TED and the American Dream Blog Project

TED and the American Dream Blog Project

TED is an organization that gives people, some you’ve heard of and some you haven’t, a worldwide platform to share ideas that challenge, excite or motivate them to take some kind of positive action.

The TED organization was co-founded by a former graduate of the international boarding school Miss Gareis taught at in India. That school’s mission statement is “Education for a World of Difference.” This is the “Global Dream.” The Global Dream is about the pursuit of social ideals that make a positive impact upon the world as a whole…ideals such as the world wide enforcement of basic human rights and freedoms (like we talked about with Frederick Douglass) or  the ethical and sustainable use of global resources (like we talked about with Transcendentalism)…it is most often (not always) concerned with community  and planetary preservation. Many people spend their whole lives advocating for the Global Dream. Many other people ask, is it worth it? Is it possible? Why should we care?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a modernist novel which gives one perspective on the American Dream. The American Dream is about the pursuit of social ideals that make a positive impact upon the individual’s personal and immediate community…ideals such as equality, democracy, personal freedom and prosperity (like we talked about with Catcher, The Great Gatsby and all our coming of age short stories)…it is most often (not always) concerned with personal  consumption. Many people spend their whole lives chasing after the American Dream. Many others ask, is that dream actually obtainable?

Your Mission:

Either download the free TED app or go to WWW.TED.Com/talks . Choose any five talks…there are more than a thousand of them with new ones being added weekly…and watch them. Each talk has subtitles in multiple languages so don’t be discouraged away from complex topics. After you watch each one, answer the questions. You’ll turn these questions and answers in to me in class right when you return from Spring Break.


Choose your favorite one of the five talks you watched and in a comment post a link to it on the blog along with a ONE PARAGRAPH recommendation BEFORE your return from Spring Break.


BEFORE you return from Spring Break you will watch one of the recommended videos (one that you did not already watch) posted by one of your peers or a student from previous years and respond to it thoughtfully in a comment on their post…that’s all the guidance you get…be thoughtful…aka…THINK and then respond.

TED Talk Questions

  1. What is the name of the talk, the name of the speaker and the date the talk was given?
  2. Be honest…what made you choose this talk?
  3. Summarize the WHOLE talk in a maximum of five sentences.
  4. Is the idea expressed in this talk focused more on the Global Dream or the American Dream? Explain.
  5. What did you agree with that was presented in this talk? Explain.
  6. What did you disagree with that was presented in this talk? Explain.


Watching the talks and answering the questions is worth 70 points.

Choosing your favorite, posting and recommending a Talk is worth 20 points.

Your thoughtful response to another person’s recommended Talk is worth 10 points.


143 thoughts on “TED and the American Dream Blog Project

  1. This video gives an insight of how the current eduction system may or may not be what we need as a community. Ken Robinson talks about how schools focus more on the core subjects, like math and science, rather than creative classes, such as art and theatre. The core subjects are required for most of your years in school, but any classes that deal with creativity are not require for more than a year or two sometimes not even that. I recommend this video, because it gives an outside opinion on how the school system could change to be better and to better prepare the kids of today for the challenges of tomorrow.

  2. https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/angelo_vermeulen_how_to_go_to_space_without_having_to_go_to_space.html

    I found Angelo’s idea of preserving life via a sustainable dome for future outer-space explorations interesting. Angelo is a scientist that works for the NASA, but he is also an artist. He is working for a Mars mission project to create places for people to not only survive, but to live and develop. He gives the invitation worldwide to build a sustainable place to live out of whatever you can gather and then try to live inside it for days, weeks, even months if it is possible. And all for just one cause, The fututre develop of the humar kind.

  3. My favorite talk was Print you own medicine by Lee Cronin. His idea and what he is working on is very interesting. He has found a way to print your own medicine form a 3D printer by downloading the software to create the medicine. His idea is to make a universal set of inks that you will use to print your medicine. Which means you can take the ink and put it with the software you can download that will combine to create the medicine. When they discover how to make the new drug it can be deployed around the world instantly by downloading the software. I recommend this video because it was very interesting and could someday be the future for medicine.

