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Reflecting on TEDxYouth@Singapore

Posted on: November 21, 2011

It is hard to describe the stress the accompanies the preparation for a TED talk. The relief I experienced immediately after my talk was over is easy to understand. The attention I received during the break was totally unexpected.

After committing to the talk, my six-week preparation involved daily revisions and reflections in Evernote. I had four separate notes: TED briefing notes, presentation videos and tips, my ideas and story outlines, and my script.

I ended up with one Prezi idea I did not use and three versions of my presentation. I whittled down the content from 18 minutes in the original version to just under 15 minutes (the TEDxYouth@Singapore time limit) in the second and finally to 13 minutes in the version I used.

I brainstormed, reflected and practised as often as I could: As I travelled on the bus, in between meetings and appointments, in the bath and right before falling asleep. The payoff was that telling my story became almost muscle memory.

I was nervous, of course, but not because it was a ‘live’ event. I used that energy to fire myself up. Rather, I was nervous because it was recorded and my words could carry beyond the time and context of the talk.

But I was overwhelmed by the response of the audience during the break and outside the auditorium. At first just a few people approached me before and after my talk. They were mostly working adults who were shared similar ideas and/or had social or game startups.

During the break, I met mostly teachers and students who peppered me with questions and comments. I was very impressed by how perceptive they were. Collectively, they asked the same questions or brought up the same concerns that senior teachers and researchers have asked me before.

The difference seemed to lie in their mindsets or attitudes. The youth were no less critical, but they were less skeptical, more supportive and more energetic.

They were excited about the possibilities for game-based learning. They shared how schooling drained their passion and joy for learning. They craved change. This was a timely reminder to me why I try to educate teachers the way I do.

Sidenote: I was impressed by the stream of tweets that flowed during the event. There was a section of bloggers and tweeters and their coverage of the event was thorough. One blogger in particular, did an exceptional job of summarizing the main points of each talk.

If you asked me if I would ever give a TED talk again immediately after I stepped off the stage, I would have given you a flat no. Now that I have experienced it first hand, I am tempted to say yes again.

By the way, to the folks who emailed me and/or are following this blog, please forgive me if I take a bit of time to consider your ideas and resources. There is quite a lot to take in but I will get back to you as soon as I can.

4 Responses to "Reflecting on TEDxYouth@Singapore"

Your talk, was not in vain (:
辛苦你了!

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Thank you for the kind words!

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Hi Ashley,

I loved your talk and you really inspired me to think big and wide about GBL. Would love to meet up some day soon for coffee!

Meanwhile, let’s keep in contact!

Cheers,
Benjamin

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Hi Benjamin,

It was a pleasure meeting and chatting with you briefly at the event. If you wish to meet up, here’s my calendar: http://bit.ly/ashleygcal.

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