Worlds Imagined: Helping Kids Share New Visions for the Future
When he was 13, Bill Gates was introduced to a computer terminal at school. He quickly became fascinated with computers, spending hours in the computer lab teaching himself programming. At age 15, Gates and his friend Paul Allen developed a program that monitored traffic patterns, which they sold to a company for $20,000. By age 23, Gates was the head of Microsoft, a software company that made $2.5 million during its first year.
From a young age, Bill Gates imagined the world differently. He saw the potential of developing licensed computer software before anyone else did. As a result, he changed the world forever.
Today, one of the many ways Gates and his wife help other people spark change is by offering the TEDxChange Scholarship. The scholarship is a product of the partnership between TED, whose mission is to spread ideas, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is committed to global development and improving education. Scholarship recipients are awarded the funding needed to coordinate a TEDxChange event in their communities, which would otherwise be unable to support one. These events give a diverse group of people the chance to share their unique ideas and visions for change.
TED also offers an event called TEDYouth, and its theme for 2014 is “Worlds Imagined”—a theme that has been essential in Gates’ life since he was 13. Speakers at the main TEDYouth event in New York and those who hold TEDxYouthDay talks in communities across the world are encouraged to “envision new scenarios for our future, and think through how they can contribute to its creation.” The events will be held this weekend, beginning Saturday, November 15. If you can’t make it to the main event, then you and your child can follow along via live stream or check out the talks when they’re posted on the TEDxYouth YouTube channel.
Help Your Child Imagine Different Worlds
Children don’t have to speak at or attend TEDxYouthDay to consider the future. If you are a parent or Learning Coach, start a conversation with your child by asking the questions below, or turn this into a journaling exercise.
- What do you think the world be like in 10 years? How about in 50 years?
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
- Think about your strengths. What are two ways you could use your abilities to contribute to the world?
- Which community or group would you most like to help?
- What is one small change you can make today?
After your child answers these questions, encourage him or her to contribute to the TEDxYouthDay Photo Challenge. Simply print out the sign template online and ask your child to finish the sentence starting with, “If I ruled the world….” Once he or she fills in the sign, take a photo of your child holding it and then upload it to Flickr, Instagram, or post it on your Tumblr with the hashtag #TEDxYouthDay by November 21.
What would your child do if he or she ruled the world? Share his or her answers in the comments below, and then repost your contest photos on the Connections Academy Facebook page or mention @ConnectionsAcad in a Tweet!