    • I found this video very interesting. The idea is intriguing and Lee Cronin gives actual possibilities and routes to achieve the ideas he proposes. He gives steps that are possible to accomplish goals that he sees as attainable. The idea of printing medicine at first seems absurd and bizarre, but through his explanation it now seems plausible and important. By using the toolkit he described, he could potentially revolutionize medicine as a whole, as well as the pharmaceutical business. I think this video is important because it may notify people in the pharmaceutical business of his progress in the field and possibly garner him more funding or publicity to make his ideas reality.

    • I see this idea portrayed by Lee Cronin as an incredible, I fell this product should be produced in mass quantity. Lee Cronin’s concept has the possibility to revolutionize the industry of medicine, by ultimately allowing people to own a type of personal “home pharmacy”, In which thy could print out any medication they need in minutes, rather than making the trip to a store.
      I think Cronin’s contribution to the non-stop development of medical science is massive, and he should continue with ideas in this field that may improve or provide useful and important human medical resources with easier methods.

  4. This video by Frans Lanting talks about the beauties mother nature holds, he shows us several pictures of animals he has taken himself. From frogs to birds and every picture is more colorful and vibrant then the next. He talks about a story that he was told by a tribe by Vancouver, they states that all the animals in the kingdom would gather and would remove their skin and at this moment they were all the same, and they would then dance. This video inspired me to do more to preserve the environment and do something to make sure these animals stay around. I would recommend this video to anyone that loves animals and wants to preserve these creatures.

    • The main idea I love about this voice is that this man is speaking on behalf of the animals, as the Lorax spoke for the trees. While the Lorax did not accomplish his mission, it didn’t stop him from being the voice for those unable to do anything as humans push up upon them. The Lorax spoke for the trees, while speaking for animals may be much more important. Animals feel pain, loss, and suffering. The determinant of animals is not super easy to see in my normal life, yet if all the trees were cut down no one would be able to breathe. These animals need a voice, and it may be one of the most noble causes to provide one for them.

    • This video is great it hit on a topic that isn’t very popular. Most people don’t worry about or appreciate the animals that live on this planet. The beauty that we see in each different type of animals is amazing. People really do need to take more time to understand and appreciate the creators living along side us.

    • People see nature very differently around the globe. Different countries hold different animals, and nations act variously to preserve the nature around them. I enjoyed reading this talk, and although I could not see the pictures Michael mentioned that was included in the talk, I can guarantee that they were breathtaking images with a lot of meaning.

    • I found this video very interesting because Frans takes close up pictures of many animals and they all have different skins but have eyes. This symbolizes that everyone is different but all share something in common. Even humans share this quality as well. The story about animals was fascinating as well because ever since humans came to dominate Earth, they have been killing off other species. In California, there used to be many Grizzly bears but all of them have been killed by hunters. This story shows how poorly humans treat other animals and gives us a message to change this.

  5. This talk was by far my favorite one, because Bel Pesce talks about “5 ways to kill your dreams” when in reality she is showing you how to preserve them. I also greatly appreciated her sarcasm, considering how serious most of the ted talks are. This talk really motivated me to want to get things done, and it all really made sense. If you fail at something, or something just doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, its your fault, not someone elses. I felt like this talk was something that needed to be heard by the youth, because it basically sums up who you need to be in right now, in order to succeed in the future. The quicker you come to that realization, the faster you’ll get to where you want to be.

    • I definitely agree. Most of what she is saying is true, this video really teaches us what not to do while guiding us in the right path towards our goals. This talk really does inspire me and I agree the youth should definitely hear this talk more because it teaches us to enjoy every single step of the journey because life is up and down just like a mountain. Enjoy the great moments in life and celebrate and learn from the mistakes.

    • this video was inspiring, however it also taught me a lesson a dream, your dream is only possible to achieve it with hard work and dedication. nothing is an over night success, and if its not a success its no ones fault but yours. and for me i think the most important of the skill is to enjoy the process because the goal is not everything there are other things to enjoy about life.

  6. This video talks about how we believe that we should work to be happy, but it can be backwards; We believe that if we succeed, then we are going to be happy, but that´s not true. If we are happy then we already succeeded. happiness inspires productivity. it inspired me because sometimes I believe that if I do something I need to do, then after doing it correctly I’m going to be happy, and If i don’t do it then I’m not happy, but that should not be like that. I should be happy in order to work better and do it the right way.

