My first thought is that while everyone stressed how we need to expand student horizons, to be “global”, the more interesting projects (poetry, farming) were local in nature. As this blog post points out, we have to take care of ourselves before wearing ourselves out caring for others .
Secondly, why are we seeing/hearing from speakers that have been around for years and haven’t changed their message? If “we” haven’t adopted it, or schools haven’t changed, maybe it’s not the right message – it needs to be tweaked, or updated. I had a discussion with one conferee, who argued that many people haven’t heard the message. Nonsense. In this day and age of twitter, streaming video, blogging, etc., to not have heard some of these speakers before means you’re not listening and following. So why are you at TEDxNYED? Keeping up professionally is (or should be) a requirement, not an add-on.
What I mean is, there are those for whom staying on top of the newest thinking is, well, not their priority. They don’t attend conferences, or do so because they’re required to (recently I heard one person ask “what’s Twitter” – you may not be using it, but to have never heard of it?!). TEDxNYED isn’t one of those conferences, it’s a self-selecting group that tends to be relatively aware of things. So don’t invite speakers that we’ve seen at many other conferences, invite those that have something new – or challenging – to say.
Finally, and this goes for other conferences too – it shouldn’t be such an insider event. I sat with people who hadn’t been to the previous TEDxNYED, nor had they necessarily been to NEIT or ITSE. Perhaps fewer inside jokes and shout outs and more “we’re all equals here” needs to be the rule. With the assumption, of course, that we’re all colleagues who are keeping up and don’t need to given ABC presentations (let’s move on to GHI or maybe even RST – isn’t the idea behind TED to be provocative and innovative?).