AT AGE three, Lili Viall is an avid iPad app user. She has 20-minute ”app time” sessions on her mother’s iPad, which she likes to think is hers.

She is ”hungry for it”, her mother, Justine Lange, 43, of Clovelly, says.

But Ms Lange emphasises app time is ”by no means a substitute for all the other games, physical games and other activities we do together”.

She is so concerned about the potential for inappropriate app use by toddlers that she is working up a one-minute presentation to audition for TED, the non-profit organisation and internet phenomenon that promotes people with ”ideas worth spreading” at exclusive summits and posts their talks online to an audience of millions.

The replacement of the mouse and keyboard with simple to use tap and swipe technology for iPads and tablet PCs meant ”my little girl, from as young as 18 months, is able to interact with technology”, Ms Lange said.

Having worked with online platforms in the media all her life, she recognised ”how vulnerable these children are, now that they are a new market”.

Ms Lange is backing her views in a start-up company, PaddleDuck Learning, developing interactive educational apps for toddlers with a group of artists, musicians and educators.

Not that Ms Lange will be promoting her wares at TED. Hawkers, jargon junkies, dullards and motivator wannabes need not apply, say the organisers. It is undiscovered prodigies, sages, sparks and storytellers they want.

In a break from its 26-year invitation-only policy for speakers, TED’s global search for new talent spans 14 cities from Europe and Africa to Japan and the Middle East between April and June, including Sydney in May.

The best performers will join the ranks of such luminous TED speaker alumni as Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, Isabel Allende and Philippe Starck. The most viewed is the British educator Sir Ken Robinson’s take on how schools kill creativity, with 9.6 million views.

Other Sydney applicants will include Darryl Nichols, whose Garage Sale Trail is galvanising communities around selling junk; Matt Noffs on the Street University for youth at risk; web entrepreneur Rebekah Campbell on a new model for helping small businesses thrive; Cathy Kezelman on treating child abuse and Janine Weir on lifting barriers to international adoption.

Successful first round applicants will be invited to speak at the audition event to be held at Carriageworks in May. Their talks will be posted online and put to a vote of TED’s global audience.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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