Thursday, April 28, 2011

Response to Ric Elias TED Talk

One day, Ric Elias was one a relaxing plane flight to Manhattan, when there were some problems and the plane crashed into the Hudson River. He talks about the three things that he learned that day. First that everything changes in an instant. We have so many things that we want to do in life, but it could all end at once. Second, letting his ego get in the way of his life. He uses the great example and says, " All the time I wasted on things that did not matter with people that did matter." Last, the third thing that he says is that dying really is not scary. He lived a good life and even though he did not want to go, it is like he has been preparing for it his whole life.

These ideas that Ric talks about brought about many new ideas and questions for me. For his first idea, it is like making sure that you do everything that you can before you are gone. People in our society think that they will live forever, and so they are not conscious of anything that they do. They might do things in life that will really come back to haunt them, and that they will really regret. People need to live as if today was their last day (because it really could be). We need to live everyday with a good attitude, and we need to help others and not push off our kindness to some other day. But, what really makes me wonder is, why do we need a life changing experience such as a plane crash to realize this? Why do so many people think that they will never die, or live in that mindset? Why do people not give their kindness everyday and all the time? Ric also talks about his ego getting in the way of his way of life. For example, he puts his own needs in front of the needs of other people. he talks about how we need to realize that we are not more important than everyone else in the world. We never know if we will see someone ever again and if we waste our time with them on ourselves, it will never turn out well. Why do we let our own wants overcome the needs of others?  I think that people should give up their time to help others instead of taking it all for themselves. It shows how selfish our world has become. Last, he talks about dying. We really spend our whole live working up to death, but most people still are taken by surprise. He said that it also brought him sadness though. He loved his life and did not want to go just like everyone else on this planet, and it made him think of the one idea, watching his kids grow up. For me, I think that my thoughts would be how I lived my life. Did I make an impact on everyone that I met? Did I do something that made their life better instead of worse? Was I open to everyone? And even just by typing these sentences I can tell that I haven't, and I think that all people need this wake up call.


As for Elias's speaking and presentation styles, I think that he did a good job. He did not really have a much different presentation style as any of the other speakers we have seen, but he still did a good job. He put in little bits of comedy, but I also liked how he put in his examples. His example of the plane crash did a good job of explaining what he was trying to say and he did a good job.


Many points were presented in this video, but for what really matters, I think that it is to make every day like it was your last. This is really important to everyone in the world and especially in our generation. We need to know that everything does not revolve around us, and that others matter more. We need to do what we can to improve the lives of others and help them to succeed. To me personally this matters because I know that I can improve on this. I need to put others in front me instead of thinking only about myself, and it would make my life and the lives of those around me much better. To education, this matters for the teachers and the way that they teach. If teachers would teach as if all of the kids would be gone the next day, and they could only teach them one thing, education would be much more successful. The teachers would give the kids ideas that truly matter and they could show them what they need to do. To the world, if the entire world stopped caring only about themselves, every one's lives would be fuller and more worth living. And, much of our generations selfishness would disappear.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Response to Clay Shirky TED Talk

