Dean Shareski’s powerful TedX Talk

I was really excited by this video. Dean Shareski, the speaker, is actually a “friend” on Facebook and I count him as a part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

This is an impressive talk and one worthy of the high level of content and delivery of the TED talks that I have uploaded and talked about in this blog.

In the talk Dean shows how we have travelled from a sense of community and a “pop-in” culture which involved trust and friendship, to a society that has become family or person-centred, that has gone far away from the extended family idea of the Victorian era and “bowls alone” to quote the reference that Dean uses from the article “Bowling Alone” by Robert D. Putnam.

He starts by talking about the communal way that everyone used to “muck in” (to quote a British phrase) for example in putting up a new barn. He then contrasts this to the horrors of the “garage house” as he calls it, where the new design of a house emphasises the garage space before the living space and is about personal private use and not an open-door for friends to “pop-in”.

Dean sees the internet as having re-connected us to a sense of community. He gives a very moving example of a man who, having lost his beloved mother, then used Reddit to see if anyone could change the last photograph he had of himself with his mother, because she was photographed with her breathing tube. There were literally hundreds of replies and the revised and airbrushed photograph is seen as well as the man’s comments that “Reddit is now my home”.

In a later development Dean shows how Eric Whitacre managed to produce a wonderful collaboration of hundreds of people from 16 different countries who became a “virtual choir“. The video of the collaboration is moving but the power of creating a choir from across the international community is as moving and very powerful.

The talk then discusses Dean’s work in schools and how pioneers such as Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have managed to connect students in classes throughout the world in their wonderful “Flat Classroom Project”.

This is a very powerful talk that needs to be seen as widely as possible. I would recommend that the main TED site considers publishing it (as it does now more regularly with really good TEDx Talks). I have now added it as number 14 in my list of great TED  Talks and along with Aimee Mullins wonderful talk is my second TEDx Talk in the list.


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