Tedx UVU session four

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Garret Stirland | Staff Writer


The final session of TEDx UVU, featured eight different speakers. Topics ranged from creative video game production to the importance of poetry in high school.

Dr. Suzy Cox, an associate professor in the School of Education at UVU, explained the importance of adolescents in our society.

“The average age of the onset of puberty is dropping dramatically, it is down to age 11 for both boys and girls. So this means that children are experiencing adolescence for almost 2 decades. It is truly a miracle that the boys survive,” said Cox.

Cox reminded the audience of challenges teenagers face.

“Your body and brain are experiencing a flood of hormones that wreak havoc on your looks and even more so, on your emotions,” said Cox.

The pressure modern teens experience at times can seem overwhelming. Teenagers are expected to take dozens of credit hours a semester, reason through conflicting emotions, bodily changes and participate in extracurricular activates. Cox also identifies two more pressures experienced by teens, which she labels “the twin devils,” which she claims dramatically impacts adolescent development.

“The first, the imaginary audience, is a strong belief that everyone is watching you and judging you at all times. The second is called the personal fable, which represents the belief that no one in the history of the entire world has ever lived the life your living, therefore no one understands you,” said Cox.

Due to the integration of communication and social media in our culture, teenagers are being watched and pressured from all directions. Cox said it is up to parents and older people to show how to use technology in the creative process, rather than solely for entertainment.

“[Technology’s] potential to enhance creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking is almost boundless,” said Cox. “Some of our greatest innovations have been discovered by individuals who were barely out of high school.”

Cox pointed out the importance of adult mentors who can demonstrate what technology is capable of, but claims that the true secret lies in the underdeveloped teenage brain.

“While we often think of it as a liability, causing teens to make poor decisions and forget to turn in their homework, this lack in development is in fact beautiful,” said Cox. “We are the ones to provide the opportunities and experiences adolescents need in order to flourish.”

High school teachers Jacob Rees and Kyle Nelson each performed slam poems, describing issues like the struggle for individuality, acceptance, and being noticed

Michael Savoie, the dean of the College of Technology & Computing invited the audience to envision a world of completely integrated technology. Savoie described a worldwide technological ecosystem that is data driven, which progresses by evolution and disruption. Savoie describes information systems as ecosystems similar to that which is found in nature. When a change occurs, or something is introduced to the environment, the ecosystem must learn to change and adapt to that disruption.

“We have to create an ecosystem in infrastructure and in ideas and in culture and in technology around the world that allows us to absorb and continue to develop both the evolutionary component of what we’re talking about, as well as the disruptive,” said Savoie.

He said the “mega connection” is coming.

Savoie explained that the future ecosystem for the world technologies is one where each technological device or data system is able to communicate one with another, where adaptation and adoption is integrated into the formation of a world-wide technological sphere.

Karen Ashton wrapped up the final session of TEDx UVU. Ashton began her speech with an entertaining story about her grandmother and a brawl with an ally cat that found its way into her yard.

“Stories are the way for us to know ourselves,” said Ashton.

She advocated the use of stories to stabilize home life for children and strengthen family connections. Stories allow children to relate to older generations.

“The central element of your own identity and value system is saved when you tell stories to your children and to your own families,” said Ashton “the more children know about their family’s history, the stronger the sense of their control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believe their families function.”