Review: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

Speaker: Lawrence Lessig
Date: February 2013
Location: Long Beach, California

Description from TED website:
There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

Being a Political Science major (from my undergrad years), I have to say that I love this talk! I think it’s an excellent talk for high school and college-level courses in the area of history, political science, legal studies, or even social work. I think that it is imperative that we teach our young people about our government, its history, why our founding fathers made some of the decisions they made. And it needs to be placed in context. Too many of us take a fact out of context and have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. It’s just a fact of our humanity…we all do it! That is why it’s important for students to watch such talks and engage in thought-provoking assignments around such material.

Of course, you know I’ll always say that discussions are a great way to encourage students to engage after watching such a talk. Another way to get students to engage would be to pair this talk with a quiz. Or use it to start a paper assignment. What about a debate? That might be interesting.

I would love to hear some ideas from others about ways they would get students to engage with the content from this talk! So feel free to reach out or leave a note with your reflections!

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: We need to talk about an injustice

Speaker: Bryan Stevenson
Date: March 2012
Location: Long Beach, California

Description from TED website:
In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight, and persuasiveness.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

While this may be an older talk … it is still extremely powerful. This talk is a perfect complement to criminal justice or social justice courses. It also works well for sociology, legal, and political science courses.

With the type of talk that this is, I can see it as an excellent talk for spurring discussion among students. For an online course, I would recommend requiring students to watch the video and then give them some “points to consider” as they respond with their thoughts/feedback on the talk. (Basing the “points to consider” on how the video intersects with the concepts of your course.)

Can you see utilizing this video in your curriculum? What other ways might you use it to engage your students?

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: Never, ever give up

Speaker: Diana Nyad
TEDWomen 2013
Date: December 2013
Location: San Francisco, California

Description from TED website:
In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on saltwater, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — at age 64. Hear her story.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

This is an amazing story of the power of resilience and persistence. The first person, ever, to swim from Cuba to Florida … and at the age of 64! This is an amazing story!

I can see this talk used as a great way to teach about the power of persistence. This could be used at nearly any age. I don’t have experience teaching children, so I’m not sure what the minimum age would be for showing this video … but I suspect it could be used at least with middle-schoolers and up.

I think this would be a great talk to show students and then have a group discussion on… I can certainly see coaches leveraging this video with their athletes! However, I think there is more to this than sports. I believe that this talk could be a great way to help teach young people about the power of persistence in any effort.

I can really see this as a great assignment for those studying psychology. A great way to start a talk on the power of persistence and/or resilience. It would be great for discussions, but also papers, especially reflection papers. How powerful would it be for students to watch this and then reflect on their own endeavors?

What about using it for a project with grads students? They could observe people as they watch the video, and then interview them. That might make for an interesting learning experience for those students. It would certainly give them some interesting interview experience.

What do you think? How can you see leveraging this powerful story? Would you use it in the education realm? Or perhaps use it in the public/private sector to inspire employees? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: How to find peace with loss through music

Speaker: Steven Sharp Nelson
Date: September 2020
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Description from TED website:
Music can act as a guide, says cellist Steven Sharp Nelson. It has the power to unlock the mind, tap into the heart and bring light in the darkest times. Take a deep breath as Nelson takes you on a melodic, meditative journey that could reconnect you with your closest loved ones — no matter how near or far they may be.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

I very much enjoy the TED Talks conducted by artists. This one especially since I saw The Piano Guys in concert several years ago in Atlanta (took my parents & grandmother to see them for my parents’ anniversary one year).

This talk is a bit different from the normal ones that I bring up through this review process. However, I still believe it has major potential for the educational realm.

The primary field I see this talk good for is psychology. Since music is a means of therapy, it would be good for introducing young psychology majors to the realm and study of Music Therapy (which is a wonderful field of study, in and of itself).

I think instructors could use this in a course when starting the topic of music therapy with those students. In music programs, this also could be used to show music students various alternative uses for their craft.

How can you see this talk being applied to a curriculum? Do you have any ideas of what types of assignments you might pair this talk with? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality

Speaker: Anil Seth
Date: April 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC

Description from TED website:
Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.” Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

So this talk was a bit harder for me to wrap my thoughts around. It made sense and didn’t make sense at the same time … does that make sense?

Anyway, he mentions several fields of study in this talk that provide us with a good starting list of fields of study that might can leverage this talk!

  • Neuroscience
  • Physics
  • Virtual Reality
  • Mathematics
  • Psychiatry
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Computer Science

These are the fields he listed on screen that are the different disciplines that work at his lab at the University of Sussex. However, I am sure that there are more fields of study that could benefit from analyzing, dissecting, and discussing this talk.

What does this talk mean for those who study mythology? What about theology? Does it affect the studies of sociology or anthropology? How about political science or international studies?

He mentioned several medical fields of study … how might it affect someone learning physical therapy and the way the brain predicts pain? Could this be leveraged to reduce pain in patients going through physical therapy? What types of studies could graduate-level students do to prove/disprove this concept?

Here’s another thought … what does this mean for music? For the person listening? For the person playing the instrument? Does it even come into play in this realm?

Can I just say my head is spinning with different fields of study that this talk might be used with?

I would love to hear your thoughts! What fields of study can you see using this talk with? What types of assignments/activities would you pair with it?

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

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