My TEDx Talk

I recently had the privilege of presenting at TEDxSaskatoon. It was a great event living up to the reputation TED has of bringing together people with creative and inspirational ideas.

Creating a TED talk is different from other presentations I've done. 18 minutes provides significant restrains from the usual 45-90 minute time slots I'm used to having for presentations. Trying to be concise and lucid is not as easy as it might sound. I'm used to playing with ideas, sensing the audience and having a few different options to tap into during any given presentation. With 18 minutes you need to make your points quickly and clearly. There was a great deal of stuff left on the cutting room floor. I likely started with about 40 minutes of content and managed to get it down to 15 minutes. I still question if some of the ideas were coherent or if they flowed together.

In most of my talks I take advantage of the presenter notes and usually fill it with bullet points and the occasional sentence or two that I don't want to misread. With this talk I almost memorized the script word for word. The challenge is making it sound like I didn't. I couldn't afford to stray or fumble since I had no time to recover or regroup. For the most part I think I accomplished this but would have liked to finish my talk more strongly.

I normally speak to educators exclusively but have had the opportunity to speak to more diverse audiences which is really helpful to remove jargon and some presumed background knowledge from my presentations. I didn't want to make this only about schools so at least half of the talk looks at connective technologies and historical context outside of education. The idea was to help people see the past and the current status of community and tie that to schools. This one is still hard for me to gauge as it's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

I certainly I didn't nail the delivery but I will say it was a great learning experience for me. I have great respect for anyone who's had to do one. 


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  • Excellent job Dean! I enjoyed the ‘pop in’ analogy with
    home and edtech today. Educators do a poor job of bringing
    legitimacy to social services and it’s essential role in cultural
    development and leadership.

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  • Enjoyed the talk… Nicely done.

  • Dean,
    I really enjoyed this talk, not only because of the message, but also because I was able to see a lot of the Dean @shareski I have come to know on Twitter represented in the talk. Having followed your house adventure, marvelled at your (many) “pop-ins” at your former neighbour’s for (free) meals, heard you share your dog stories, and seen social media events from your talk shared in real time, I can say that the sense community you represent as being re-built via the Internet is certainly a force for the positive. Great message, and a great delivery.

    • Thanks Andrew. I was glad it stayed true the message I live and believe is integral to community in general. One of the challenges was helping others who don’t experience this to make the connection to their own world. I know this makes sense to you, I think it’s important to continually connect others to things they already know to be true and right

  • I really enjoyed your talk Dean. I too love the analogy between the “pop-ins” of yesterday and the way “pop-ins” are being used today in education. I know how much I learn when I think to “pop-in” on Twitter and spend some time listening and sharing with others. It is a world I’ve tried to encourage and facilitate for my students and hope to do more of in the future. Collaboration and networking are important skills to learn in real life and online. Hopefully your talk will continue to inspire other educators to do the same. Well done.

  • Loved the talk Dean. I think the structure of the talk was
    very well thought out and I have found myself thinking about the
    idea of “popping in” as a really good analogy to what we are able
    to do through social networking. You are so right about the decline
    in community and also the problems that we have, as educators, to
    get the message across about the real potential of the web for our
    fellow teachers. Well done.

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  • Sarah Edson

    Well done, Dean. This was an excellent presentation. I
    think these positive examples of connecting are a critical antidote
    to the fear that keeps so many holed up in their “garage houses” —
    physical or virtual, domestic or academic. Isolated classrooms,
    “protected” tweets, and excessively restrictive filter settings so
    often result from fear and perpetuate the notion that the Web is
    merely a humanity-destroying cesspool of crime and silliness. I
    believe more stories such as the ones you’ve shared and this one merit greater attention and
    discussion, lest we miss the opportunity to share and co-create
    things that are great… and good things that are fantastic. P.S. I
    thought the Bacon Nation example made it a homerun.

  • Dean, I echo many of the comments that have already been made. I think you did a great job, the slideshow running behind you helped share your message. Well done.