Posts Tagged ‘iPad 2’

TED ‘Junior’

You will no doubt be aware of the influence and spread of the TED conferences and talks, based originally on ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design’. There are now over 1100 TED talks , usually working out of a filmed presentation, under twenty minutes in length to a live audience.

One thing that TED lacks, is a range of younger speakers. One prominent talk that comes to mind is that of Thomas Suarez, a 12 year old who provides an entertaining talk of less than five minutes on developing iPhone apps. With this in mind, my year 7 English class and I developed the following idea:

The Best Idea I’ve (n)Ever Had

In short, you have three minutes to present your views on any topic that you like. It might be a question you’ve always had and want to explore, an idea or solution to a problem, or even just some unfocused daydreams that you’ve had. You script your idea, then use digital cameras/iphones/ipads to record and upload your presentation.


As mentioned, we used the iPad2 as a ‘one stop shop’. This meant that we were able to film (including connecting an external microphone), edit and post using the one device. The outcome was to save considerable time, while still having a very satisfying presentation.


The most important part, as with implementing any tech based lesson, is to have the content in hand before any “idevices” are brought onto the scene. Brainstorm first, to get a supply of possible ideas. Students will need to script the piece that they intend to present. Having trial runs, both in terms of learning the content, and becoming familiar with appropriate methods of delivery are a good idea. Some tips include:

  • Chunking ideas – put ideas into “paragraph-sized” lengths. This will allow students to present a 20-30 second idea in one hit, without using notes. The aim is to have them present without anything in their hands – as occurs in the TED talks. Reinforce that this is a topic where they are playing the role of  expert so they have the ability, like telling a story, to do so without prompts.
  •  Create three slides – to break up up the speech, students can use some visuals to help explain for emphasise a point. Limit their use as they are meant to be prompts, not the focus
  • Find places to pause – the reason for this is to allow for refamiliarising with the points to cover and to change the camera angle.


With our ‘inaugural’ run at this, we tried to keep the process as simple as possible. To this end, we used an iPad2, with a simple (and cheap) attachable ‘fisheye’ lens that help magnify the subject. I got the students to do it in one go – we were looking to use iMovie to edit the clips thereafter . However, this has highlighted the limitations of importing (say from a second iPad) and/or issues with stopping to introduce slides. Instead, having designated ‘spots’ where the student can stop following a single idea, the iPad can be moved for the next 20-30 second ‘grab’. This also means that inserting any of the slides can be done without disrupting the overall flow.

A student explores the nature of happiness


One student described this as the “best thing” he’d done all year – a time when he felt like he could create his own real-world project and have it valued. We joked about splicing a “TED audience” into the project, to give the impression of a rapt audience. Ironically, with a little more polish and time, there is absolutely no reason why students couldn’t broadcast their ideas out into the wider community. As another student said “Why should we have to wait until we turn 18 so that we can vote and get a tax file number, just so that we share an idea?”

I’ll be looking to do another run towards the end of the year. Would love to hear any similar ideas and approaches, or feedback.