fully developed, organized, and hosted by ISB. All of the speakers are ISB students, who come onstage to share their thoughts on the topics and stories they are passionate about.
Each of our TEDx speakers teaches us something new and valuable about the world, while also growing immeasurably through the experience. The theme for this year’s event, “Catalyst for Change”, focuses on how each of us can interact positively with the world around us. A great deal of work goes into the research and preparation process, and each presenter gains valuable knowledge and experience as a result.
ISB encourages a distinct set of values – courage, respect, responsibility, and more – along with attributes such as being creative, value-driven, socially intelligent and globally minded. Each of these qualities is nurtured and reinforced through the experience of writing and delivering talks in the TEDx format. As a project for student growth, TEDx is the perfect fit for the skills and ideals we hope to instill in our students.
Leadership in a Communications-Driven World
Public speaking is an effective tool in life, made all the more valuable by the fact that so many of us are either afraid of it or never learn the skills needed to deliver an effective speech. A good public speaking ability can be a great help throughout a person’s life and career, while also improving one’s self-esteem, critical thinking skills, and leadership capability. A Washington Post article argues:
For the sake of social equality, all schools should teach children the public speaking skills they need for educational progress, for work and for full participation in democracy. Our research is beginning to show that children who are taught these skills, perform better in maths, science and reasoning tests.
The content of each of their TEDx talks is crucially important. The long-time TED slogan, “ideas worth spreading”, itself suggests the power of the human voice to help shape society. By encouraging participants to pick topics and causes they are passionate about, we help to develop students who strive to enrich their communities through intellectual, humanitarian, and creative thoughts and actions.
For many, at TEDxYouth@ISBangkok 2019, it will be their first time presenting their ideas to the wider world. This interaction will be valuable for them in so many ways, helping them grow into more capable adults. Every speech is an act of giving – in which the speaker, the audience, and the wider culture are all greatly enriched by the experience.