This is a worrisome development -- TED metasticizing. Releasing the branded concept for free with a license ensures even more spread of this tech cult.
I hate TED. I don't hate it because it's elitist and affluent and costs $6000 -- that's normal in the tech industry and conferences have to make money.
I hate it because it pretends to be innovative and open, and even makes a cult of the innovative and open, and yet it peddles always the same geek line, never permitting debate (the format is always to have a guru speak in front of an ecstatic and unquestioning audience without even any Q&A) and it often introduces new popularized tech horrors, like this truly loathsome concept of making everything in life a game propagandized by Jesse Schell (see above). Jesse's talk is a TED-recommended video featured on its website, not TED per se, but that's just it -- TED co-opts and picks and choses what ideas it will promote, and provides no venue for debating them.
Schell's video epitomizes everything about the TED ritualistic canon -- the pompous faux laid-back geek guru bounding out on stage, speaking in flippant sound bytes and lobbing prefabricated jokes, flipping the PowerPoint -- and advancing an awful idea that further undermines the human being's individuality and context in reality, and collectivizes him into a meta-game to "motivate him". Schell didn't think this up -- ludologists such as the failed economics professor Edward Castranova writes about tapping into the autonomous nervous system with the fight/flight/reward game paradigm to get people to work or socialize better.
I called this out in my critique in the comments on the Times piece about education and the "serious games" which are a total racket for injecting ideology into education, and my question was selected for an answer.
It was an answer I didn't find on target, because James Paul Gee is just double-talking me there, in that superior tone that one can expect from one of his background and belief system, and saying that having a discussion after a game is going to cancel out the deep imprinting of habits of thinking that occur from playing the addictive games in the first place. He doesn't explain how the self-development of the brain in engagement with a text and with a teacher can take place in the rigidly game controlling environment that puts up coders' cultural cues and dictates users' answers. He also answers the longer version of my question -- I asked whether he'd rather be operated by on a doctor who learned from textbooks and labs and practice, or somebody who played WoW -- yet my question is truncated so you can't see I asked about that.
Education is where geeks are really hoping to take hold now, which explains Zuckerberg's $100 million for Newark, which I'll come back to.
The TED thing at first seems like the Crowdsourcing Chris Anderson is now finally going to democratize this elitist geek meet-up. But it's anything but that. Because the template for it -- you will require a license to put on one of his branded meet-ups -- helps disseminate his rigid unfree cultural norms.
Take a look at what you have to agree to:
Apparently you can. A TEDx license is required to organize an event. The rules: recipients must not be associated with a controversial or extremist group, and cannot use TEDx to promote religious or political beliefs, or to sell commercial goods. There are also rules governing the event format, including that speakers must be filmed and that they don’t speak for more than 18 minutes each. TEDx organizers cannot charge for tickets, though TED makes some exceptions for groups that need help with production costs. Organizers who want to charge a fee (which can’t exceed $100) must seek permission from TED.
This is wrong on so many levels:
o What is a "controversial" or "extremist group"? The Tea Party is a protest movement that the left constantly tries to portray as extremist. If anyone is a sympathizer, they couldn't put on a TED meeting. That's not just a brand; it's an ideological boot-camp. And perhaps it's justified to benefit from the lefty hippie transhumanist brand that TED wants to keep -- and of course that's their right. Except...they are packaging it as neutral "education" when in fact it's a cult.
And...what is "controversial"? Is a group I might put together of tekkies in NY who love this sort of thing going to be "controversial" because I have several blogs where I mercilessly skewer the TEDutopians? I'd likely be rejected a "license" -- which of course, is a very creepy thing to have to get to have a meeting, a very, very bad precedent in general in the Metaverse and of course indicative of the Wired State.
o The speakers can't speak for more than 18 minutes?! what's that all about?!
o You can't charge for tickets? Well that's just plain repressive. Especially when the TED people could be making money on this and license the brand in exchange for a standard cut.
o It's only on suffrance that you *might* be able to charge a fee, and then only $100. I guess that's because TED Central will still charge $6000 a pop for the real conference -- these other local ones are only sort of fan groups.
What's awful about this is how it fetched up on my Facebook "liked" by various vacuous indiscriminate tekkie types who thought this was a great way to learn -- at a free conference! "Llllearn" (they always use the jargonistic spin on the term to mean essentially "imbibe tech doctrine like a sponge" -- marked by the with rolling of the "l")
It's also disturbing to see that lazy teachers are using this in the classroom, and probably without any teaching materials that question any of the tech-religious doctrine. You can't even discuss the creationist beliefs in the classroom, but hey, you can peddle TED transhumanism.
“We know teachers are using the talks in classrooms,” said Lara Stein, TED’s licensing director. “What could we do to move that along?”
After all, as Mr. Anderson pointed out, the rise of online video means a teacher doesn’t have to be someone sitting in front of a classroom talking to 30 people. Especially if something like TEDx can make learning and social change “sexy,” as Ms. Kim of Ashoka put it.
“It’s an experience,” she said. “It’s not a lecture. It’s transformational. That’s why people like me are hooked.”
See? It's a camp meeting. Parents should question this. And make sure that if these TED cult movies are shown, that there is a Q&A that DEBATES the science-ology that gets unquestioningly disseminated through this new insidious program.