Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there's one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don't actually do what we think they do. What if your library just ... stopped asking for them altogether?
After a visit to a European library in search of Arabic and Middle Eastern texts turned up only titles about fear, terrorism and destruction, Ghada Wali resolved to represent her culture in a fun, accessible way. The result: a colorful, engaging project that uses LEGO to teach Arabic script, harnessing the power of graphic design to create connection and positive change. "Effective communication and education is the road to more tolerant communities," Wali says.
Social justice belongs in our schools, says educator Sydney Chaffee. In a bold talk, she shows how teaching students to engage in activism helps them build important academic and life skills -- and asks us to rethink how we can use education to help kids find their voices. "Teaching will always be a political act," Chaffee says. "We can't be afraid of our students' power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better."
Africa's youth is coming of age rapidly, but job growth on the continent isn't keeping up. The result: financial insecurity and, in some cases, a turn towards insurgent groups. In a passionate talk, agricultural entrepreneur Kola Masha details his plan to bring leadership and investment to small farmers in Africa -- and employ a rising generation.
Jakob Magolan is here to change your perception of organic chemistry. In an accessible talk packed with striking graphics, he teaches us the basics while breaking the stereotype that organic chemistry is something to be afraid of.
What can we learn from the slimy, smelly side of life? In this playful talk, science journalist Anna Rothschild shows us the hidden wisdom of "gross stuff" and explains why avoiding the creepy underbelly of nature, medicine and technology closes us off to important sources of knowledge about our health and the world. "When we explore the gross side of life, we find insights that we never would have thought we'd find, and we even often reveal beauty that we didn't think was there," Rothschild...
Comic books and graphic novels belong in every teacher's toolkit, says cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang. Set against the backdrop of his own witty, colorful drawings, Yang explores the history of comics in American education -- and reveals some unexpected insights about their potential for helping kids learn.
Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life -- and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.
Mohamad Jebara loves mathematics -- but he's concerned that too many students grow up thinking that this beautiful, rewarding subject is difficult and boring. His company is experimenting with a bold idea: paying students for completing weekly math homework. He explores the ethics of this model and how it's helping students -- and why learning math is crucial in the era of fake news.
Su Kahumbu raises badass cows -- healthy, well-fed animals whose protein is key to solving a growing crisis in Africa: childhood nutritional stunting. With iCow, a simple SMS service she developed to support small-scale livestock farmers, the TED Fellow is helping farmers across the continent by texting them tips on caring for and raising animals. Learn more about how this cheap innovation is helping feed hungry kids, one text at a time.
As parents, it's our job to teach our kids about sex. But beyond "the talk," which covers biology and reproduction, there's so much more we can say about the human experience of being in our bodies. Introducing "The Talk 2.0," Sue Jaye Johnson shows us how we can teach our children to tune in to their sensations and provide them with the language to communicate their desires and emotions -- without shutting down or numbing out.
The most important infrastructure we have is educated minds, says former Tunisian government minister Amel Karboul. Yet too often large investments go to more visible initiatives such as bridges and roads, when it's the minds of our children that will really create a brighter future. In this sharp talk, she shares actionable ideas to ensure that every child is in school -- and learning -- within just one generation.
How can disadvantaged students succeed in school? For sociologist Anindya Kundu, grit and stick-to-itiveness aren't enough; students also need to develop their agency, or their capacity to overcome obstacles and navigate the system. He shares hopeful stories of students who have defied expectations in the face of personal, social and institutional challenges.
How can Africa, the home to some of the largest bodies of water in the world, be said to have a water crisis? It doesn't, says Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò -- it has a knowledge crisis. Táíwò suggests that lack of knowledge on important topics like water and food is what stands between Africa's current state and a future of prosperity. In a powerful talk, he calls for Africa to make the production of knowledge within the continent rewarding and reclaim its position as a locus of learning on behalf...
Nature is wonderfully abundant, diverse and mysterious -- but biological research today tends to focus on only seven species, including rats, chickens, fruit flies and us. We're studying an astonishingly narrow sliver of life, says biologist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, and hoping it'll be enough to solve the oldest, most challenging problems in science, like cancer. In this visually captivating talk, Alvarado calls on us to interrogate the unknown and shows us the remarkable discoveries that...
What can we expect our kids to learn if they're hungry or eating diets full of sugar and empty of nutrients? Former White House Chef and food policymaker Sam Kass discusses the role schools can play in nourishing students' bodies in addition to their minds.
As a black woman from a tough part of the Bronx who grew up to attain all the markers of academic prestige, Dena Simmons knows that for students of color, success in school sometimes comes at the cost of living authentically. Now an educator herself, Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are. "Every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one's own skin," she says.
Unlock the mysteries and inner workings of the world through one of the most imaginative art forms ever -- mathematics -- with Roger Antonsen, as he explains how a slight change in perspective can reveal patterns, numbers and formulas as the gateways to empathy and understanding.
Define students by what they contribute, not what they lack -- especially those with difficult upbringings, says educator Victor Rios. Interweaved with his personal tale of perseverance as an inner-city youth, Rios identifies three straightforward strategies to shift attitudes in education and calls for fellow educators to see "at-risk" students as "at-promise" individuals brimming with resilience, character and grit.
Why should a good education be exclusive to rich kids? Schools in low-income neighborhoods across the US, specifically in communities of color, lack resources that are standard at wealthier schools -- things like musical instruments, new books, healthy school lunches and soccer fields -- and this has a real impact on the potential of students. Kandice Sumner sees the disparity every day in her classroom in Boston. In this inspiring talk, she asks us to face facts -- and change them.