Category Archives: TED talks
“Fame is easy to acquire, impact is much more difficult.”
Hans Rosling, 1948-2017 (Guardian, 2003)
Hans Rosling, public health guru, statistics wizard, creator of Gapminder and presenter of the best TED Talks of all time (playlist), has sadly died, way too young. Any long-term user of i-Biology.net will know what a fanboy I am, and there are many posts and pages on this site – from Bio content to MYP and TOK – that reference his work and talks.
He will be missed but his work, more important now than ever before, will live on.
We’re lucky to be in this world. Don’t be ignorant.
Timely and provocative, here is Sam Harris on facts, values, morals and perceptions. Jump here for lesson ideas. Trigger alert (it’s Sam Harris): some raw issues discussed.
If you know me you’ll know I’m a keen surfer and have spent years in Indonesia (now in Japan). This TEDx Talk by Dr. Dave Jenkins is inspirational and informative, as he describes their work at SurfAid International (2007 NGO of the Year). He describes how we can harness doing what we love for the good of others, but also discusses the importance of community connection and authenticity in service projects and the danger of the ‘founder sydrome’.
Watch it – maybe use it for inspiration for your CAS projects – and share with those responsible for service in your school.
When you are developing service learning projects, you might consider using the Service Learning Cycle. Find out more about it here.
Another great Hans Rosling TED Talk, this time with his son, Ola. Here Dealing with misconceptions, bias, ignorance of global issues and a little formative assessment, they discuss how we can be better informed about the world, with a fact-based world view… and how we could (eventually) perform better than chimps on a global issues quiz.
This would make a great provocation for a TOK unit, or one in Geography or a Global Issues group. In our field of international education it might be useful for parent and teacher training, considering why we need to educate for global understanding, not just for disciplinary knowledge. Through a fact-based world view, we can develop truly internationally-minded, globally-engaged young inquirers, who recognise their biases and know how to learn more about the truths of the world we live in now and into the future.
I love the suggestion they have of a “global knowledge certificate” for agencies, schools and employers that is based on candidates taking a test on the fact-based world view. You read about the ignorance project here on CNN, or find more classroom resources (including a world-view card game) on Gapminder’s education page. The Guardian also has a selection of global development quizzes, which you can take for fun or in class.
This song by BioRad is a funny discussion starter on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and biotechnology. For a full lesson plan, with editable slides for students and a complete TED Ed lesson (with quiz), visit the full page.
“Are there any parasites that are influencing our behaviour without us knowing it?”
When I started this blog back in 2007, Ed Yong was a fledgling science writer gaining an audience with his Not Exactly Rocket Science wordpress blog; clear and engaging online articles that opened up primary research to a wider audience. You’ll find many links to his writing throughout this site, connecting the concepts of the IB Biology course to current science and ‘the wow beat’. He has since had a book and is resident at NatGeo’s Phenomena Salon, after moving through Science Blogs and Discover.
He continues to inspire me as a writer and this week he gave his TED Talk, a funny and fact-packed tour of the sinister side of parasites. Enjoy! You will even be able to find some links out to further reading and references.
If you don’t already, you should subscribe to the Phenomena blogs, and if you’re a teacher or student whose schedule are as packed a mine, I highly recommend Ed’s weekly ‘Missing Links‘ roundup of science news and writing – they make for my Sunday morning reading!
This is an interesting discussion starter and is only 11 minutes long. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji talks about the ethical dilemmas of HIV research in developing countries. What happens when the trial ends?
Some discussion ideas:
- Discuss the pros/ cons of testing pharmaceuticals in the developing world vs the ‘west’.
- Authorisation of trials
- Risk of litigation
- Willingness of populations to participate
- Potential sample size
- Ethics vs efficiency in data generation
- Cost-benefit ratio
- Outline what is meant by ‘informed consent’ in terms of clinical trials. Discuss the challenges of informed consent in trials in the developing world.
- Evaluate the suggestions Boghuma Kabisen Titanji makes about:
- Informed consent
- Standard of care provided to participants
- Ethical review of research
- Exit plan – what happens to participants once the trial has ended?
Here’s Dr. Ben Goldacre of Bad Science giving his TED Talk, which is an eye-opener into what happens in academic research and drug testing. A good link with TOK here:
- How do research groups and journals decide what to publish – what is publication bias?
- What are the consequences of not publishing negative results?
- To what extent does publication bias affect other academic disciplines?
This is a really interesting dilemma. Evidence-based medicine works, that’s why it is called ‘medicine’. Sometimes publication bias leads into misrepresentation of data and drugs get approved. But it’s not the same as promoting pseudoscience – ‘fake’ medicines which we know do not work and are supported by no peer-reviewed, controlled evidence.