- Adventures in education
|▲ Saturday, Nov. 26, TEDx comes to KIS Jeju Photo courtesy of KISJ|
Technology, Entertainment, Design. Most people know it as TED.com. It’s a conference, a nonprofit organization, and an online phenomenon - and it’s coming to Jeju.
First, let’s talk TED. Even though I’m a longtime fan, there’s a lot about this organization that I didn't know. According to its website, the first conference was in 1984. It was a financial failure. It took another six years before a second event was attempted. This time, however, it took hold, gaining enough momentum to become an annual affair.
For nine years it farmed a small but ardent following in Monterey, California - slowly articulating what would become its signature style.
In 2009 the conference moved to Long Beach, California. It needed breathing room for its ever-expanding cadre of TEDheads. It stayed there until 2014 when it moved to its current home city of Vancouver, Canada.
The conference used to be an invitation-only event. Now, you have to be a member to get tickets. And membership only grants access, not the tickets themselves. The final step in getting tickets to any main conference involves an audience application process: “Six short essay questions that touch on your goals, accomplishments and how you’d like to be a part of the TED community.”
I was surprised that the audiences are carefully hand-picked at home city conferences. According to their guidelines, choosing a member of a TED audience focuses on “finding remarkable individuals who combine significant achievement and great character.”
That’s how much a one year standard membership costs. There’s also a “TED Donor” membership which is $17,000 per year, and a five year “TED Patron” membership, which runs $150,000. These higher contributions provide added benefits such as early access seating, recognition on TED.com, and special hotel room allotments.
Parenthetically, getting tickets to Jeju’s TEDx won’t require membership or essay questions.
TED talks were put online for the first time in June of 2006 in an attempt to “democratize” events that were far beyond the financial reach of most people. By September, global consumption of the franchise had already legitimized its slogan: “ideas worth spreading”.
With over a billion views, the TED library currently boasts 2300+ talks in over one hundred languages. TED has become an Oprah-class media vessel, bristling with impressive scope and influence.
People who experience the TED effect find themselves projected out onto an international stage. People like Sir Ken Robinson and Brené Brown. And don’t forget established notables like Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Bill Clinton, and Sting - all of whom have given talks.
However, as Jeong Ye-rim and Song Jung-hyun explained, independently organized TEDx events aren’t about big names and famous reputations. They’re actually far more inline with the egalitarianism of TED’s open library policy: community support and edification. This event is a melting pot for local ideas and flavors that people might not have ever sampled.
|▲ Co-curators Jeong-Ye-rim and Song Jung-hyun Jeju Photo by Justin Ferrell|
These two high school seniors are co-curators for this event, and you would not believe the aplomb with which they conduct themselves. Their maturity and confidence is breathtaking. How many people could organize an event with international reach? In a second language? At 19 years old? Truly educational.
Ye-rim and Jung-hyun joined the TEDx team in Feb. 2016. They took over their positions as curators in August. The initial organizers had prepared them for this since Hong Hoon-seok knew he was going to be graduating, and Ms. Chelsea Curto knew she was going to complete her contract at KISJ.
This is the real story behind Jeju’s first TEDx. TED provided an extraordinary educational opportunity, which is worthy of respect. However the students and staff at KISJ rose to the challenge brilliantly. If only all homework were this engaging and relevant.
A team of twelve KISJ students and teachers are working together with about 20 volunteers to make this event happen. TED provided a free license, but it took weeks to get approval. After a lengthy and exhaustive vetting process, they had a minimum of three months - and a maximum of twelve - to organize their event. And that’s when the real work began.
The rules for producing a TEDx event would take up an entire article all by itself. It’s a staggering amount of work with almost limitless potential for developing important skillsets in an already impressive school community.
TEDxKISJ will feature between six and eight speakers, all drawn from a pool of local talent. People from, or connected with the island will speak on a variety of themes. Topics will include helping village communities become socio-economically self-sufficient; and the ACTP and creating coaching programs that foster integrity, excellence, collaboration, and respect.
Darren Southcott will be discussing the intersection of culture and nature as it relates to issues of conservation on the island; and Joey Rositano will explore the story of Jeju's shamanic shrines, their role in health and well-being, and the current struggle to protect them.
There are 100 tickets available to this event. Regular tickets will cost ₩50,000; students tickets ₩30,000. All proceeds will go to covering operational costs. No one can make money using a TEDx event, as per strict TED rules. If you’re interested in attending, go to www.tedxkisjeju.com and click “APPLY here”.
|▲ KIS Jeju campus Photo courtesy of KIS Jeju|
Justin Ferrell firstname.lastname@example.org