Randy Bretz, co-curator of TEDxLincoln, (www.tedxlincoln.com), is seeking involvement with schools, libraries and organizations in four or five communities strategically placed around our state to help us recruit presentations and performances as well as to host viewing sites for our live events. The TEDxLincoln organizers hope that Speech and Debate coaches across Nebraska will see these events as an opportunity to have their students attend one of the viewing sites.

TEDxLincoln, an event that was initiated in 2011 among a small group in Lincoln, has grown to include two major live events with a vision to give Nebraskans an opportunity to share ideas and performances that can contribute to a better world. Since our first event in 2011, we’ve shared nearly 100 presentations and performances to audiences attending the live events as well as a large number of participants who have joined us online. We’ve touched more than two million world-wide as a result, and we’re looking to grow.

For the upcoming school year, two viewing parties have been set:

  •  TEDxYouth@Lincoln  August 16, 2014
  •  TEDxLincoln Main  November 14, 2014



TEDxLincoln Viewing Parties


A growing aspect of TEDx events around the world is the coordination of viewing parties where groups gather to participate in a live event as they view a webstream of the live presentations, join in discussing the presentations during breaks and connect to the originating location via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media. TEDxLincoln has participated in viewing parties including TEDxLincolnWomen in December 2013 and Changing the Way We Eat in March 2014. Based on these experiences and reacting to requests we plan to share the TEDxLincoln live events with viewing parties across Nebraska.


A key aspect of all TED and TEDx events is capturing the events on high quality video. Originally the concept of the video capture was to offer, at no cost, the opportunity for people anywhere to view individual presentations online following the live events. Millions have viewed thousands of videos from the main TED events and the many TEDx events conducted each year. While there is the capability to post comments online after viewing the video, the opportunity to view the presentations live adds a unique opportunity to feel part of the event. In addition to recording the videos, a life feed of the events is typically offered using the video streaming capabilities of the Internet.


TEDxLincoln viewing parties will be strategically located across Nebraska in community facilities equipped with high speed Internet, digital projectors and audio systems. In each location, participants will gather to view the live events hosted by a specially selected and trained host for the day. They’ll be provided with a program sharing the titles of each presentation, the names of the presenters and other details relevant to the event. Throughout the day, as presentations occur on the live stage, participants will have the opportunity to view the high quality video feed. During breaks they’ll be encouraged to discuss the presentations, and in some cases planned activities will be conducted related to the presentations.


Locations: Geographically, we will seek to coordinate viewing parties in cities in Nebraska’s Northwest, Southwest, North central, South central and Northeast. Cities on our desired list include Chadron, Gering, Valentine, Grand Island and Norfolk. At present, we are in the process of contacting schools, libraries and other organizations in the target communities and other locations across the state.


Audience: Primary focus will be to coordinate with high schools across the state to give high school students the opportunity to participate. Promotion in the target locations will also invite college students and adults. TEDxYouth@Lincoln will be on Saturday August 16, at the beginning of the school year. This will give inbound students the opportunity to jump start their academic year with quality presentations and performances from our stage. TEDxLincoln Main will be on Friday November 14 and our focus will be to encourage teachers to identify students whom they feel will gain and be rewarded by a day of high quality presentations.


Hosts: Each location will have a volunteer host for the day. These folks will be carefully selected, given detailed information and some training to help them with the task. They’ll be provided with directions for connecting directly with the origination site to encourage interaction between the viewing parties and the main stage.


Promotion: TEDxLincoln will lead the promotion on the web, with social media posts, through press releases, media appearances and provide support for local promotion at each site. This support will include poster designs, social media posts suggestions, logos and other graphics.


Program Schedule: Participants will be welcomed to the viewing site prior to the beginning of the webstream. Just before the live event begins, the hosts will welcome participants and introduce the program. The live feed will be in blocks that are approximately 90 minutes long. During these blocks, the primary focus will be viewing the webstream. During scheduled breaks, viewing locations will provide refreshments and lunch. They will also be encouraged to engage in discussion related to the presentations.


Interaction: Throughout the day, participants will be encouraged to engage in interacting with the origination site and other viewing parties via social media. Tweets and posts will be shared from the live stage and by the viewing party hosts between presentations and during breaks. We’ll share photos and perhaps short videos from the viewing parties during the live event.



Costs: There will be no fee charged for a site hosting a viewing party. And, at this time, we do not anticipate charging for tickets. We do plan to provide an online reservation system for each site to help hosts anticipate their audience. Details about refreshments and lunch have not been finalized at this time. If funds are available, TEDxLincoln will help defray the costs, otherwise the participants may be asked to contribute to meet those expenses. 


TEDx Comes to Nebraska


What is it about TED and TEDx presentations that people, especially our teachers find so fascinating? No doubt,  across Nebraska, nearly every day there are people watching and teachers sharing TED and TEDx videos in their classes. Why is that? And, just where do they come from? The answer is the TED talks present some thought provoking ideas and they originate from all over the world, including right here in Nebraska.


Some studies suggest that teachers using these talks in their classrooms find that they gratify students who need visual learning, they engage the power of social learning and they encourage students to build on what they already know. Chances are, you’ve watched some of the videos on TED.com yourself. They’re thought provoking and they give excellent insight into an idea that someone has developed.


But, simply watching videos isn’t all. There is increasing involvement by Nebraska teachers in the TED-Ed activities. These activities help build educational materials through a collaboration involving the TED-Ed team and students and teachers in our schools.


We have local TED events in Nebraska and the folks who coordinate these events are reaching out to share the ideas that are presented on their stages. Perhaps it’s a discussion about nano technology in medicine given by an 8th grader, an idea about how women can overcome some of the challenges they face in the workplace or a slam poem about being bullied . . . these and so many other topics are covered by the TEDx events originating in Nebraska.


The TEDxNebraska events are offered at no charge as a live webstream originated by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET). Perhaps your community would want to host a viewing party and invite nearby schools and communities to send some of their residents and students to participate in an exciting day of learning. It’s a chance for participants to see excellent presentations and performances that originate right here in Nebraska and to interact intellectually with others as they discuss the ideas presented.


A TEDx Youth event is scheduled for Saturday, August 16. It will originate from Lincoln High School. Last year this event featured a dozen speakers ranging in age from 12 to 20. There were also dramatic and musical performances throughout the day featuring students as young as 4th grade through high school. The main TEDx event is scheduled for Friday, November 14 in the studios of NET. In the past, speakers have included teachers, students, professors, business people and military personnel. Topics have touched on Holocaust education, a link between two cities as a result of one helping the other in a time of disaster, an artists desire to share his art with others, dealing with challenges in life including stage fright, what it’s like to grow up poor as a minority in a rural community and so much more.



If your community would like to host a viewing party for one of the Nebraska oriented TEDx events, just drop a note to Dr. Randall Bretz, Nebraska TEDx Curator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   He is seeking some key locations to host viewing parties and local teachers and educators who would be willing to host the viewing party and act as emcee and coordinator. There is no charge to receive the webstream feed from NET and the Nebraska TEDx folks will help with publicity and logistics. Ideas aren’t exclusive to Silicone Valley or Route 128 in Boston, they can be found right here in Nebraska.