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If the summer has finally arrived, you could do worse than spend an hour sitting in the sunshine listening to a TED talk.

No, not teddy bears but a fascinating repository of ideas worth spreading, innovative thinking from people sometimes called mavericks who share their expertise, experiences and new thinking with the world at large.

TED is from Technology, Entertainment and Design and is a non-profit making organisation devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short talks – usually 18 minutes or less and delivered without any notes at all – from global issues to science to personal life-learning experiences.

It has over 2000 talks available to ‘stir your curiosity’. You can search for specific topics from A for algorithm or ancient world to Z … well, there aren’t any Zs yet, but several hundred in between.


Even the titles draw you in

All talks are recorded and published on YouTube and elsewhere. You could start with 11 must-see TED talks which would whet the appetite – Do schools kill creativity?, The danger of a single story and Your body language shapes who you are.

They will set you off on all sorts of interesting tangents. The most popular talks of all time are twenty talks that have drawn in the most viewers which include talks such as Why we do what we do, The power of introverts and 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm!

A recent design talk is The first secret of design is … noticing. Also, The nerd’s guide to learning everything online is worth a dip into.

Why Humans Run the World is both historically informative and thought-making for our future.

For teachers there is Create a Lesson which has over 131,000 created lessons and almost 6 million answered questions that should help all those interested in spreading learning and developing enquiring minds, as it allows free use and tweaking of any TED material.

The TED Blog is full of interesting titbits about tech organisation, successful talks and how knowledge and understanding are being spread. There is also an 8-minute highlight video of the most powerful ideas in TED talks during 2014.

Naturally TED is on Twitter. Anybody can set up and run an independent TED talk event, a TEDx, and some of the recent material on there is just as compelling.

I particularly liked The Internet is on Fire, The Dark Side of Free Will and Skateboarding in Afghanistan.

The Telegraph has their own pick of the ten best TED talks which is a quick way into getting hooked on this repository of human understanding.

There is in fact no limit on mankind’s ingenuity, inventiveness and creativity. Such ideas are indeed well worth spreading. Happy watching.

Image: TEDxMidAtlantic