TED-Ed Brings the Edginess of TED to Learning

Since it began post­ing videos six years ago of its now-famous talks, TED has estab­lished itself and its “ideas worth spread­ing” as a forum for cut­ting-edge think­ing about every­thing under the sun. Pio­neers in social net­work­ing, neu­rol­o­gy, art—you name it, the pithi­est speak­ers of our day find an audi­ence at TED’s two annu­al con­fer­ences. But the real audi­ence is online. TED’s most e‑mailed talk so far fea­tured edu­ca­tor Sir Ken Robin­son, whose 2006 talk argued that schools kill cre­ativ­i­ty. The E in TED may not stand for edu­ca­tion (it stands for enter­tain­ment) but the New York-based non­prof­it is respond­ing to inter­est in edu­ca­tion­al top­ics.

This month saw the launch of TED-Ed, a dynam­ic new YouTube chan­nel that fea­tures the work of con­tent experts and pro­fes­sion­al ani­ma­tors in five-minute videos. Each TED-Ed video comes with sup­ple­men­tary quizzes, ques­tions, quizzes and activ­i­ties ide­al for home instruc­tion. (Click on “Quick Quiz,” “Think” or “Dig Deep­er” here for exam­ples.) In the spir­it of “flip” teach­ing, a method that revers­es home­work and instruc­tion time, videos on TED-Ed can be assigned for home review, free­ing up class­room time for dis­cus­sion, appli­ca­tion and projects. In a flipped class­room, stu­dents would view a video about sex deter­mi­na­tion, for exam­ple, and hear edu­ca­tor Aaron Reedy explain how gen­der chro­mo­somes vary from one species to anoth­er. The next day in class might fea­ture a dis­cus­sion about how glob­al warm­ing effects tem­per­a­ture-depen­dent sex deter­mi­na­tion. After watch­ing How Fold­ing Paper Can Get You to the Moon (above), which explores the prin­ci­ples revealed by  fold­ing one piece of paper, stu­dents and their teacher could dis­cuss expo­nen­tial growth pat­terns in micro­bi­ol­o­gy and eco­nom­ics. All of the quizzes and resources are editable, so teach­ers can cus­tomize their lessons and cre­ate their own instruc­tion­al archives using TED-Ed videos or any oth­er YouTube video. All in all, a lot more fun than film strips. And, to be sure, we’ll add TED Ed to our emerg­ing col­lec­tion of Free K‑12 Resources.

Kate Rix writes about k‑12 instruc­tion and high­er ed. 

Relat­ed Con­tent:

MIT & Khan Acad­e­my Team Up to Devel­op Sci­ence Videos for Kids. Includes The Physics of Uni­cy­cling

Har­vard and MIT Cre­ate EDX to Offer Free Online Cours­es World­wide

Every TED Talk in a Neat Spread­sheet

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