2014: TEDxHonoluluED

TEDxHonoluluED Logo White Background

“Innovation in Education”

April 12, 2014, ‘Iolani School Sullivan Center for Innovation & Leadership, Honolulu, HI

Innovation fuels excellence in education. From the smallest local changes to full-fledged global movements, innovations in education have the power to transform society. The TEDxHonoluluED 2014 event brought together cutting-edge leaders and thinkers to share their vision for the future of education in Hawai‘i, presenting new ways we can better prepare our youth with the skills they’ll need to tackle the most pressing issues of the 21st century.




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Dr. Jeff Kuhn

“Existential Education, Cosmic Intelligence, and Colossus Project” 

Researcher and Professor; Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai‘i

Dr. Jeff Kuhn got his PhD in physics from Princeton University in 1981, but he researches many branches of astrophysics ranging from theories of gravity to studies of the Sun. He joined the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) 13 years ago at the Institute for Astronomy on Maui, where he built a world-leading research facility aimed at unravelling the mysteries of the Sun. His research is recorded in more than 200 publications and books and he leads or co-leads several efforts to build novel astronomical telescopes and instruments. The most important will be the world’s largest solar telescope, the Daniel K. Innoue Telescope now being built on Haleakalā. He co-led an important and effective undergraduate workforce development program on Maui (called “The Akamai Workforce Initiative”) and he continues to explore active learning techniques in the astrophysics graduate courses he’s developed over the last two decades. Dr Kuhn is the recipient of more than two dozen research grants, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and a Senior Humboldt Prize from Germany. He lives in Upcountry Maui, near the road to the summit of Haleakalā.

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Dr. Thomas Jackson

“Philosophy, Children, and the Ageless Power of Wonder”

Professor; University of Hawai‘i

Thomas E. Jackson (Dr. J) earned his doctorate in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i in 1979. In 1980 he became a co-founder of the Hawai‘i International Film Festival. In 1984 he trained in “Philosophy for Children” (P4C) at Montclair State University in New Jersey with other scholars from around the world. There he learned from P4C’s creator Matthew Lipman an inspiring approach to working with children, a provocative new way of thinking about philosophy, and an exciting development in education. Since 1984 he has been passionately committed to the development of P4C in Hawai‘i (p4cHI) and around the world. He is currently serving as Executive Director of the newly established Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education, located in the College of Arts & Humanities, UH Mānoa, whose purpose is preparing, supporting and sustaining educators, researchers and students who engage or are interested in engaging in p4cHI worldwide. (www.p4chawaii.org)

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“Fight to Survive: Life, Earth and Beyond”

Honolulu District Complex Area Superintendent

Ruth Silberstein has served in the field of education for twenty years in private schools and twenty seven years in public schools in the State of Hawai‘i. Her experiences as a teacher in grades to 2 to 12, as an elementary vice-principal, principal, and complex area superintendent have broadened her perspectives of education and the complexity of the educational forces at work on the state, national and international levels. As a principal, her school transformed from the restructuring status to a school of good standing, unconditional. In order to keep the momentum of growth ongoing while addressing global problems, the school then created its STEM process/program. It is here that the students began to drive the curriculum.

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Dr. Angel Yanagihara

“Outside the Box”

Biochemist, Assistant Research Professor, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i

Born in Anchorage, Alaska, where her father, a career officer in the Strategic Air Command was stationed, Dr. Angel (ne’e Smith) Yanagihara spent a good deal of time in, on, or near the water as a child, even wishing to become a fish. From a very young age, she was intrigued by marine life and began descriptive “studies”– drawing, counting and observing various marine animals in Alaska, New Jersey, Cape Cod, Alabama and Virginia along the Potomac River. She graduated with honors in both biology and chemistry from the University of Virginia. Later, her graduate studies in biochemistry at Georgetown University were interrupted by the birth of three children. Upon moving to Hawai‘i in 1995, she completed her doctoral degree at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 1997. An early-morning mile swim and an unexpected but unforgettable encounter with a swarm of box jellyfish, which left her bed-ridden from painful stings, redirected her research trajectory and focus to unravel the mysteries of the venom and to develop an effective treatment.

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Matt Levi

“Martial Arts for Juvenile Offenders”

Instructor, Lawakua Kajukenbo Club

Matt Levi is a graduate of University High School in Honolulu. He spent nearly twenty years in television news in Hawai‘i and another 20 years as a private detective. For the past 40 years, Matt has been a martial artist, working primarily with at-risk youth. For the past 10 years, he has taught martial arts to teenagers in Juvenile Drug Court on O‘ahu.

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TEDxHonoluluED 2014 Organizing Volunteers:

Genesis Leong License Holder and Lead Curator

Ayami Hatanaka Student Co-Organizer

Allison Blankenship Lead Faculty Advisor

Dr. Debbie Millikan Faculty Advisor

Mr. Kyle Miyamoto AV, Editing

Mr. Cyrus Won AV

Mr. Ricky Okazaki AV

Mr. Josh Reppun Faculty Advisor

Victoria Sprowls Social Media

Olivia Knock Graphics

Kaz Tomozawa Speaker Curator

Kamerin Fong Speaker Curator

Drey TenganVideo Curator

Emmett CovelloVideo Curator

Mr. Casey Agena Mentor

Tamara Ohta Mentor

Adam Pating Mentor

Joe Cardiello Speaker Trainer