Sydney Opera House
21 May 2015
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Tagged: TED & TEDx
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ne of the most exciting changes at TED in the past few years has been the growing audience for TED talks from some of the world's best educators. The talk by education reformer Sir Ken Robinson has been seen on all platforms more than 11 million times, and is still being viewed by more than 10,000 people every day. The talk given by TEDxSydney 2011 music educator Richard Gill has been viewed more than 10,000 times in less than a year and is viewed another 1,000 times each month on average.

But most TED and TEDx talks are aimed at adults. Although many of them are being used in classrooms, at an average 18 minutes duration, they're too long for normal classes.

Says TED curator Chris Anderson, "So the question we've been asking with increasing urgency the past couple years is: could we do something similar to TED Talks that would work better in schools? Something that would give teachers a useful new tool. ...Could we create a platform that would allow teachers to share their best lesson to a much wider audience? "

So began the TED-Ed initiative, launching this week.

TED hired Logan Smalley, a TED Fellow with a proven passion for teaching and technology, and started listening to educators and members of the TED community, figuring out what TED should offer educators. Some of those learnings were:

  • Video has a powerful role to play in education.
  • Video allows teachers to show things that would be hard to show live in every class.
  • Video has a replay button and can allow kids to learn at their own pace.
  • The best length for an in-class video is under 10 minutes.
  • The best videos often use animation or other visualizations to deliver better explanations and more compelling narratives.
  • The deepest desire of many teachers is not to prepare their students for an annual standardized test, but to inspire them to become life-long learners.

This week's launch of TED-Ed includes video collections along themes including "Inventions that Shaped History." "Questions No One Knows the Answer to." and "Playing with Words."

But this is just the beginning — TED-Ed is making an open invitation to teachers across the world to help improve the effectiveness of video lessons. TED-Ed wishes to assist teachers in creating hundreds more. Get involved at education.ted.com