Last Saturday was an exceptional and impressive day for many people here in Vilnius. Hundreds of them gathered in the Theatre Arena early in the morning expecting to hear new ideas, meet interesting peers and, most importantly, be inspired. It's no wonder hopes were high when you know that each year the TEDxVilnius organizers are doing their job better and better. This year was no exception – conference made it to the next level again.
There were various different factors influencing the high quality but the most significant and probably most visible to the audience were TEDxVilnius host and entire speaker lineup.
Some of you already knew Marcus Orlovsky from the previous TEDxVilnius events where he gave his speeches both in 2011 and 2012. But this time Briton hit the stage in a new role. He was remarkable and tremendous host. His introductions and transitions from one speaker to another made everyone’s life a bit easier and a lot more interesting.
In fact, some of the attendees were saying that without him the event would be much less impressive and attractive.
Difficult to say if it's true, but one thing is for sure – TEDxVilnius left its' mark in Marcus' heart. Here's what he wrote after a few days: “I’m sitting in my office in London having returned from Vilnius with my brain buzzing. I am still getting to grips with what you (we) all made happen. The Diaspora of which I now feel such a part came together before my eyes in a one-day-long Big Bang. A HUGE BIG BANG of people, emotions, dreams and futures. The wonderful people who collectively made up the Organizers, Volunteers and Sponsors and their hard work before, during and now after, made this possible. I’m so looking forward to seeing the outputs on line. But more so, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens, from hearing from people who connected, from people who were inspired to do something: to unlock themselves.
Do you still remember what we've talked about during the event? Does it make any difference in your life now? We hope it does, because we did our best bringing up the hottest topics and picking as interesting and inspiring speakers as it was possible at given circumstances.
And even if you find it difficult to recall all of the speakers and ideas they were speaking about, we are glad to give you a hand. Here, fasten your seat belt and get ready for time travel to TEDxVilnius 2014 conference, where everybody knew that the future is theirs.
It has been proven, that if we praise kids for their effort rather than their intelligence, they will be much more inclined to try new things and take on new challenges. So what's more important nowadays: getting good grades or staying curious and creative? Why is it that teachers have to teach alone and not together with their colleagues? Why do we force kids to passively sit down for 45 minutes and listen to their teachers and then be forced to move on to another subject? And why do we divide kids by how old they are? Like if that’s the most important thing. Why do we grade kids by their shortcomings? Why not expect mastery from everyone and let everyone work at their own pace? And also why are grades the only metric for student’s performance when grades often bare no resemblance for the kid’s performance in a real world? Why not give them a platform to engage with the real world by showcasing their projects and skills personal portfolio? Just like any creative would do when applying for a job.
Educational reform needs to be a community effort and Kids Hack Day is just one way to put a name and face to this inevitable revolution. Our educational system is collapsing so let's build a new one and let's do it together!
Carl’s TEDxVilnius talk online.
Vytautas Miežys, Julija Ladygienė, Vaiva Vyšniauskaitė
So where this amazingness of being a teacher comes from? The first thing is challenges and ability to accept them. No matter what. You have to stick to your goal and hope that one day you'll reach it and then your class will recognize your effort and start showing some really great progress and motivation. The second – is relationships. You must relate face to face, not face to Facebook. Get related and things can go much better for you and others. The third and probably the most convenient – perfect marketing environment. That means every passionate teacher already has its audience every morning waiting for him at the class. So everything he has to do – share his passion with it and try to show every possible interesting aspect of a subject. The fourth – change. If you do and talk the right thing to the right person at the right time – the person may change for the better and make you even wonder how was that all even possible.
That’s a whole formula of a truly happy and inspiring teacher who has the future sitting in a class. And that's why great teachers have no doubt about their job meaningfulness. Try that sometimes and check if it's working for you.
Teachers talk online.
Paulius Lukas Tamošiūnas
My passion is to experiment with everything around. Do you or your kids touch and feel the environment in your daily life? Of course, we live in a world where there are alternative ways of experiencing and analyzing. The new technology offers a lot and it is very tempting, but our life is real, not digital. Therefore, we must ask ourselves why we are trying to make kids experience the world through a computer monitor, where reality may be fast forwarded? Sure, digital simulations are safe, but they also are fake. They are like photoshoped magazine covers – not real, just made to look like that. We all want our kids to be smart and creative in everyday life, so let's do our job – switch off iPhones, iPads and bring our kids outside and poke something that is real!
Paulius’ talk online.
There are three big issues we must solve if we want to have a great teaching system and produce great future minds. These issues are: the stereotypes of science, the suffocation with fact and tyranny of having to be a success all the time as a student. We have a big problem of an image of the scientist. Almost everyone imagines him as a bold, white coated, nerdy looking man. They also think of scientist not in a very positive way. And that must be overcomed, because that is the reason putting kids off the science and making them think it's not for them.
Success is overrated, because real scientists when talking about their job are more likely to talk about their series of failures heart break. Interestingly in schools we teach our children to get everything right and if not, there gonna be consequences – bad grades. But the interesting thing is that you can do the experiment right and learn from that nothing at all. So it doesn't have to go always right!
We expect our children to learn the facts that were discovered about 400 years ago and since. We ask them to learn and repeat things that were done long time ago by some scientists. It's not that great of an idea. It would be much better to teach them not to copy what once great scientists new and did, but how they were thinking and how they came up with their break through ideas. Our children must learn how to think themselves!
Michael’s talk online.
