College students have a great deal to mull over during their time in academia, and this is especially true for freshmen. Between hammering out research papers, essays, dissertations, and settling upon a major… well, let’s just say that navigating college can be akin to navigating the Amazon without a guide. While a select few students will finish their college career without taking any detours, what is the majority of students left with – save for their own wits?
Enter TEDTalks; perhaps the finest resource for college students, from Freshman year to Senior year. Students who have never heard of TEDTalks are missing out on some of the most insightful, thought provoking, and fascinating lectures they’re likely to “sit in” on during their lifetimes. That being said, what is it that makes TEDTalks so useful to students?
TEDTalks: A Primer
Formed by the non-profit Sapling Foundation in 1984, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) originally began as a conference that focused primarily on the worlds of tech and design; however, in spite of its broadened spectrum of topics it has always been devoted to the dissemination of “ideas worth spreading”. Held every year in California in the U.S., as well as varying locales in Europe and Asia, TED has been connecting students with the greatest intellects the world over.
Lecturers that have given speeches at TED conferences include: Jane Goodall, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Gates. As the guest list for TED conferences has grown more varied, as have the topics of speeches. More environmentally minded students might remember that Al Gore gave his speech on Global Warming (which became the backbone for the film An Inconvenient Truth) at the 2006 TED Conference held in Monterey, CA.
TEDTalks: Their Value to Students
Given the wide variety of topics, points of views, and speakers who participate in these annual gatherings of the minds, there is a near-infinite wealth of information to be discovered. Topics that have been the focus of lectures range from starting one’s own business to philanthropic charities, awe inspiring works of art to staggering evolutions in technology, and everything that might fall in between (such as philosophy, quantum mechanics, and so on). Given the expansive reach of material, students can find citable, researched information that will benefit any and all essays, research assignments, and other forms of classwork. If students opt to create an account through TED’s website, they can even interact with other students and professionals – all of whom potentially possessing worthwhile information that may not appear in lectures.
Still, another advantage to students who watch TEDTalks is that they could provide a clear line of focus for those who feel such an element is lacking. A student may enter college with only the faintest of ideas regarding what major he/she wishes to direct his/her attention towards; however, this same student may discover an interest that remained unknown prior to watching one of the thousands of lectures TED provides.
No matter how one views the argument, there is no debating this simple fact: TEDTalks are nothing but a benefit. However a student benefits is entirely up to him/her but, when all else fails, TEDTalks will always be there to guide them through the wilderness of academia.
Jordan Siron is a freelance writer/blogger, as well as avid TEDTalk viewer. From save the date printing to serving as a medical records clerk, Jordan has done it all.