This specific TED talk was packed with many intense ideas, but was also very interesting. Although some parts were hard to understand, it still brought up new ideas when listened to. Some of the ideas that really stood out to me in this are the Kenya story, design for generosity, and the daycare example. First was the Kenya story. I thought that it was so amazing what this woman had done, and how she was able to inform the world about what was going on in that country. These pieces of information that this  woman gave were obviously very important to what was going on, and allowed other parts of the world to tune in and see what they could do. For example, the Ushahidi idea. Since these people were able to tune into the problems of this country, they were also able to see what was happening for the woman creating it all, and they were able to massively help her. They created a site that made getting the information out so much easier, which helped everyone overall. So, what I took from this is that it is so amazing that two random guys reading her blog were able to listen to her problems and help her drastically. Maybe there are people out there that could fix many other of societies problems. Maybe they just need to get and idea to start the growing of their idea. Is there a way to accomplish so much more that we have been missing? Anyway, the second thing that stood out to me was the design for generosity. This has to do with people doing things because they want to , and not because they are forced to. An example of this is something open-source. The people controlling that open source idea are doing something or giving their time because they want to. If someone pays you to do something or just even tells you to do something. It makes sense too, why would you spend so much time and effort on something that you do not even like? Ideas are made great when someone wants to make them flourish and gives them enough time to succeed. This topic also brings up questions. Like, why is everything that we do not like this? If the turnout is better when something is for a person's enjoyment, why are people still forced to do specific things? Also, why is it that the turnout is so much better? Which leads me to my next idea, the daycare example. I thought that the day care example was a great way to show exactly what he was talking about. It made everything much more clear, and it showed me what he meant be the design for generosity. When he talked about and showed how when a fine was put into place, the amount of late parents doubled and almost tripled, it showed me that this idea was not fake, it really existed and happened all over. It showed how feelings are much more important, and as soon as money is involved, everyone takes it for granted. A good example of this is like what we talked about in class. If a fine is there, the parents become more careless and say, "Oh, since it is only a small fine, it is alright if I'm late," and even as the fine is removed, the parents have already crossed the line, so they are fine with crossing it again. But, what would happen if feelings were involved? Would the parents have realized what an inconvenience they were putting on the workers? Or that their lateness may have taken away someone else's time with their own children? Would the number of late parents have dropped? Probably.

Clay Shirky had a very distinctive but also very good speaking and presentation style. He talked with precision, very straight forward, and was able to get to the point. Although every other talk I have listened to had a little bit of comedy and this one did not, I still think that this talk had the same affect, and the point was still received. I really liked how Shirky was very straight forward. Although he talked in a very sophisticated and was very vocabularious, it still worked and I got what he was trying to say. I also partially liked his presentation style. I think that he did a good job with the pictures he had and the way he used them. For example, he did not have a picture for every point that he made, nor do I think that he should have, and he only had ones for the points that he thought were the most relevant, and I agree.

What I think really matters from this video are the ideas that Shirky makes between economic and social success. Although he makes many other good points, I saw this point as the one that stood out. Our society should not be using money or force to make decisions dealing with this succeed. They need to work with the feeling of it more to show people what really matters. For me, I can see this point standing out very clear in an experience that I had in my eighth grade year. In my math class, close to the end of the year we chose a project out of about ten. Now, the project that I chose could have been done in a few hours and still looked alright, but I wanted to make the project good. I had gotten really close to my teacher that year, and so I did not want her to think that I did not give it my all. So, I did and it turned out incredible and she loved it. How this relates to this topic is that if I did not know my teacher well, I would have just followed the requirements just enough that I would get a good grade. I would not have cared what my teacher thought, I would have just wanted to get the project done and over with. So, that story shows how important feelings are to life. To education this is important because of the idea I just gave. If teaching it used on more of a feeling approach, the results will be much better, and students will try much harder. Also, this does not have to apply to just schools or daycare, why can it not apply to the whole world? The world needs to stop using techniques such as rewards or punishments, because in the long run they really do not do that much damage. The world needs to feel what everyone is going through, and if it can do this, life will be much more complete.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Response to Daniel Pink TED Talk

            This last talk that I and my classmates reviewed was spoken by a renowned author by the name of Daniel Pink. This talk was probably the most interesting of the three so far, because Daniel Pink has become a crucial figure in the learning of our high school's English class due to our reading of A Whole New Mind. This book is very interesting and has to do with right-brained thinking flourishing more than ever before, and it has lead to some amazing thoughts and deep discussions.

