All posts by sokuntheachhabra

Learning through play: It’s not just fun and games

8514777244_be0c519766_zPeruse through the TEDActive 2013 photos and you will see many images of adults playing games and having fun with the experiences that were set up around the campus. Look a little closer and you’ll see they weren’t just playing games – they were connecting with each other, exercising their creativity, problem-solving … they were learning!

We brought in several experts to develop experiential stations and activities at the conference to facilitate creativity and connection through playfulness. Here are three of the experts we invited to create unique experiences for our members to explore.

charlotte-fixlerThinkFun, an innovative developer of educational games and toys, brought the fun to TEDActive in a big way. They set up several giant play stations all around the conference, including JengaTic Tac Toe, a Cardboard Mini Golf course, Rush Hour – blowing up these games that are usually played on a table to larger than life size proportions. Check out this Facebook album for more photos from ThinkFun at TEDActive.

austin-youngFallen Fruit is a team of artists – David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young – who make art using fruit as a common denominator to relay social messages. For instance, bananas are available all over the world. They say everyone is an expert on the banana; each person has an intimate knowledge of what bananas taste and feel to them. In addition to a fantastic TEDYou talk delivered by David and Austin, they brought a truck of bananas with them for a series of imaginative and fun experiences – from a Banana Hotline, to kazoo Banana Sound Circle, to a banana eating contest!

grace-hawthornePaper Punk is a paper-based building toy, fondly described as a Lego and origami mashup – that is as much a toy as a creativity tool. Founder and artist Grace Hawthorne developed the PaperPunk-a-thon station, with all the creative tools needed for members to create their own colorful structures, then combining them on a huge wall to create a combined paper sculpture.

Check out these TED Talks on how games and play influence learning:

Question of the Day: What would you do if robots took your job?

mcafeeThere have been several sessions at this year’s TED conference that have us pondering about the future of work in the face of technological advancements. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee use the term “the new machine age,” where many jobs humans currently have will be replaced by technology, machines and robots.


Instead of fearing this future, they and speaker Adam Spencer share messages of embracing it. In their own ways, they all say that the technological advancements will allow us to be more creative, focus on ideas and problem solving.


This poses an interesting thought. If you could give your job to a robot, what would you do with your time? Let us know in comments below. Here is what some of TEDActive members would do.

Meet 3: People you may run into, literally

TEDActive Runners
Pictured From left to right: Alfredo Junior, Mohammed Abu Zeinab, Allyson Burns

The TEDActive experience is meant to stimulate all of your senses – body, mind and soul. While the talks, fun experiential spaces, bonding events and late night parties may feed your mind and soul, there are also plenty of opportunities for attendees to nurture their bodies with group health & wellness activities, including morning yoga, bike rides, hikes and runs. Meet three early birds who woke up for this morning’s run.


Activator Role: TINKOpp, TEDx Organizer, “StudEntrepreneur”, “BusAthlete”, Thai Boxer, Martial Artist

From: Doha, Qatar/Phoenix, AZ USA

Why do you run?

I’m about messages that empower your soul over your ego. Your ego is all about the physical – everything tangible, everything that has an end about you. When you wake up and start saying, no I can’t get up, that’s your ego. But your soul knows you need it, you need that run, you need that energy.

What are you most curious about?

I’m all about finding a way to unite people’s understanding of consciousness. If we are more global in the sense of becoming more conscious, then we’re in a better world. We were in the industrial era, then the technology era, then the data era, now we are in the spiritual era. Once we understand that there’s something divine in us, and we’re attached to something that’s physical and not divine … the more we can connect to that, the more we are closer to our souls. People who are more limitless in their energies are more clear to that. My truth is in finding a way to unite people on that discovery of consciousness.

What are you currently listening to?

Ed Shearing: You need me, I don’t need you.

Watch Mohammed’s TEDx Talk


Activator role: VP Communication, The Case Foundation
From: Washington, DC USA

Why do you run?

The long story: I was never athletic when I was growing up. When I was turning 30, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to do something I never thought I could do, so I decided to run a half-marathon. Considering I couldn’t even run the mile in P.E. as a kid in school, it was daunting. I started training, and that was my first of five half marathons. I’ve also done a couple of 10-mile races. I have found that running is a huge relief. I can use that time to  work out a problem in my head, to make my to-do list, to just listen to music and not think about anything, or to go running with a friend. And, it’s a challenge. It’s always still a challenge.

What problem were you working out in your head during today’s run?

I’m really curious about this idea of impact. How do you measure social impact and driving social change? How do you measure if you’re really making a difference on the ground… and is that really necessary? Sometimes I worry that we’re going to go from a world where measurement is too soft to where measurement is too scientific, and it’s not necessarily thinking about the fact that we’re dealing with people and human problems, so it’s hard to always put a number on those things. I’m really excited to learn more about the Impact Project with The Robinhood Foundation and find out how we can apply some of that to the work we’re doing at The Case Foundation.

Quick, what’s something interesting people may not know about you?

Well, according to my UP band, I walked/ran just under 23,000 steps yesterday.

What are you currently listening to?

Ho Hey by Lumineers


Activator role: Founder, The HUB Recife, TEDx Organizer

From: Recife, Brazil

Why do you run?

Mostly because I don’t like the gym, and it’s a way to exercise in the open air!

What is something undiscovered about your work?

At The HUB, we consider ourselves social innovators. We think innovation is the imperfect execution of the unknown. What we’re doing, no one else has done. We’re trying to change the way people work, people live, and people learn.

What’s your favorite thing about TEDActive?

The opportunity to meet and connect with people from different areas, multiple professions, common values and purposes, all together at the same space that is the starting engine to impulse these change makers all over the globe!

What are you currently listening to? 
Sambo’s Samba version of Sunday Bloody Sunday