A lot of TEDx talks, I’ve noticed, have revolved around the changes in society most notably the education of the latest generation of students (tentatively dubbed “Gen M” for “Media”). These are kids who grew up with technology and their lives revolve around it. They use it, they multi-task with it, they understand it. But beyond that, the old paradigms of teaching them are failing because they’re not up to the task of educating this generation. One speaker makes the point that one of his students is a Rhodes Scholar that never reads books.
One paradigm that’s seeing a lot of revamp in recent years is the “teacher at the bottom of the well” concept, where you have a single instructor on stage at the bottom of an amphitheater imparting their wisdom to the masses above. This model just doesn’t cut it for Gen M.
In Thomas’ talk, he demonstrates how technology can help overcome these transitional issues. In it, he teaches dance to a class of what appears to be be virtual students. In fact, and this is the point that wasn’t too clear, all of these students were in the lobby of the Geva or back on campus at RIT’s Virtual Theater Project.
Thomas Warfield has performed in more than 100 cities around the world as a singer, dancer, actor, composer, choreographer, director, producer, educator, activist and poet. He is Assistant Professor in Cultural and Creative Studies at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at RIT and director of the RIT / NTID Dance Company. He is founder/artistic director of PeaceArt International which utilizes the arts and the creative process to foster world peace. Warfield serves on numerous the boards including ARTWalk, Rochester City Ballet, the Rochester Mayor’s Advisory Council on Arts, Culture and Entertainment, Dance Rochester (Advisory Board); and is the recipient of local, national and international awards including: National Dance Association, City of Rochester Unsung Heroes, and United Nations Association.