Keren Elazari: Hackers – The Internet’s Immune System

‘For the past three decades, hackers have done a lot of things, but they have also impacted civil liberties, innovation and Internet freedom, so I think it’s time we take a good look at how we choose to portray them, because if we keep expecting them to be the bad guys, how can they be the heroes too?’

Level Goals Themes
Upper-intermediate Cleft sentences Hacking & Hacktivism
Advanced Technology vocabulary The Internet
Technology

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Chris Kluwe: How augmented reality will change sports and build empathy

‘I believe we can use augmented reality as a way to foster more empathy within the human species itself, by literally showing someone what it looks like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.’

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Future time clauses Technology & Ethics
Upper-intermediate Technology & business vocab Sports & business
Advanced Equality & empathy

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Patricia Ryan: Don’t insist on English

“If you can’t think a thought, you are stuck. But if another language can think that thought, then, by cooperating, we can achieve and learn so much more.”

Level Goals Themes
Upper-intermediate The Second Conditional The English language
Advanced Vocabulary Globalization & Cultural Loss
Proficiency Discussion Education

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Jennifer Golbeck: The curly fry conundrum – Why social media “likes” say more than you might think

“It’s sometimes said of Facebook that the users aren’t the customer, they’re the product. And so how do you get a company to cede control of their main asset back to the users? It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s something that we’re going to see change quickly.” 

Level Goals Themes
Upper-intermediate More discourse markers Data & Privacy
Advanced Vocabulary Monetizing the Internet

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Derek Sivers: Weird or just different? (Teens)

“There’s a flip side to everything,” the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.

Through his new project, MuckWork, Derek Sivers wants to lessen the burdens (and boredom) of creative people.

Level Goals Themes
Pre-intermediate (high) Modals of speculation Cultural difference
Intermediate Modals of deduction Innovation and inspiration
Teens Discussion Creativity

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Alisa Miller and Kirk Citron: Does the way we think about news and media need to change?

“My point is this: In the long run, some news stories are more important than others.” 

“The real question: is this distorted worldview what we want for Americans in our increasingly interconnected world? I know we can do better. And can we afford not to? Thank you.”

Level Goals Themes
 Intermediate News & Journalism vocabulary  News and media
 Upper-intermediate Idioms  Journalism
 Advanced Discussion & debate

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Peter Saul: Let’s talk about dying

This is a quote from Dame Cicely Saunders, whom I met when I was a medical student. She founded the hospice movement. And she said, “You matter because you are, and you matter to the last moment of your life.” And I firmly believe that that’s the message that we have to carry forward.

Level Goals Themes
 Intermediate  Present Perfect Revision  Death and dying
 Upper-intermediate  Contrasting Clauses  Euthanasia
 Advanced  Ethics

Andras Forgacs: Leather and meat without killing animals

“We can design new materials, new products, and new facilities. We need to move past just killing animals as a resource to something more civilized and evolved. Perhaps we are ready for something literally and figuratively more cultured.”

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Could revision Vegetarianism
Upper-intermediate Vocab Food industry

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Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright

“So, if you’re in the audience today, or maybe you’re watching this talk in some other time or place, you are a participant in the digital rights ecosystem. Whether you’re an artist, a technologist, a lawyer or a fan, the handling of copyright directly impacts your life.” 

Level Goals Themes
Intermediate Reading skills Copyright
Upper-intermediate Critical analysis Ethics
Persuasive language Online business

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Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

“It seems to me patently obvious that we can no more respect and tolerate vast differences in notions of human well-being than we can respect or tolerate vast differences in the notions about how disease spreads, or in the safety standards of buildings and airplanes.”

Level Goals Themes
Advanced Mixed conditionals Morals and ethics
Proficiency Modal verbs of obligation Cultural difference
Fluent Academic debate Religion and philosophy

NB: Possibly controversial talk depending on the nature of your class.

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