Did I make it?

Yes, I think I did! I just completed my first TED Talk and I believe my TED Talk went pretty well since I got some positive feedback from some of my peers afterwards. Not bad for a presentation to an audience with critical minds.  As a person who seldom speaks in front of a crowd, what a heavy load off my mind!

I enjoyed mathematics since a young age and have chosen ‘Math & Sports’ as my TED topic to share my passion in mathematics.  In my TED Talk, my aim was to show how mathematics, a subject often seen as abstract and far removed from real life, can be used to analyse the performance of sports players. The topic I chose allowed me to explore the factors which affect performance in my favourite individual sport, tennis. In order to illustrate my arguments, I used the 2009 Wimbledon men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick as an example. It is interesting to try to show the audience that you can apply mathematics anytime, anywhere, especially in the world of sports.

My experience of preparing the TED Talk along with the rest of my team showed me the importance of collaboration.  We are more than the sum of our parts.  We bounced ideas off each other and divided the necessary tasks into manageable chunks between us.  Whilst I looked at tennis, my teammates examined other sports such as basketball and baseball.  We all focused on the areas which we knew most about and the division of labour allowed the range of different skills in our team to be used most effectively.  Whenever we encountered difficulties, working as a group helped us to arrive at a solution much more quickly than if we tried to figure it out on our own. It is always impossible to come to a solution that would answer all the problems.  Yet through close liaison, frequent exchange of ideas and discussions, we were able to reach the best possible solution that we could think of.  It is lucky for me to be a member of such a wonderful team.

The talks by my peers were generally very good as well. I found many of them rather thought-provoking.  The talks I found particularly interesting were the one discussing the advantages and disadvantages of driverless cars and the one looking at whether young children should be learning to code. The former gave us a glimpse of the future and forced us to consider some pertinent ethical questions.  The latter raised questions of whether the early education is fit for purpose in a rapidly changing society which is increasingly being dominated by digital technology.  Interesting to note that all are again related to numbers, the basic block of mathematics!

The TED Talks facilitated the exchange of a diverse range of ideas and were a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my horizons. I also learnt a lot more about effective ways to engage an audience and how to collaborate with peers. The lessons I picked up should allow me to improve any future presentations I make.  Let us all keep going!

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