The Warrior

Students localize TED Talks

Club President Ralph Balita holding his poster for TED-Ed club at Club Days. The club is designed to share students' interpretations on an endless selection of topics such as technology and entertainment (Photo courtesy of Virad Anwar).

Club President Ralph Balita holding his poster for TED-Ed club at Club Days. The club is designed to share students' interpretations on an endless selection of topics such as technology and entertainment (Photo courtesy of Virad Anwar).

By Benjamin Peebles, Reporter

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Ralph Balita was an everyday senior until he started watching TED Talks. These talks showcase both knowledge and an understanding of what an individual knows and is interested in.

Balita, Div. 870, said he decided to challenge the idea of creating a club to help people become more exposed to a deeper understanding of what we see and don’t see. The TED-Ed club is designed to share students’ interpretations on an endless selection of topics.

“The point of the club is not only to analyze things we see or care about, but also to discuss deeply on how it takes a toll on our lives or how we can change as humans,” Balita said.

Some of the topics of discussion include technology, entertainment and design-related topics, according to Sam Rodriguez, Div. 861 and one of TED-Ed’s top representatives.

“Some people are talking about different types of education and how we can improve our current system of education,” Rodriguez said. “Other people are thinking about race and ethnicity. It all depends on the speaker’s interests.”

Balita struggled with how he would turn the club from an idea into a reality.

“It all started with a conversation,” Balita said. “My friend and I wanted to see if we could host an exclusive TEDx Event at Lane, we did the research and found too many impossibilities. Later, we saw an opportunity to start a TED-Ed Club, which allowed us to host a TED-Event that would be run by students, for the students.”

The TEDx events help communities, organizations and individuals produce TED-style events at the local level, according to the TED organization website. Instead of the televised versions of the talks, these events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis, which Balita is in control of as a TED-Ed leader.

To run the club, Balita needed more than an interest and an application.

“I took the opportunity to file an application and was selected to be a TED-Ed Leader,” Balita said. “I took webinars and video chats with presidents of other TED-Ed Clubs around the country to prepare for the school year ahead.”

The TED mission is to have a global community that welcomes people from anywhere who seek a deeper understanding of the world, according to the organization’s website. It also states that believing passionately in the power of ideas can change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. This ideology welcomes unique thought and perspective that can be shut out in day-to-day life.

The sponsor of TED-Ed, Mr. Maslanka, wanted to help Balita with the idea of the club, even though he was skeptical about TED’s limited speech time.

“I am skeptical about the ideas behind TED-Talks; being able to come up with a solution in 10 minutes is a huge problem,” Maslanka said. “I think this will help students with their public speaking and speaking about their personal interests.”

TED-Ed will also host events which will allow students to become TED-Listeners, active audience members who listen to the talks, even if they aren’t part of the club.

“We will be holding a Lane Tech TED-Ed event between February and early March for which we will be showcasing a series of talks,” Balita said.

This event is run completely by the students and can help bring people together with different ideas to a common ground. These events will be held in the auditorium using the stage as a focal point.

“I have always felt like I’ve had something to say, so I thought ‘why would I not take this opportunity to speak to my classmates and people in the Lane community?,’” Rodriguez said.

Balita said his goal is “for creativity and individuality.” He hopes that the club will bring a new atmosphere for  Lane students.

“I want my peers and classmates to use TED-Ed as a catalyst for finding one’s own passion: not just to take it as a lecture,” Balita said. “My goal is to essentially shift the mindsets of my peers to those of a TED speaker.”

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Students localize TED Talks