The LFHS TED-Ed Club officially launched Tuesday, and it was a spirited turnout. A dozen students (with more promising to join after the fall sports season) attended and engaged in some lively conversations. If you are new to TED-Ed Clubs, here’s a little background: it’s TED-Ed’s official initiative aimed at celebrating student ideas and giving them more of a voice via TED-style Talks. That’s it in a nutshell, but the clubs are more than that. Students meet regularly to watch TED Talks, discuss big ideas, develop their own big ideas and use social media/video chatting to communicate with other TED-Ed Clubs around the world. I’ve blogged about the clubs before on TED-Ed – and the TL/DR version is that they are freedom-based, 100% student-driven, and prioritize student voice above all else. How cool is that?
But we want to go further. Our unofficial motto right now is “ideas in action” – let’s not just wistfully dream of ways to improve the world, let’s actually do it. Let’s launch some initiatives, go out into the community, and make it happen. Imagine how cool it’d be for the students’ TED-style talks to have some real substance. They wouldn’t be speculating, they’d be talking definitively about ideas they actually enacted, and that’d be really, really powerful.
TED-Ed offers a manual and timeline for running your club, and the first meeting calls for students to talk about three (3) things they are passionate about. That’s a great place to start, but we decided to flip it on its head. We asked the students to create with lists of things that bug them, AKA, the “bug list.” Responses were widely varied: gender inequality, gum chewing, landfills, slow walkers in the hallway, non-renewable energy, humming, selfish people, lack of recycling options…the list goes on. We then challenged the students to come up with real, enactable solutions to these problems – things they could do as LFHS students. The creative solutions came flying in. To help jumpstart more of a culture of equality, students suggested more co-ed sports (Ultimate Frisbee?). Local recycling awareness is a problem, so how about more Whole Foods-style recycling at the school? And instead of forcing the cafeteria to change its offerings (which is difficult, the students reasoned), what about bringing a Farmer’s Market to LFHS and promoting healthier and local food that way? These ideas are all doable, and they represent real, enactable progress – and I’m super excited to help the students if these are the initiatives they’d like to pursue.
So, what’s next? We’ll be meeting weekly, creating an Instagram page, begin developing our own TED-style talks, descend upon the community for some TED-Ed Club adventures, and hopefully cap it all off with a TEDxYouth event in the spring. The club’s future is completely wide open and student-driven, which is a main reason why I’m enamored with TED-Ed Clubs and everything TED-Ed has to offer.