ALA Midwinter 2017

Libraries are incubators of innovation! #alamw17

This afternoon Dr. Sara Duvall, a librarian from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor showcased her incredible student-led project in the session “TEDx and TED Ed: How Kids and Communities Can Create an Innovative Event to Learn Forward Forever.”

As the curator of TEDxYouth@AnnArbor she recruits student organizers from the 13 public and private high schools in the city who work together to put on this event (this April will mark the fifth anniversary). What distinguishes the Ann Arbor version from other TEDx events is that the students do all the work!

The event brings together a group of kids who are diverse in many ways, and together they organize into various committees: marketing/PR, tech (this group receives free training from the local public access television station), design, etc. They audition young people from across the city. Check out Dea Chappell’s incredible Black Lives Matter poem:

The TEDx event goes far beyond the talented speakers and performers. They also bring in hands-on makerspace activities sponsored by various clubs and organizations to actively immerse all the attendees in the philosophy of the TED organization.

What are the benefits of running a TEDx conference with your student? In Duvall’s words, they “develop problem solving super powers,” hone their collaboration skills, cultivate “creative fluency,” and engage in global digital citizenship, all of which supports important aspects of college and career readiness.

Feel daunted? You don’t have to begin with a full-day event of this magnitude. You can begin with something very small, a TEDx club or an afternoon of talks. Check out the TEDx website and see what you can do! And while you’re at it, why not get started with TED Ed and share a lesson of your own?

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