We've entered a new era of creativity and innovation – democratic and social. During this period of time all our easy problems have been solved. From now on great ideas won’t come from a few privileged ones, they will come from every and each one of us. That's how, collectively, we'll transform the world we all live in. And the ignitor for that partially is computer games. It should matter to us not only what and how kids are playing those games, but how long as well. For your knowledge, they do that because success in a game induce them to succeed again. Imagine the potential of possible creative ideas produced while playing computer games and imagine the number of players. If we want to take advantage of the power of games we must collectively decide and act for that to happen. To put the power of games to work.
Gabe’s talk online.
There are a lot of different types of cities in the world. Some of them are called green, others are called compact, there are also low or even zero carbon cities. But generally it is all about sustainability. It’s a challenge of how we'll combine social, ecological and economical development. So how do our “green city” projects look like here in Lithuania. Keep in mind that all the big and impressive projects are being developed far away from us, where economical growth is supported by a significant GDP growth. Therefore we must know, how we'll live in our cities tomorrow and what infrastructure we'll have or choose.
Mindaugas’ talk online.
Carlo De Micheli
We are used to old car industry with huge factories and other facilities taking tremendous land lots. But now, having modern technologies and all the innovations, it is possible to build a car yourself. For example, four people can do that during one lunch break. All of that became possible thanks to open source, which is well developed in a software sector and now gets more and more significant in hardware. Thanks to that now everyone can participate and be a part of an open source vehicle developers team.
Carlo’s talk online.
Along the years our demands are changing, therefore our cities and environment must change, too. Now they are too slow and too static. It is important to talk about that because we are facing the two biggest and most recent changes that should be important to everyone all around the world. Those are climate change and urbanization. To adapt and make our lives better and easier we must change something as well. That would be perception of how we can give a new, fresh look to our cities. And if previous generations looked to the sky and thought of a vertical space, why shouldn't we find a new solution. It could be water, which is next to almost all the greatest cities of the world. Let's make floating parts of the cities, which can be added and removed when needed.
Koen’s talk online.
People used to told him, that his dream to go to the space is doomed and that he won’t stand a chance of doing anything close to that. So he chose other dimensions and started building submarines. Now he can proudly tell, that a couple of a thousand people were with him, on his submarine for underwater expeditions. And he also got to build the largest private submarine in the world called Nautilus. That got him into pleasant acquittance with admiral from US Navy. He was the person, who give him an idea, how to continue pursue space flight dream. The answer was – international waters in the Baltic sea. And since technology is quite evolved compared to 60's or 70's, it is much cheaper to build a real flying rocket which potentially could carry a man.
Peter’s talk online.
Blindness and deafness should matter not only to those who are affected by it, but for all of us. If not in a moral way, then in a material. Because for tax payers that costs hundreds of billions of US dollars every year. Therefore, scientists are working on a number of projects trying to figure it out how to deal with the problem. One of the possibilities is so called electronic substitution, which may give a new life for many people.
Biology sometimes is underestimated. Those who tried looking into it more seriously know, how complex and extremely useful it can be. It can give you enormous amount of information which can help you to navigate through complexity and create amazing things like coexisting organisms in a human body.
Sean’s talk online.
Robotics has a potential to change our lives for good. But that must happen through consumers. Even if you'll have the most wonderful robot in the world but it will be the single one – no change will happen. It takes millions of robots, mass consumption and decreasing prices to set new standards for our everyday helpers and companions. And that could happen in less than a hundred year.
Giorgio’s talk online.
The future is not ours. That's because it depends not on things, machines, gadgets and games. Our future depends on a relationship. During the research it appeared that the third thing which comes to a mind of a dying person is “too much work”. The second – “too little things dreamed of and did”. And the first one – “I spent too little time with my dearests”. Therefore, the most valuable thing that could be created in our lives is a bond. A bond which, first of all, is based on love and relationship background created during the first 12 months of our lives. All we need is love!
Eugenijus’ talk online.
Solving climate change is the single biggest society opportunity on a planet today. But it's currently in a crisis. There are things that everyone of us can do to grasp that opportunity and profit from it at the same time. It is important to realize that it's not government representatives who can come to an agreement on a climate change issues – it's businesses. We must take the chances and do our best to our abilities because there is no planet B, we have no other place to go if the Earth would come to an end because of us.
Peter’s talk online.
In a past few years word diaspora has gone mainstream. Every country now talks about it's diaspora. No wonder there are hundreds of institutions in over 55 countries who are engaged with diaspora, when you know that nowadays more than 240 million people live outside the country they were born in. Despite of that they are still contributing to their countries and people who live there. 560 billion US dollars – that is a total amount of money diaspora sent to people in home countries. This is one of the many reasons why it’s very important to understand and learn how to treat those people not as a lost, but as a tremendous asset and a soft power source.
Kingsley’s talk online.
And that was not the end. Those who were at TEDxVilnius 2014 and those who watched it online know that there were three more speeches. Actually less like speeches and more like of performances. Artists, including phenomenally hilarious band called Liūdni Slibinai, spectacular urban dancers LowAir and unbelievably creative percussionist Tomas Dobrovolskis gave their best on the stage and made the day even more special. There are not enough words to describe what they exactly did and how they made all attendees feel.
Less words, better watch all of them and feel TEDxVilnius spirit!
Liūdni Slibinai’ performance online.
LowAir performance online.
Tomas Dobrovolskis’ performance online.
That was TEDxVilnius 2014 -- we can’t wait for TEDxVilnius 2015 to come!
The TEDxVilnius Team