NEW YORK — The TEDxNYED Conference that took place here on Saturday was like the Lollapalooza festival for education technologists. Almost every speaker was a headliner in his or her own right.
The forum was a regional spin-off of the “billionaires-and-brains edutainment summit in California,” as one participant, Dan Cohen, of George Mason University, described the mothership TED conferences and the hugely popular videos of their presentations. The theme Saturday was how new media and technology are shaping the future of education. And the speakers — including Lawrence Lessig, Michael Wesch, Henry Jenkins, Gina Bianchini, Jay Rosen, and David Wiley — each had 18 minutes to deliver what sometimes felt like a “greatest hits” snapshot of their ideas, with the chance for future online glory if the videotaped talks go viral.
In the blogging frenzy that followed the blockbuster conference, that constrained, no-questions-from-the-audience format seems to have generated as much online commentary as the speakers’ ideas. Mr. Cohen produced a somewhat critical piece about how the format “pushes speakers like me toward theatrics,” and Jeff Jarvis, of the City University of New York, also criticized the setup in harsher language that you can read here (includes profanity). Talks by speakers like Mr. Wiley (Brigham Young University), Mr. Lessig (Harvard), and George Siemens (Athabasca University) are all online. You can also sample dozens of audience reactions by trawling the blog commentary aggregated on this site.
Writes Boone Gorges, a philosophy Ph.D. student at CUNY: “I saw a tweet in the middle of the day – wish I could find it now – that remarked on the irony of a day full of lectures delivered to a roomful of people who love to decry the utility of lectures as a learning tool.”