Tuesday, May 18, 2021

My 'TED' Talks


When I first learned of TED talks I was intrigued and, truth be told, a little envious.  Oh, to have such a large audience to hear what I would like say about weaving, cloth, etc.

But I knew the audience for what I wanted to say was tiny.  A niche so small that standing up to talk at a TED presentation was a silly ambition.

Lately it has occurred to me that the technology now exists for people like me to do a TED type of presentation via Zoom and You Tube.

What I am doing is not teaching in the 'old' way, but teaching in a way that I feel needs to be done, right now.  

Firstly, we are all safe at home - no danger of any virus being shared along with knowledge.  Secondly, I can focus entirely on the kinds of things I feel get left out of the 'traditional' approach to teaching weaving.  Thirdly, it doesn't matter if everyone can attend for the live presentation because I can (fairly easily) load the recorded presentation to You Tube for anyone in the group to view at their convenience.

As I work my way through my message, I find myself more and more identifying with the kinds of TED talks I have enjoyed viewing.  But, because I am trying to also teach at a fairly deep level, I am not confined to 20 minutes (or less).  In fact, my presentations are more routinely lasting around 2 hours.

This is kind of stretching the limits of people to focus so I build in times to pause and allow the viewers to stop and absorb for a bit.  In addition, because the viewers can go to the video to review, I feel I can push beyond the normal limits of what I do live.

When we live through 'interesting' times, we can approach what we do differently.  In so many ways, weaving (and other craft practitioners) have stepped up, learning new technology, re-tooling their classes, dealt with new skills in order to continue to support their students.

And, going forward, we can continue this approach even after the pandemic is over.  Teachers won't have to always be jumping on airplanes at dark o'clock (in many cases), dodging weather, dealing with strange beds, time zones, etc.  Once we can safely travel again, there will be a desire for the kind of in person teaching/learning we are familiar with.  But I can see the on line options that I and others have taken up also continuing.

Those who, like Jane Stafford, Tien Chiu and Janet Dawson, Abby Franquemont, Daryl Lancaster, who had already begun teaching on line have made great strides in this already.  I will continue to poke along at my own speed on my own terms.  Time will tell if the audience will continue to be there.

Thank you for coming to my 'TED' talks...

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