This was part of my speech on August 7 at Portland, Oregon during the 8th Annual AERO Conference — Transforming Education & Our World and was originally posted at the TEDxKids@BC website. I hope you will enjoy the video I made for the occasion – bear in mind that this was my first attempt at video editing! I am looking forward to your feedback on my thoughts around bringing the kids into a partnership with us adults and making a social change and shaping the future together
Try to imagine a future without kids. It hurts to even think about this, right? It’s a nightmare we better never see! How about kids without a future? Unfortunately, the world in which many kids have no future already exists — we live in it every day.
I am not talking runaway climate change roasting the biosphere here — from poverty, to no access to clean drinking water, to diseases, to no basic human rights — examples of this kind abound. But the kids also face problems like outdated school systems, inefficient healthcare, disconnectedness from nature, society that values conformity over authenticity…
In our world, adults decide for the kids: From serving chocolate milk during school lunch to opting out from vaccines… From cutting school budgets and enforcing standardized testing to choosing energy sources and CO2 limits… From what to learn and whom to learn with to when and how to play! Read more…
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh,” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw,
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
NOTE: This was originally posted at the new TEDxKids@BC blog. I invite my readers to check the blog out as we’re trying to bring various authors to share their stories and ideas around empowering kids, nurturing passion, fostering creativity, supporting authentic learning!
There were many times in my life when I would dream, often with my eyes open, but it wasn’t until sometime last year that some of those dreams popped out of my head and started running in front of me. It wasn’t something I did that brought them to life. Nor could I control them once they were on their own either. All I could do was to touch them to be sure of them. Read more…
I know self-organization is possible! After all we know that life emerged from the chemical soup that was Earth ~ 4 billions of years ago — through nothing else but self-organization at molecular level. I guess something must make this Universe inherently capable of self-organization at many levels.
But to see self-organization including people with completely different backgrounds — at any level you can imagine: from education, to skills, to profession, to culture! — come together to organize an event like TEDxUBC was a mind-boggling experience for me!
TEDxUBC is few things! It is a quest to figure out how should secondary, post-secondary and lifelong learners be prepared for a world moving fast forward at breakneck speed? It is a conference that brings educators, business people and enthusiasts to share their ideas about transforming education. It is a movement to stir the public and various institutions into action to implement those ideas. It is a bunch of passionate people coming together to change the world in their own little way!
Update: I’ve provided some clarification about the spirit of this article in the comments below! Please read and let me know your feedback!
This morning, I got disillusioned! — definitely not a good feeling for a Monday morning
No, it’s not the fact that TED didn’t endorse TEDChildren – disappointing as it was at first, I later realized that was just a symptom — but the realization that my ideas about a participatory world of engaged individuals are missing a key element!
The lesson I learned today? The participatory world doesn’t exist on its own, it is sprouting out from the existing money-driven economy, and the cost for its existence is paid by the consumers!
I am very passionate about platforms and got to think that only few have a key essence – I call it platformness — that sets apart the truly successful ones from all the others — the others that even though they’re designed to be platforms either never take off or remain to be used simply as versatile products. It is the essence that emerges when the platform and its users engage in a positive feedback loop that enables previously unimaginable uses to sprout out.
The premise of my previous article was that today’s world values participation above consumption and the new economy of attention selects those who engage with others and not those who focus on earning and spending money.
As I mentioned at the end of the article, though, there’s one more aspect about this view of the world that I didn’t cover. It is an aspect that I am most excited about and would like to lay it out here!
In a peculiar twist of random events converging to an unexpected outcome — which will become obvious below — after writing the article last night, today I got to watch Carne Ross, the first ever “freelance diplomat”, speaking at one of TED’s partner conferences, the Business Innovation Factory summit last year.
I am not writing this article to discuss Ben’s talk — it is one of the most passionate TED talks I’ve seen in a while and makes very compelling arguments about the future of the performing arts as guiding forces for fostering empathy and providing a platform for social and emotional intelligence in the society!
Instead, I am writing this to try to distill some thoughts I’ve had in my mind ever since I started with the TEDChildren initiative and Ben’s words resonate clearly with me — for reasons I hope to explain by the end of this article.
Today I got very excited to learn about two great initiatives — one backed by UNICEF and another resulting from the TEDx community — providing kids with an opportunity to voice their opinion on topics impacting their future — from global warming, to universal education for everyone, to eradicating poverty…
Naturally, that made me think if my quest for initiating TEDChildren is obsolete as these two forums are already providing what I had in mind when I wrote my call for action! At first sight it seemed to me that I can go back and catch up on my sleep, to the great relief to all of those fine folks around the world I’ve harassed into following @TEDChildren on Twitter!
While going back to 5-6 hrs of sleep from the current 2-3 sounds tempting, I decided to do my homework and understand the two forums better!
Recently I wrote “If I allow myself to dream — and in that dream I find my self on the TED stage making a wish ;-) – I would be calling for a global forum where the topics of self and identity, the impact of the emotions to human behavior, the question how personality is shaped from childhood to adulthood, and many related questions [involving children] are discussed.” With this post, I’d like to turn my words into action and try to use one of my favorite platforms for sharing (and acting on) ideas, TED, to call for such a forum to be organized!
When I was growing up in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia I often heard the phrase “The future belongs to our children!” As I was growing up, things have rapidly changed around me — the communist regime was crumbling around Easter Europe and even “moderate” socialist countries like Yugoslavia fell apart into little states striving for independence and recognition in the world.
Now, politics never interested me — especially as a kid — but I couldn’t avoid to notice that the promise stated by that sentence I heard so many times before, somehow started to fade. In the backdrop of civil unrest, increased poverty, fights for power, etc., somehow the idea that the future will belong to my generation, and the dream with it that such future will be bright and happy seemed far-fetched.