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TED 2011: Imagine what could happen…

I’m fortunate to be a Senior TED Fellow, which means that I go to five TED conferences over 3 years. To date, I’ve been to five TED conferences, ranging from Tanzania to Long Beach and Oxford, and each one has amazing speakers, jaw-dropping discoveries revealed and true ideas worth spreading.

I say fortunate because it puts me in the presence of others who ask, “Imagine what could happen...” That’s an important statement, because it means that the we’re looking for possibilities. We’re challenging the norms. We’re following what makes us curious.

A TED Moment

Everyone tends to have a moment at TED that you remember, that makes you realize this isn’t just another conference. I’ve had a number of interesting meetings/chats with big-name entertainers, politicians, actors, scientists and technology entrepreneurs. While interesting and fun, they didn’t shift my thinking.

That moment happened yesterday as I was listening to Sal Khan talking about his project, the Khan Academy. He’s made thousands of videos and activities that make it easy for kids to learn subjects like math and science in a non-judgmental and reapeatable environment.

Sal Khan was nearing the end of his talk when I shot an email off to my 8 year old daughter saying that she might be interested in looking at this website. An hour later I got an SMS from my wife stating, “You’re going to make your daughter into a math nerd like me, she’s been on this site since she got your email.”

It might be that I’m excited that I could link my time at TED and share it to my daughter in near real-time. It’s partly that, but it’s also knowing that the simplicity of a well executed online video tutorial site, something not technologically exciting, can have such a massive impact on millions of children learning. Most of all, my own.

The TED Talk

I was saving this blog post, which I wrote last week, until the video of Sal Khan’s talk was published. Here it is:

2 Comments

  1. Time did a feature on him and was impressed that Bill Gates asked his kids to look at his videos. Now that’s an idea worth spreading.

  2. Fascinating indeed. I did use some of his videos while in Uni. Figuring that my son may do the same in a few is phenomenal…

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