Today I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.
It's the day before the TEDxBirmingham conference and I'm not sure if it's possible for me to be more excited than I am. I've been looking forward to this for months and now the weekend is finally here.
TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting "ideas worth spreading" and started out doing so in 1984 by organizing a conference that brought people together from three worlds -- Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then TED's scope has become even broader. In addition to two annual conferences -- the TED Conference and TEDGlobal -- TED has a number of other programs including TEDx conferences, which are independently organized events.
The theme for TEDxBirmingham is "Rediscover the Magic."
Attending TEDxBirmingham is kind of a big deal. Being part of this event wasn't as simple as purchasing a ticket. Residents had to apply to in order to receive an invitation to purchase a ticket. I am proud to say not only was I selected to attend, but I also received a scholarship offered to select educators.
Just as some parents let their kids open one gift on Christmas Eve I feel I'll be doing just that when I attend the TEDxBirmingham VIP reception tonight. Then tomorrow I'm expecting my world to be rocked and my life to be changed.
I'm hoping to learn more about innovations in the field of medicine from speakers like Dr. Patrick Hymel, co-founder of MedSnap, and Larry Lawyal, founder of the medical research crowdfunding platform Healthfundit.
I'm hoping to learn more about the importance of eating locally from Jen Barnett of Freshfully and Chris Hastings, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and owner of Hot and Hot Fish Club.
As an educator I'm hoping to leave the conference with new ideas on how to incorporate TED talks in to my lesson plans but I'm also hoping to leave with more enthusiasm and passion for teaching in general. I expect talks by Victoria Hollis, program manager of the Birmingham Education Foundation, and Jan Mattingly of Dynamic Education Adventures will get me there. I'm also looking forward to the talk by TED-Ed Community Manager Jordan Reeves. Reeves currently lives in New York, but he grew up in Hueytown, Ala., and attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Michele Forman of UAB's Media Studies program is speaking too.
The UAB Digital Media team put together a wonderful video (posted above) about the Magic City to spark excitement for TEDxBirmingham. It sure did work. Every time I watch that video and listen to the poetry of Shariff Simmons I get chills.
I'm happy to say that two of my dear friends will be speaking too. Laura Kate Whitney is the small business ambassador for Dogtrot Studio and known around town as one of Birmingham's biggest fans. Glenny Brock of Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. is one of the people leading the restoration of Birmingham's Lyric Theatre, which was one of the first places in the South where blacks and whites could watch the same show as the same time for the same prices.
If you're now just as excited about TEDxBirmingham as I am, but feeling bummed out because you didn't apply to purchase a ticket, don't fret. The entire event will be streaming online. You can access the live video beginning 10 a.m. CST tomorrow by going to Livestream or the TEDxBirmingham website.