             Daniel Pink's talk was entitled The Surprising Science of Motivation. The main idea of this talk was that, as Pink states, "There's a mismatch between what science knows and what business does." In other words, scientific studies show that incentives or rewards given out do not lead to harder work ethic and more success, they actually lead to the inverse of that. Less willingness to try hard, and worse outcome. For example, Pink talks about an experiment that was done on this case. There were two groups: one group was incentivized, and the other group was told that they would be studied to establish social norms. Both groups were given a problem known as the candle problem. The user is given a box of tacks, a candle, and some matches and told to tack the candle to the wall to stop the wax from getting onto the table.

         After the groups had thought about this problem for a while, they finally figured out the answer. They had to thumbtack the box into the wall and set the candle in it.

            After the experiment was finished, it was found that the incentivized group finished three and a half minutes slower than the un-incentivized group. But that does not make any sense. Then Pink goes on to tell the next part which was where both groups were given the same problem, but with the tacks out of the box.

             Now, oddly enough, the incentivized group figured out the problem much faster, and they were able beat the other group by a long shot. But why is that???

             The reason for this is that the second time, the task was straight forward and had a set of simple rules. But, the first time, the problem was more complex, and the answer was not as right out in the open. So Pink's point is this: In modern times, there are not as many problems like "candle problem for dummies", but there are many more like the real candle problem. In other words, straight-forward tasks are becoming less important, or can be completed in a better way be uses of technology. What is starting to become more needed is the completion of hard or creative problems. The use of the left brain will not be as important.

                Pink's speaking and presentation styles also contributes to this talk's success. Daniel Pink has a very distinct way of speaking. He is very calm, cool, and collected, and is able to get his points across very well. He does a good job of showing what is really important from his talk. So, with these different styles of speaking and presentation, Pink really enhanced the experience of his audience.

             The points made in Pink's talk are very important and matter incredible to our modern times, and may matter even more in the future. What matters is that business is doing something completely wrong. Offering the incentives does not help the overall outcome, it only makes it worse. How this matters to education is that schools and teachers do the exact same thing. Teachers give out rewards to the students who are successful, or use incentives to lead students to perform better. But, as the studies show, this does not work, and this method's use should be stopped. Personally, I can relate to this because of my experience with this. At my old school, for an incentive to do well on CSAP, the teachers offered the reward of a day at the park and a dress down day. But, looking back I can see that this did not work. Students, including myself, were worried too much about if the teachers would think that they were trying, and so they did not think about the actual work as they should have. Also, if the results were reviewed and compared with those from previous years, I think that Pink's point would have shown.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Response to the TED Talk of Mick Ebeling

               Finding a video that sounded very interesting and good to write about was hard. But, after watching this video, I had made up my mind that this was the one for me. The ideas that this man talks about and the stories that he brings up are both very touching, and also very moving. This talk gives me a new perspective on many parts of my life. Anyway, the main idea of this article is that everything seems or looks impossible at first, but it may not be. As Mick stated in his talk, this computer was impossible at one time, this keyboard that I am typing on was impossible at one time, everything was impossible at one time, until someone believed that it was not. This talk teaches the world to view everything as possible instead of impossible, and to look at life in a different way. We need to face our problems with a greater attitude, and we must find a solution to them instead of running away from them.

                What brought about this incredible idea is the story that Mick Ebeling told during his talk. What happened was that Mick somehow came to know a  man named Tony, or "Tempt" as he went by. When he was younger, Tempt was an amazing graffiti artist, and he loved what he did. He was extremely talented and his art was loved by many. But, then Tempt became paralyzed, which was a horrible turning point in his life. Tempt could not move at all, he could not speak, and he could not even walk around. The only part of his body that he could move was his eyes. When Mick found out about this man, he and the rest of "The Ebeling Group" decided to sponsor him, and completely changed his life. They were able to bring up his mood, and they were able to find him some means of communication. But, the main thing that they did for him made him happier than he had been in quite a while. Art. Mick was able to gather up a group of inventors, and after a while, they came up with a type of art that is used only with the eyes of the user. So, Tempt was able to draw again and as he said, " I feel like I had been held underwater, and someone finally reached in and pulled my head up so I could take a breath."

