There's a new article of mine online at the Harvard Education Letter you might want to check out, about "TED-ifying" school. Basically, it describes how TED Talks, once limited to individual classroom use, have spread to libraries, schoolwide events, and even (in at least one case) whole-district endeavors.
I didn't come across any Chicago examples, but a handful of schools are putting on full-fledged TEDx events. Many more are participating in TEDxYouth events, which are more kid-focused. A larger group still are taking some or all of the TED Talks format and using them for end-of-semester exhibition or culminating activity assignments, and finding that kids respond to the TED brand and the notion of doing something like innovators and experts in the real world also do. TED Talks is also promoting various school-focused clubs and activities for teachers and students.
Do you or your school use any TED Talks elements, and if so what's the experience been? The talks themselves can be light, and have definitely been overhyped online and in the media. That's Bill Gates, giving a TED Talk. He also sponsored an ed-related TED Talks TV broadcast that received mixed reviews. But perhaps the process and format can be useful, too.