George Lucas Educational Foundation
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This week's announcement of a new initiative called TED-Ed caused a flurry of excitement about the new videos TED is creating to spread powerful lessons beyond the classroom walls. It's not just a new home for education-related TED videos; it's a call to action -- anyone can nominate an outstanding teacher or suggest a fantastic lesson, and the TED team will work with the educators chosen to record and then animate those lessons. You can already see the first few of these gems on the TED-Ed YouTube Channel.

Though it can sometimes feel challenging to find twenty minutes to sit still in our multi-tasking lives, the videos below are worth it.

Video Playlist: TED Talks for Teachers

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. Introducing TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing (02:12)
  2. Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution (20:57)
  3. Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers (19:19)
  4. Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together (16:19)
  5. Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education (20:27)
  6. Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover (15:48)
  7. Dave Eggers: 2008 TED Prize wish: Once Upon a School (24:30)
  8. Ann Cooper: Reinventing the school lunch (19:43)
  9. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (18:37)
  10. Clifford Stoll: 18 minutes with an agile mind (17:51)
  11. Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change (16:44)
  12. John Hunter on the World Peace Game (20:28)

More Resources for Teaching with TED

You can find many articles with lists of great TED Talks for learning, for teaching, and for just plain compelling viewing. Larry Ferlazzo (@LarryFerlazzo) has compiled a comprehensive list of educator resources for using TED Talks. History teacher Jeff Mummert (@jsmummert) has written a great blog post called "TED Talks Demystified for Teachers". Another resource is this amazing Wiki with lesson ideas paired with great TED Talks, started by Jackie Gerstein (@JackieGerstein). And on this Google Doc of all TED Talks organized by release date (author unclear), you can see them all.

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Sue J's picture

Salman Khan keeps getting all kinds of lauded, but ... what is good pedagogy? Do his videos have it?
Call me crazy, but when somebody says in his times tables lesson that 2 plus itself times one is two, and that's what "2 x 1 = 2" means, and points to a multiplication problem and calls it a sum... excuse me, I have issues with calling that "world class" education.
THat's before we talk about that lofty idea of teaching more concepts and focusing less on procedures -- which he absolutely does not do.
Hey, MIT grads making little videos for their kin is a good thing. Calling that a world class education for the masses is revolting -- and not in the revolutionary sense.

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

We appreciate your feedback, @Sue J!

You're definitely not alone in raising questions about the Khan Academy. The thing that I find fascinating about his ideas is not so much the content, but the opportunity that it provides for changing the model of delivery of instruction, what people have been calling "flipped" classrooms.

Many are excited about the possibility that having lectures in easily accessible video form could free up valuable classroom time for more hands-on learning. And students taking in content at home, via video, have a unique chance to interact with it in ways they cannot in school -- rewinding, responding, and pausing to seek more information from other sources.

For more information about the "flipped classroom" model, check out our blog Should You Flip Your Classroom? by Ramsey Musallam.

Virginia Pratt's picture
Virginia Pratt
Lead Teacher for Gifted/Talented @ Red Cedar Elementary in Bluffton, SC

I find the TED Talks thought-provoking, enlightening, and inspiring. I agree with Sue J, though... You have to look at each one and determine the accuracy/efficacy of the speakers. Having it on TED does not necessarily make it "so"-- or best practice. We would want our students to be critical viewers; we should be as well.

mzeigler's picture
English teacher, Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS, Bamberg, SC

A while back, one of my classes had been talking about how community/parental involvement can change/improve schools and learning. I decided to have them watch Dave Eggers video from 2008 to give them an example of how one group of people can start something and have it spread to others with such powerfully positive impact. They found him and the TED video powerful and engaging. It led to insightful written responses and lots of sighs of envy from my rural, small school students. Vetting the videos, as with anything else, I use in my classroom is a must. The access to TED videos also allows me to find material that while not specifically aimed at English instruction may be used as a platform for that class.

mzeigler's picture
English teacher, Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS, Bamberg, SC

While the idea has appeal, it would be difficult to implement fairly in a school such as mine. Some of my students don't even have computers in their homes or access to computer anywhere except schools. In some classes as many as half of the students don't have home internet. This creates an impediment for any assignments requiring that kind of access or even use of online textbooks.

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