                 Along with this talk's amazing message and story, I also really liked Mick's speaking techniques. He did a great job of enhancing the experience of the audience, and keeping the interested. The first technique that he used was relaxed talk. The way that he talked about his ideas in such a relaxed manner made the audience feel more into the talk, and more in tune with what Mick was talking about. Like many other speakers, he also used the technique of little bits of comedy. By doing this he was able to keep the audience entertained, and he was able to prepare them better for the big finale. His ways of speaking really made the work better, and they made it much more interesting to watch. He also presented his information very well. He was able to present in a relaxed manner, but he was also able to present his ideas perfectly and in the right fashion. He used many different styles and was able to lead up to the ending statement.

                 What matters most about this video is plain and simple. Make the impossible possible, Follow your dreams and make them a reality, Complete a task that others may judge as unable to be completed. This point is very important in our society today, because it feels like people are losing grasp of this idea. They are starting to believe that when something seems impossible, it is. Or that dreams can never be real, that is why they are dreams.What we do not realize, is that that way of thinking is all wrong. Even in my daily life I can see this happening. Even in myself. When someone comes up with an idea that seems wrong or impossible, it is quickly discarded and never thought of again. We should strive to come up with ideas such as those, and we should cherish them. This matters to the world in the sense that there are many ideas that may be thrown out, but may have been an idea that could have helped millions of people. For example, if Mick had not tried to make his dream a reality, Tempt (and all of the others with his condition) would never have been able to draw again, and that cause in itself is important enough.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Response to Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk

               Throughout the TED talk of Sir Ken Robinson, many important ideas and points are brought up that have to do with education and creativity. The main idea of this talk is that, as the title says, schools or educations are killing the creativity of many young children, and leading them to a completely one sided way of living. He states that schools do not teach the many arts in as much detail and with as much importance as they do with the "foundational" subjects such as English or Math. There were also many other ideas that were mixed in and connected to the subject such as how the minds of children work. He brought up two stories about how children are not scared to be wrong so they will try at anything, and if they are, they do not give up. They keep on trying until they succeed. But, as they grow up and continue on into the world of education, that idea is stripped from their brains and a new one is implanted. Mistakes are the worst thing that could happen. So, this leads them to give up if they think that they will make a mistake, and it also leads to their creativity deteriorating due to the lack of its use.

                 Although the points that Sir Ken Robinson used were magnificent, the ways that he presented them were all the more. The one technique that I specifically liked was the one of comedy. Robinson did a great job of throwing in little pieces of comedy into his talk and they made it that much better. The reason for this is simple. Even if a subject is very interesting, after a while an audience member might start to get bored of it. So, by using comedy, Robinson was able to keep the audience happy and intrigued the whole time. Also, his presentation style was a big part in this talk's success. Robinson used the effective style of being laid back and friendly with the audience. He was able to get all of his points across, while also throwing in a few jokes and looking completely relaxed. This style showed the audience (including me) that he knew what he was talking about and that it really deserves a lot of thought.
                The ideas stated in this TED talk do deserve a lot of thought and they are extremely important to the world today and especially the world in the future. They show that children being able to express themselves and to do what they want to do is what matters, not what their parents or teachers want them to do. Education in the world today is taking the wrong approach to learning. It thinks that the "core subjects" are the only ones that matter, and the arts are just there for fun and do not really mean anything. It is teaching children that mistakes are terrible, and stopping their creative minds from flowing. For example, I can even see this in my life. All throughout my school career, I have never had one single drama class, and almost no music or art classes, whereas even since kindergarten, I can distinctly remember having math every single day. Then, as I entered high school, I started to realize in a bigger way how much I liked some of the arts and that I was not too bad at them, and I realize now what I was missing. So, subjects such as math and reading should not be the only ones that matter, because they are not. Education needs to bring in a few new forms of learning to let the creative minds of children flourish.