And the five selected speakers from the Speaker Pitch are...

By Heleen Emanuel - Jan 22nd, 2015

Speaker Pitch first impressions..

It was a nice surprise to see one of the former speakers of TEDxAmsterdamED, Jaffar Al-Ani, as our host yesterday. Now I know that TEDx is not only valuable for the audience, but also for the speakers themselves. What an amazing amount of growth Jaffar has gone through in comparison to his talk in 2013. Loved his talk then, but loved him more today as a free speaker! Jaffar took a moment to point out the right to free speech, referring to the horrible week in Paris. The pitches were fast, good and varied. As a regular speaker on stage, I was impressed by the way the speakers presented themselves.

Making a statement in 3 minutes on a stage, in a language that was (usually) not their mother tongue. To me, they were all winners of the day. What did they talk about? Gamification, higher order thinking, the brain, learning by doing, happiness, hacking education, motivation, empowering the curious mind, immersive learning…and much more. In one sentence: education has to make our children happy, curious, skilled for their future, technically competent, active learners…easy to do, if all the solutions presented today can be implemented in education in the near future. I am very curious about what the jury decides - who will be on stage on the 26th of March? To me…they are all welcome...they just began to trigger my curiosity.

Review by Karin Winters  

And the five selected speakers are...

Andre Haardt - Magic happens when school time meets playtime In 2008, Andre was working for an Italian printing company and during that time he read an article about how most children spend their time after school - two hours of instant messaging and playing games. And this was even before Facebook and social media entered out lives. Even his own son, Gijs, was spending his time after school behind a computer. Andre came up with an idea: why don’t we create a game that children can play after school, a game that actually supports their learning? Now, Andre owns a company that creates engaging games for children that they can play after school. Instead of being on Facebook for two hours, or chatting away on social media, kids are given the opportunity to play and learn.


Sarah Woods - Identity: How Fear and Change Intersect What is personal identity, and can it change over time? A decade ago, Sarah Woods had long blond hair, but then she lost all of her hair over a two year period to Alopecia. She spent the next 8 years reevaluating her identity and learning how to embrace her new state as a bald woman. For her TEDxAmsterdamEd submission, Sarah addressed how her newfound identity has helped her to develop insight and gain a unique perspective on how to bridge the technology gap with teachers who could have never imagined themselves as “techies”. By embracing the change, a happier and more fulfilled educator may emerge.


Dylan Hyman - Higher Order Thinking In The Classroom Dylan wants to inspire teachers and students to create their own world and practice the sort of thinking skills they will need to make their wildest dreams a reality. To achieve this, she incorporates activities that encourage higher-order thinking in the classroom. Asking 'what is the similarity between a fishbowl and an apple tree?' she can engage this type thinking. But why is this important? Simply because higher-order thinking is what allows us to make sense of the world around us! .


Lital Marom - Cultivating a hacker mindset Lital’s pitch centres around her ambition to help the next generation thrive, not just survive, in a complex and unpredictable world. She strongly believes in the importance and power of a 'hacker' mindset for young people entering the new, ever changing world of work. Lital defines this mindset as the combination of curiosity (learning as a way of life), tinkering (learning by doing) and grit (having the resilience to go for something and not fear failure). .


Joost Uitdewilligen - I Am You. How Immersive Learning Can Help Us. What would the world look like if we could feel empathy not just for the people we know, but also for the stranger, the anonymous person in far away countries. Joost believes that experiencing life through the eyes of ‘the other’ will change the extent of empathy we allow ourselves to feel and will therefore change our behaviour. An assumption that Joost, with sufficient funding, hopes to validate. In collaboration with the TU Delft and the experimental lab of his own company, Joost has started a project called ‘I am You’. Their goal is to build the first immersive learning experience, using the Oculus Rift to train empathy. Journalists, storytellers and educators like Joost, use immersion to remove you from where you are (which most likely is in a chair) and take you on a journey that deeply involves your senses. By using recent tools and technology, such as the Oculus Rift, a high-end virtual reality experience becomes a new way of learning.


Blogs written by Karin Winters, Dorine Slot, Mariette Reineke, Sarah Woods, Kathy Jastrzebski & Jette

Photography by

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