Livestream for Education

What educator are you still thanking?

Educators carry a huge responsibility. They’re expected to have the right words, the right ideas, the right inspiration — all at just the right time. And remarkably, they do. Every day.

Education and TED share an obvious alignment — both offer a healthy balance of empathy, inspiration and tough love. TED is a giant global classroom. It shows us what is possible and introduces us to the people behind the progress. Those people inspire us and then we, in turn, can inspire others.

We’re all students. And we’re all teachers.

TED enables us to watch the world change and grow like never before. We can see where the world is in need. And embrace what the world should celebrate. TEDxGrandRapids brings it home.

How better to get these lessons to all of our children than to share it with educators?

Livestream for Education

On May 10, Livestream for Education will give 1,000 local educators the opportunity to experience the TEDxGrandRapids program in real time. They’ll have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas and figure out their own answers to the question, “What Now?”. And if they want to bring students, they can nominate up to 10 out-of-the-box thinkers who are in the 10th grade and older.

It’s our way of thanking those who helped us get where we are today– and to pass a gift of inspiration to the leaders of tomorrow.

Watch for applications to be available soon. We invite you to join us.

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7 Comments. Leave new

Susan Maxwell Stevens
February 21, 2012 9:43 pm

On the surface, Livestream for Education is a good idea. When you look at the practical application in public school, it is much less reasonable. First, a teacher cannot be out of the classroom without the school paying for a substitute teacher to cover there class load. If they take students, there are costs for busses and meals for students that also cost the school money. These both require approval from the principal, since they impact budget. Many public schools have no budget for this type of activity any longer, unless a teacher finds a grant to pay for it. If they participate via the web in class, they only get 40 minutes and hope your schedule matches their class schedule. Earlychildhood education is proven to be the greatest indicator of student success. There are only so many elementary qualified subs available in Kent County. That further limits participation. These are just a few issues that should be considered next time you want to do something for education.


Hey Susan,

Yes, there are many challenges to planning an event for public, private, charter and home school educators. But despite the obstacles, it’s worth the extra effort to try to inspire energy and creativity in local educators and students. We had a lot of interest in TEDxGrandRapids from educators last year and wanted to give them a special opportunity to participate this year.

Our partnership with Kent Intermediate School District has been very helpful as we’ve considered these exact issues and more. Some details are still in development, but right now, we can tell everyone that we’re working with sponsors to help offset the costs of event production so all guests can attend free of charge. Lunch and snacks are included.

Sustainability is an important consideration for all aspects of the TEDxGrandRapids and we will continue to find ways to help people connect with solutions like carpooling. In some districts, professional development funds will help cover costs. We’re also working with the organization that provides substitutes so they can plan in advance. Right now, they’re assuring us that capacity is not a concern.

For those who are not able to attend, the entire event will be available via livestream on May 10 and all TEDxGrandRapids talks will be posted at shortly after the event. These may be more convenient for educators who would like to show them at a specific day/time in class.

Even before we went public, we heard from more than 100 people who were interested in attending the Livestream for Education and we look forward to hearing from many more. The application will be available soon.

Mike Richardson
February 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Susan: I’m an educator in the city of Grand Rapids, and wanted to let you know how excited I am for this event and the opportunity for my students to learn from people with big ideas.

I spoke with my building administrator today about the possibility of attending, and she is all for it. In addition to her endorsement, she informed me that we have funding that will pay for a substitute as well.

As you pointed out, there are always challenges to participation in optional activities, however, that does not mean we shouldn’t try to make things happen for the good of our students.

My career is all about kids. I will do anything for them, including making personal or monetary sacrifices. Obstacles are meant to be overcome and makes on stronger.


Thanks Mike. Your support and enthusiasm is very much appreciated and shared by the volunteers behind the Livestream for Education event. Applications are now available at Hope to see you there.

Susan Maxwell Stevens
February 23, 2012 11:17 am

I’m happy to hear you are planning for most of the expenses for teachers and students. As I said, I think Livestream for Education is a good idea. I do hope public school teachers participate and not just charter and private. They have many more constraints and need positive support and inspiration.

When planning 2013, here are a couple of ideas:
Perhaps KISD can help organize a county-wide professional development day, so teachers don’t have to take time away from their students to participate. It would be a very complex negotiation, but would bring in teachers who won’t leave their students to do their own professional development.
Plan a day that half will be separated pre-K-8 and 9-college, then brought together for the other half of the day. The issues are different when discussing young children or those about to join the workforce. This would allow focused conversations to address those differences.

I wish you all the best on this event.


Susan’s suggestion is a good one for a common PD day. Those have to be scheduled well in advance as calendars are often set a year ahead of time. It may be difficult to convince districts of the value of a PD day so late in the year, however.

I would encourage looking beyond Kent County and include all surrounding counties for this and look to provide several satellite sites that can stream this event.

I appreciate the organizers looking for sponsors for funding as many districts cannot afford the costs for such events. I hope there are many supporters.


I cannot wait for Tedx Grand Rapids Livestream for Education! I attended Tedx last year out of my own pocket (though my public school DID pay for a sub) and it was worth every penny for the experience, sheer inspiration of the community that was involved, the spirit of the event, new innovative ideas, and excitement for the future. It was my belief and hope after the event that more teachers and administrators could participate in such a wonderful event, mostly because thinking outside the box was so well celebrated.

I know that every risk you take to start something new takes some tweeking after the first time, but I am very proud that tedx is thinking of doing this for teachers.



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