I’ve just returned from the 2011 TED Conference, every year I expect it to be the most mind blowing week of my life and this conference did not disappoint.

My friends Maria, Christopher and Mary Anne, the Professors of Eastwick

The heart of the conference, of course, are the amazing TED talks.  Standouts for me included Eric Whitacre’s story of his YouTube virtual choir Lux Aurumque video, and Jack Horner who described the work he and his colleagues are doing to genetically modify chickens to tease out their dinosaur ancestry.

Best of all were the education talks, a couple of these hit it out of the park.  Salman Khan showed his wonderful YouTube math tutorials that he has developed into Kahn Academy, and fourth grade teacher John Hunter described the workings of his World Peace game, perhaps the most impressive piece of teaching I have ever seen.  Check out these links… just astonishing.

This was an incredible year for ThinkFun too!  Our games were featured in the attendee gift bags, ThinkFun games were featured in the TED bookstore, and at TED Active in Palm Springs, Charlotte Fixler attended and ran the Late Night Game Room activity, where all the TEDster night owls played ThinkFun games and socialized.

My personal highlight TED moment came on the elevator early Wednesday morning.  One of the TED U talks focused on how to build sand sculptures, and the presenter had invited all interested parties to convene at the beach for a hands-on workshop, I was all in for this!  Halfway down to the lobby, the elevator door opened and Al Gore walked in.  “Hi Al”, I said, “Are you going to be building sand castles this morning?”

I first came to TED in 1995, when I came home I locked myself in a room for three days to process and relive the experience.  Surprisingly, this year I met several folks who started the same year I did along with others who were very curious about what TED was like in those ancient times.   After the 95 conference I wrote an account of that transcendental TED experience, which I have exhumed and added it as a blog post for your reading pleasure.

Love you TED Team and all my TED Friends!

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