  7. Don’t like clickbait? Don’t click by Sally Kohn was very interesting to me as it brought to light some facts about the internet I don’t believe most of the population who use the internet know. The internet is almost entirely funded by ad revenue, and when a you click on something you are having that piece generate revenue, making the content seem more profitable in the eyes of those who run a site and curate. A site like youtube runs on this and what you watch generates revenue back to the creator, promoting them to make more of the same content, and generates revenue back to youtube, having them promote this type of content more. This power should not be taken lightly, and people need to view that power when the complain about the content they don’t like on youtube. If you don’t like it don’t click it.

  8. I recommend this discussion done by Topher White because it is an ingenious way to combat the destruction of our world’s rain forests. While in a rain forest in Borneo White came up with an idea to combat illegal loggers. His invention makes a device that gives a new life to discarded solar strips and old cellphones to combat illegal logging. His invention takes away cellphones and solar strips that would be thrown into landfills or the ocean and makes them into sensors that can stop an illegal logger before any fatal damage is already done to a tree. The device shows that after one time the loggers can be stopped. This Ted Talk is my favorite because the invention is simple, cheap, and as shown in the video practical.

  9. Discovering why you’re truly born is the most significant experience a person can have. That was the experience that Boniface Mwangi, a photographer in Kenya during times of abuse and corruption, was lucky enough to have. He discovered his voice, he is no longer afraid of getting beat up and abused or put in jail for speaking against a corrupt government. He has formed a community with other artists who all believe in the same thing. He is happy. He is on this earth for a reason. His story is so powerful and inspiring that everyone must watch. I felt goosebumps watching what he went through and how he turned his life into service for his country. He went from being called a softee to an activist with courage!

    • I completely agree with you Michael. People should definitely watch this video to see what others are going through, which might also give them courage to step up for themselves and discover why they were truly born. Just like this lucky guy discovered his voice, this talk might have an influence on others and give them a chance to do something similar about themselves too. Everyone has their own story, and this was definitely a great and inspiring story to be shared with the others.

  10. i recommend this talk by Pamela Meyer called “How to Spot a Liar”, because it is a different kind of talk. on daily basis we get lied to our faces and we also lie to others, in this video she shows us easy tactics or techniques experts use to detect when a lie is being told. i think this is extremely useful to everyone of us, because out there not everyone wants to do good a lot of people have the wrong intentions and they want to hurt us by telling us lies, being our fake to us and staging us in our back. a good way to prevent bigger incidents were you could not get hurt is to learn some easy techniques because a lie cannot stand forever and little by little the truth will reveal.

    • I totally agree with her position and a great talk with a lot of important and useful facts now to spot a liar. It really can be very helpful sometimes, especially when there is a life of a person or his or her safety is on the line. Not only in crime this is very important but also in an every day life situations it can be very helpful and useful.

  11. I chose the wii remotes hack Ted talk because it talks about a non complex idea, that we can all understand, and it also gives us an opportunity to put into action the ideas of the talk. Many of the talks are helpful for spreading awareness, or touching on important topics, but often these ideas are difficult for teenagers to get involved with. After watching this talk someone can take the idea back to schools near them and implement the ideas shown. Using the Wii remote as a cheap digital whiteboard could be very helpful to underfunded schools in areas near you. The talk is also short, which makes it easy to watch, and not overly intricate, which makes it easy to understand.

    • I very much so enjoyed this Ted Talk, it talks about 8 simple ideas and work ethics that can help lead anyone into a successful life. The words he uses for success are all words that should be used in the work office everyday and are very simple words that can mean a lot in terms of success. he was told by successful people how they came successful and was told these 8 words.
      Passion, work, good, focus, push, ideas, persist and serve. This video is very informational and gives great tips on how to be successful.

  12. This is truly a compiling story, mostly because of it’s simplicity and at the same time value and usefulness. Richard St. John gives us 8 simple and major key or steps that would lead anyone to success if carefully and constantly followed. This is all great and it does actually work, which we can tell by multiple bright and famous examples of people that have succeeded in their lives and pretty much have created these 8 steps. The only problem is that anyone who complains that something isn’t working out, is either because that person isn’t following all the steps correctly or isn’t patient enough to wait for the result to reveal itself. This is a great and useful message that does bring success to people who are dedicated and believe in what it delivers.

