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February 20, 2013 / NextStepU

Why Educators and Students Should Meet “TED”

“Ted” isn’t just a movie with a talking bear and Mark Wahlberg, it’s also a fabulous educational nonprofit ( now offering its very own Ted-Ed YouTube channel, specializing in educational videos for a younger audience. Parents and students alike can benefit from the vast resources of, and should start looking into TED-Ed.

TED began in 1984 as a conference dedicated to Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  Since then it has expanded to a wide variety of events and media all dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading.”  On its website, TED features over 1000 talks from the world’s leading researchers, philosophers, artists, engineers, musicians, and more. If you’re not familiar with TED, you can check out some of my favorite lectures on this Learnist board featuring 9 Ted Talks That Stretched Tim O’Reilly’s Mind. Tim O’Reilly is the founder of O’Reilly Media and he shares his favorite TED Talks with notes about why each one had an impact.

But recently, TED launched an exciting new component, TED-Ed videos on YouTube.  Unlike the regular talks on, TED-Ed videos are shorter and designed as a classroom resource, animated lectures designed to spark children and young people’s curiosity and love of learning.

Unlike many other educational videos, such as those of the Khan Academy, TED videos are not intended to replace curricula.  Rather, the goal is to supplement classroom content with animated videos showcasing lessons from the best educators.  In our digital media-filled world, this type of engagement can be critical for capturing students’ attention and imagination.

Currently TED-ED features a dozen talks that fall into five categories: awesome nature, how things work, playing with language, questions no one (yet) knows the answers to, and inventions that shaped history. TED has partnered with YouTube for this endeavor.  In addition to providing financial assistance for video production, YouTube is also launching a special YouTube Schools website.  YouTube Schools will ensure that all content is appropriate for all age levels, and will have minimal advertising intrusion.

By the end of the first year, there will be 300 TED-ED videos available.  The content will be as varied as the TED talks, and anyone can nominate educators to have their lessons turned into animated features.  On the Ted-Ed website, launching in April, educators will also be able to pair with animators to create their own enhanced educational videos. In the meantime, check out the The Best of TED Talks for Teachers on Learnist to see some of the most inspiring minds in education discuss everything from the font of creativity in the brain to game-based learning.

From Learnist: organizing all of the wisdom of mankind in text, images, video and audio, curated by fellow humans. Follow on Twitter and Facebook to discover the future of learning. 


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