From time to time over lunch during the week when I’m not eating with others, I’ve started to watch a TedTalk video on my iPhone. I’ve subscribed to TedTalks in iTunes for at least the past year, and am frequently amazed by the ideas, talent, creativity, and stories of the presenters. Most recently I’ve “had lunch” in this way with Clay Shirkey and Alan Kay.

I first heard about Clay Shirkey from Will Richardson, who led an unconference session at EdubloggerCon 2008 in San Antonio on his most recent book. (Unfortunately I couldn’t attend because of the scheduling of sessions there, I would have loved to listen and participate in a book discussion led by Will.) Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration is a thought provoking TedTalk focusing on the power and potential of social media tools and technologies like tagging to permit collaboration in transformative ways which would have either been impossible or cost-prohibitive for institutions in the past.

Among other ideas, I found Clay’s observations regarding citizen journalism versus traditional journalism to be most thought provoking. He points out that journalism was an answer to a need: How to disseminate and share information about events. It is very exciting to be living in such a time of transition when we see old paradigms of information dissemination giving way to new models. Clay points out that the printing press ushered in an era of chaos, for approximately 200 years, which broke the Catholic Church’s control over ideas, information and lives. He predicts about 50 years of chaos which is being introduced by what I call “publish at will” technologies. I certainly need to add Clay’s book to my future reading list. It is great to get a taste of his perspectives via this TedTalk.

Alan Kay is an amazing computer scientist and educator who I first heard speak in person at EduComm in June of 2007. His TedTalk, “A powerful idea about teaching ideas,” includes a similar demonstration to the one he shared at EduComm using the software environment Squeak to help students learn basic (but complex even for many adults) concepts about acceleration, physics and mathematics. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my kids, especially since the video of Alan’s demonstration on the screen is such high-quality. Oh how I yearn for experiences like those Alan shared “doing science” for my own children!

If you haven’t looked at the AMAZING selection of video presentations available on the TedTalk video podcast channel ever or recently, you definitely should. What a treasure trove! With videos like these on one’s iPod or iPhone, 20 minutes of learning about powerful ideas is always just a click away in my pocket! Subscribe to the TED blog to stay up-to-date on new additions!

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