TEDx, the TED Experience for Students

TED is a global set of conferences that take place globally, but are headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and are designed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading." TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, attracts celebrities, philanthropists, researchers, scientists, scholars, entrepreneurs, and others big names to serve as speakers on topics within the research and practice of science and culture. Over the years, TED has seen the likes of Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Gordon Brown, Larry Page, and handfuls of Nobel Prize winners and activists. And even with an admission price tag of $6,000 per person, the conference is usually sold out a year in advance. And, to aide their central purpose of spreading ideas and change, TED places all videos from the conferences online, making the content accessible even to those unable to attend. Since the practice of uploading videos began in 2006, TED has made over 700 videos available for free on the web, which have been viewed nearly 290 million times. With these figures, TED principals decided to open and expand on the concept of the conference to allow students access to the numerous benefits of attending such an event. As such, TEDx was created in 2009 to allow schools, neighborhoods, organizations, businesses and other would-be organizers to apply for a license and hold their own version of the TED conference.

The first TEDx event was help in March 2009 at the University of Southern California and was organized by the U.S.C . Stevens Institute for Innovation. The school recently hosted their second TEDx event, which sold out the 1,200 available seats and turned away hundreds of hopeful students. Since the beginning of the year, there have already been over 500 TEDx events across the globe, from the United States to Africa and China. TED specifies that each TEDx event must be free, unless otherwise agreed upon by TED, and must not support any extremist, political, or religious movements. Licenses to hold TEDx events must be applied for an granted to each organizing body on behalf of TED. These conferences aim to provide students with information, resources, and platforms to promote "ideas worth sharing." Videos of the conferences are usually uploaded to the TED website, allowing people from different states and countries to share in the promulgation of great ideas. With this in mind, TED executives hope the rise of internet usage and information dissemination means that TED and TEDx videos can contribute to classrooms as educational tools in the future. “We know teachers are using the talks in classrooms,” Lara Stein, TED’s licensing director, told the New York Times. “What could we do to move that along? It’s an experience. It’s not a lecture. It’s transformational. That’s why people like me are hooked.”

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