Students bring the knowledge of TED to town

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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If you go TEDxYouth@Carroll Date: April 27 Time: Noon to 5 p.m. Address: Carroll Senior High School 800 N. White Chapel Blvd, Southlake Cost: Free Open to public, but organizers encourage student attendance.

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Ashesh Trivedi wants the world to know that his Carroll Senior High School classmates have unique insights.

That’s why he’s bringing TEDx to Carroll for the second time.

“My classmates are really intelligent and have wonderful ideas,” Trivedi, a junior Dragon, said.

The event, TEDxYouth@Carroll, is a lot like the world-renowned TEDx and TED talks with one major difference: it’s for students and by students.

Trivedi came up with the idea last year in Karen Otto’s pre-AP English class.

The class watched TED Talks and Otto assigned the students to present their research papers like a talk. That’s when Trivedi approached Otto with the idea of hosting an official TEDx event.

“It draws these kind of students that wouldn’t normally have that avenue,” he said.

TED, a nonprofit organization that started in 1984, hosts two annual conferences at which speakers from around the world are invited to share new ideas. Speakers specialize in technology, entertainment or design. The group’s featured presentations, or Talks, are hosted for free online and have garnered much attention. According to the organization’s website, the Talks have been viewed more than one billion times since November 2012.

The gallery of speakers includes people at the top of their fields, such as musician Bono, author Jane McGonigal and Bill Gates.

As the popularity of the Talks grew, people not affiliated with TED showed interest in hosting events, and TEDx was born. TEDx are independent events that bring the speaker-based formula to other areas. The talks, including those at Carroll, are featured on the TED website.

Otto said last year’s inaugural event brought in an audience of 50 people and was a mix of students and adults. She said the event is capped at 100 people because anything larger requires the organizer to attended official TED training.

Otto said it was interesting to see students tackle subjects that visionary Steve Jobs and author Malcolm Gladwell have discussed, but on a teenager’s level.

“The audience was surprised that these kids have such insightful ideas,” she said. “These kids tackle topics that are important to them.”

Trivedi said he’s noticed the difference between his colleagues’ viewpoints and those of the professionals.

“I just feel like kids really do have a more idealized view,” he said. “It’s a different perspective that is less practical.”

Last year’s topics included presentations entitled “why we value what we value,” “teachers should provide incentives for students to do better,” and “why as we grow older we become less accepting of ideas.”

Trivedi said he’s delighted with last year’s turnout, but wants to reach more people his age.

“There is a huge section of students who think it’s a waste of time,” he said. “something that only adults do.”

Trivedi and Otto have worked to generate more buzz about the event this year and hope to hit the crowd limit. In addition to having a larger audience, Trivedi has made it a personal mission to have more students interested in speaking.

“Ultimately I coerced my friends into talking,” he said about last year’s speakers.

This year, he’s been doing more to get the word out including missing some of his classes to reach out to classes he isn’t in.

“One of the most encouraging things is that my teachers understand,” he said.

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