For those of you that know about Ted Talks, I probably don’t have to convince you that they are both amazing education tools and just plain fun and interesting to watch! For those of you that have never heard of TED or never watched a TED Talk, I hope I can convince you to have a look, because not only can you grow your own curiosity and knowledge base but also that of your students and colleagues. And for those of you who are not teachers, you can watch for the shear entertainment and educational value, even if you don’t share it with anyone.
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, started out as a conference in 1984 which brought together people from these three worlds to share idea’s. Not surprisingly, the motto for TED is “Idea’s Worth Spreading”.
TED Talks are short video’s, usually about 18 minutes long, in which a speaker talks and presents on a specific topic. The speakers are experts in their respective fields and the presentation is generally short, educational, and entertaining; and these three adjectives are really what make TED Talks so great. You don’t have to invest a lot of time and they are very entertaining and educational, perfect for a school setting, but also perfect for the average person who wants a quick bit of entertainment while they work out or wait for the bus. Also, there are currently over 1600 TED Talks available, so you can find a TED Talk on almost any subject. Some are very funny and light hearted, some are very somber and serious. Whatever your interests, there is a TED Talk for you. So instead of me just talking about TED Talks, why don’t I share some with you.
I will start with a TED talk that falls under the topic of education but is also related to the most recent EC&I 831 on-line class which featured guest speaker Sylvia Martinez. Sylvia talked to the class about the Maker Movement in education which she features in her book, Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. She is encouraging teachers to let their students simply build things out of junk and odds and ends. Let them be the creators and engineers. Let them learn through play. Technology is integrated using things like Makey Makey and Arduino and the end result can be unbelievable. I believe that this is very closely related to the first TED Talk I would like you to watch. The video features Dr. Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher, who discovered, through his “Hole in the Wall” experiments, that children can teach themselves, and each other, in the absence of formal teaching. He hooked up a computer in a slum area of urban India, protected by a wall, and simply let the neighborhood children experiment with absolutely no training on how to use a computer. Watch the video below to see what happens.
What an amazing story! And this is just one of many education related TED Talks. There are also subject specific TED Talks that a teacher may use. I am a math teacher and here is TED Talk I shared with one of my classes.
Here is a very interesting TED Talk that could be used in a biology class studying the environment.
Here is a TED Talk that made the rounds on social media that could be used in a language arts class studying poetry or maybe a social studies class studying social justice or bullying.
How about music class? Here is one of my personal favorites which features Bobby McFerrin. I love this one.
There are so many more that I could show you but I think that I have maybe shared too much on this post as it is. Even if you watched just one of these video’s I hope it was enough to get you to go and check out some more and maybe see if there are any that would fit into your subject area or specific topic you want to cover.
Please let me know what you thought of any of these TED Talks or maybe share your favorites with me. I would love to hear from you in the comments area below!