My TED Journey – A Personal Passion Project

If you are doing something you love, an hour feels like 5 minutes. Sir Ken Robinson

Our committee has spent many “5 minute blocks” over the past few months organizing TEDxWestVancouverED and it has been the ultimate Passion Project.


Where did TEDxWestVancouverED come from? Over my years spent in Japan, I became quite a fan of Like everyone, I was fascinated by the topics and ideas being shared. Whether it was video from the TED-fest in California or small TEDx talks from around the world, it was all so inspiring. A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to teach at Tokyo International School (TIS). One of my main reasons for wanting to work at TIS was that the owner, Patrick Newell is an inspiring fellow himself. In his time he has created his own school, pushed for innovations in education, served the Tokyo community in a variety of roles, and is the founder of TEDxTokyo. From my time with Patrick, it never left my mind that organizing my own event was a possibility.

Fast forward to last year when I began thinking about a TED-esque event at Ridgeview Elementary for students to present on topics that they were passionate about. Through brainstorming conversations with fellow educators Glenis Wong and Cari Wilson at Delta EDCamp this idea quickly morphed from being school-based, to involving our family of schools to a district-wide event. That day at EDCamp and where it has taken us, reminds me of one of my favourite Derek Sivers talks on creating a movement.

Why Rethinking Education? Well, we are in what Sir Ken Robinson calls the “learning revolution”. In the West Vancouver School District we are no longer thinking about moving from the stereotypical school house classroom to something more modern and innovative because we are past that; we are looking at the present and continuing to move forward. Our present looks like this:

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 6.39.45 AM

– all teachers have digital devices such as laptops or tablets

– we are further implementing inquiry-based teaching that promotes high student engagement, values student curiosity, allows for deep questioning and authentic learning – this is happening and spreading throughout our professional learning communities and classrooms

– our schools are being renovated and modernized to meet the needs of our learners

– programs that go beyond the four walls of the classroom like Outside45 and the Academies are flourishing

– our educators are being encouraged to innovate through grants that support a teacher’s curiosity around what can further improve student achievement and engagement

Rather than attend a lecture to hear one or two people speak about some of the wonderful initiatives occurring in the West Vancouver School District and beyond, the TEDx format allows attendees and the world to be inspired by many ideas, and the personal stories and values behind the beliefs that made them happen. TEDx allows the presenter an opportunity to connect with an audience much differently than with other formats, and in my opinion, creates a powerful message around innovative thought. So when you come to TEDxWestVancouverED do not expect to hear about where we have been and where we should be in education. We are presenting from today and inspiring the spark of creativity to think about where we all could be and how we are going to get there.

Through the work of our committee, Cari Wilson, Brooke MooreGarth Thomson and myself, we have planned an event that has already exceeded our expectations with a fantastic line-up of speakers, sold out tickets, attendees from across the region and partnerships with businesses in the community that have been very generous.

Last week our attendees were informed that they are confirmed to attend and it was wonderful to see their excitement via email and Twitter. We look forward to more momentum building as we get closer to May 11th where we will begin Rethinking Education and our small idea becomes a big reality.

Poster TEDx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s