BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan school district is moving toward having its students and staff record and deliver public talks of their own creation by utilizing modern technology.
Superintendent Russell Lazovick said that a potential for TED student talks would be for students ages 8 through 18, with students and also district staff preparing their own theme-based talks. Those talks would be recorded during the current school year, and would then be delivered at an event to be held at Bridgewater-Raritan High School in late spring 2020.
The talks would also be uploaded to the district’s YouTube channel.
According to its website at www.ted.com
, TED Talks is a non-profit organization that dates back 35 years and is “devoted to spreading ideas” in the form of short talks that last less than 20 minutes apiece. The talks focus on topics ranging from science to business, and can also be delivered in over 100 languages.
Lazovick said students and staff would go through much the same process he did in fashioning his own talk, which he later called a unique event in his professional life.
"TED is making available (the) master class talks that I went through," he said, which included coaching from TED staff members.
He added that the program would make talks available to students and staff across Somerset County, all pointed toward the late spring event to be held in Bridgewater. Studio space would be made available for individuals to record their talks, with BRTV to support placement on the district’s subsection of its You Tube channel, and hopefully "inspire others the way so many TED talks do," Lazovick said.
Talks based on specific as-yet-unnamed themes would be pulled aside for the spring event at BRHS, with both district students and staff presenting their own theme-based talks to a full audience of community members. Lazovick said that delivering such talks would be different than giving them on the web, and would, more importantly, help to stimulate various conversations and thoughts.
"To create (talks) for our own community would be something special," said the superintendent.
TED will host a Master Class Showcase at the Tech Conference Theater in SOHO in New York City Oct. 6, according to Lazovick. He added that, being a TED educator and in New Jersey, the expenses for attending that event have been waived, and that there were three tickets reserved for himself, a school board member and a district administrator to take part.
Board member Jeffrey Brookner, who resigned his position Sept. 24, said during the discussion that the in-house portion of the TED project makes sense, especially with students encouraged to develop their own talks. Lazovick also said in response to a question from Brookner that the talks will be used to increase dialogue with neighboring school districts.
They could also possibly be used to charge fees to outside districts, to hear talks in Bridgewater in the future.
“That’s a massive undertaking,” admitted Lazovick, who said that the district would only move as much as it could with the program to be successful, whether that is just three staff members participating, or as many as three dozen, while allowing them to also take on leadership roles.
Bpard president Jill Gladstone spoke about possibly tying the TED talks into the notion of academic integrity, which the district has been monitoring for many months now. Lazovick said the goal is to approach TED as a “campaign of positivity” to help its participants become successful.