    • I found this talk by Apollo Robbins very eye-opening and intriguing as he demonstrates the possibilities of a better trained mind. Apollo explains how much easier everyday life would be if we were able use our brain to its maximum capacity. Apollo identifies how common it is for people to deliberately ignore vital information that we come across daily, even though it may not seem important and relevant to what you are looking for. The skill of acknowledging every piece of information would maximize a humans work capabilities immensely.

      • I agree with Sacha, as Apollo Robbins demonstrated a lot of skill. He demonstrate his ability to play a mind game with a person. I think its cool that he could distract someone’s mind.

    • The talk by Apollo Robbins is very interesting in my opinion. He play a mind game with people and he takes something out of that person when that person don’t even realizes. Very interesting how the mind get easily distracted by things and when you take something else out of the focus the person won’t realize it. The mind can only focus on one or two things. The brain of humans cannot focus on everything at once thats why when the brain focusing on one thing than when something else go wrong the person won’t realize. Example like when Apollo Robbins changed his shirt at the end no one realizes, as everyone was focusing on the performance that was showed by Apollo Robbins and all the audience focus was on the thing that was done to the person not even one person realize or know how he suddenly got changed at the end.

  13. Texting that saves lives,by Nancy Lublin on April 2012. This was the best video that i have seen on Tedtalks. This women helps kids in away that nobody else does. Giving kids the chance to tell an adult what is happening in their lives.This women gives them the advice that they need to get through the hard times. This all happens through texting something all kids are used to and feel comfortable with, also allowing them to do it in secret without anybody knowing they are. This is great for kids that don’t have anybody in their lives to help them.

    • I highly recommend this video because it tells the truths of society and what life is like in Kenya. This man who is an undercover journalist uncovers what really happens on a day to day basis in kenya and shares the living conditions. The corruption of peoples lives and the violence is unbelievable. This video will leave you wanting to learn more about what is really happening behind the scenes and wether or not the truth is actually the truth.

  14. I could not agree more with Dean Ornish’s discussion. Ornish explains that the american standard dietary lifestyle is sweeping the planet nation by nation. He points out facts that in the last ten years, diabetes has increased a massive 70%. Diabetes and hypertension are reversible by 95% of people by just changing their diet and how they go through each day. I feel that in todays world people are taking advantage of fast food restaurants and America’s standard diet has been taken to extreme measures, measures the people and people all around the globe must help to bring back to healthy standards for a life full of prosperity.

  15. My favorite talk was How school kills creativity by Ken Johnson. This video opened my eyes to the truth about education. As Johnson states, ” No one has a clue what the future holds, so how can we educate the children on how to successful?” I highly recommend this video because it stresses the importance of every subject in school. Sometimes we say, “when will I every use this?” Well the truth is we don’t know. The more knowledge we aquire in our youth, the better off we will be in the future.

  16. Joe Landina is a student from NYU that developed a new type of gel that stops bleeding instantly. I highly recommend this video because is very interested the research that this guy did. He gets you think as you as soldier in the middle of a war and you get shot; and by the time a doctor gets to you the only thing that he can do is to put pressure on the area you were hit for about 5 minutes to stop the bleeding. But what would happen if a doctor has this new gel?… he would apply this new invention (gel) to you and will stop the bleeding instantly. I believe this new invention will benefit the whole world, especially the medical field. Instead of getting stitches because of a big wound, a doctor will apply this gel and the wound will heal easier and faster.

  17. I recommend Riley’s video because many people are unaware of the harmful effects of conventional farming. There is water pollution, excessive irrigation, and carbon emission that come from the current farming system. About 70% of the worlds water usage goes towards agriculture. Riley introduces hydroponics, which is the cultivation of crop plants under greenhouse conditions with their roots immersed in a nutrient-rich solution, but no soil. Riley built a company called Window Farms and sells these systems to people so they can grow food in their homes. This technology brings many benefits such as 95% water savings, more harvests per season, no pesticides, and the ability to grow year-round.

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