technology integration

Reasons I Like TED Talks

I think, like most educators, I entered the teaching profession because I love learning and want to inspire that love of learning in students.  In the frenetic pace of daily life it is easy to get caught up in our “to do” lists and learning something new isn’t always at the top of the list.  TED Talks provide an oasis for learning that is manageable, but more so inspiring, making the time spent, time well spent.

If you aren’t familiar with TED Talks:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Here is an example, Clint Smith: The danger of silence (4:18)

In list form, here are 5 Reasons I Like TED Talks:

  • The TED Talk motto is “ideas worth spreading.”
    How cool is that?  The TED Talk mission is to, “make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.”   TED Talks provide a food for thought resource, a place where you can hear a different perspective, challenge your thinking, and/or learn something new!
  • Talks are short.
    Most talks are under 20 minutes, with many falling under 10 minutes.  Who doesn’t have 10-20 minutes to spare every once in a while?
  • TED-Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing
    TED Talks have enormous potential for teaching and learning – introduction to a unit or lesson, information for research, or possibly a model for a student project!  One of TED’s initiatives is TED-Ed, lessons worth sharing.  There are two types of TED-Ed lessons: those created by educators in collaboration with screenwriters and animators to create a lesson, and those created by anyone who visits TED-Ed in which a YouTube video is supplemented with questions, discussion topics and other materials.  Check out their library of lessons.
  • Real World Connection
    As a classroom teacher, my goal was often to connect what we were doing in the classroom with the world beyond the classroom walls.  With speakers from around the world on countless topics, TED Talks are a great way to connect student learning to what is happening in the world!
  • Universal Design
    Click on any Ted Talk and you can immediately begin watching the video, but if you look to the lower-right of the bar beneath the video, you will see Subtitle and Transcript options.  This allows for the selection of subtitles in numerous languages, while the transcription is interactive in that text is underlined as it is spoken in the video.  Transcripts can also be translated to numerous languages.  These options make the videos widely accessible!