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Posts tagged ‘ted talks’

7 alternatives to Ted Talk goodness

We all love Ted Talks. You get in. You get out. You walk away smarter. And almost always with smile on your face cause . . . well, they’re just so darn optimistic.

Added bonus? The huge database of Ted Talks give you access to some excellent resources as part of your instructional design. A quick search highlights a wide range of talks on teaching and education. And a list of history related talks. (Use the filter option to narrow down choices in a huge range of other topics as well.)

If you need some sweet ideas about how to use Ted Talks in your class, browse over to this helpful post by Jennifer of the seriously awesome #worldgeochat site. And don’t get me started on the power of TedEd – the Ted Talks tool designed specifically for educators. Start with this list of social studies related TedEd lessons if you need a jumping off point.

But what if, and I’m just saying what if, Ted Talks doesn’t have what you’re looking for? Are there other options out there? Yes. Yes, there are. Start with these seven: Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 TED Talks Every Teacher Should See

I love TED talks. They’re like the perfect educational appetizer. All of them are quick and easy to digest, they look great, and they make you hungry to learn more.

The problem?

There are just so darn many of them. And it’s too easy getting sucked into the TED talk black hole where you end up watching for hours. But you only have 20 minutes. Which one do you watch?

So in no particular order, and for no particular reason other than these are a few of my favorites, here are five TED talks that every teacher should see:

Read more

TED-Ed: Cool videos and cool tools

I’ve talked about TED before. Very simply TED is a group of people listening to other people talk about technology, entertainment, and design topics in 18 minute chunks. Of course, the people they are listening to are smart and funny and, in many case, are changing the world.

The cool thing is that the TED people also record these 18 minute chunks and have been putting them online for the rest of us to watch. And there are some truly amazing videos that can be used as part of our instruction. The problem is that you have to do some digging and planning to find what works best for your class.

TED just got better. On Wednesday TED launched something called TED-Ed. TED-Ed is designed to provide teachers a way to quickly and easily turn TED talks and any YouTube video into an online lesson. With multiple choice questions, short answers, additional resources, and directions for next steps by students.

Time out. Did you just say I can take any TED talk or any YouTube video and create an online lesson?

Yes. That’s exactly what I am saying. You can take any TED talk or any YouTube video and create an online lesson. Get an idea of what the final project looks like by looking at a quick lesson I created about the 20th Maine at Gettysburg.

Here’s how it works: Create a free TED account if you haven’t already. Browse the videos that TED has put online at TED-Ed for you to use. Find something you can use? Click the “Flip This Lesson” button.

You can then edit the already created questions and resources associated with that video.

Can’t find anything in your content area that interests you? Click the YouTube button that lives at the top of the page.

Search by keyword as if you’re at YouTube. When you find a video you want to use as a lesson, select the video, and hit the “Flip this Video” button.

TED Ed’s lesson editor makes it easy to add a brief description, questions, additional resources, and closing thoughts to the video. (The cool thing is that TED has posted almost 1200 video clips online at YouTube so even if the video you’re looking for is not yet on TED-Ed, you can find it on YouTube.)

Preview your lesson and if you like it, go ahead and publish. It’s then just a simple matter of sharing the link out with your students via email or social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Free and easy. Two of my favorite things.

Have fun!

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TED Talks for Social Studies Teachers

I love TED talks. They’re like the perfect educational appetizer. All of them are quick and easy to digest, they look great and they make you hungry to learn more.

I’ve posted about TED talks before. I’ve embedded actual TED talks into posts. But I’ve never made time to really put together a nice collection of TED videos that focus on social studies.

But Angela has.

Angela has a sweet blog over at changED that you need to spend some browsing through. And a couple, three weeks ago she posted an equally sweet GoogleDoc that highlights almost 30 TED talks that social studies teachers should view and use with students. You can also find a handy Pinterest board from the HistoryLab people with even more links.

Use the list to grow professionally. Show the videos to your kids. Or do what they did over at the TEDxClassroomProject.

What happens when 80 10th grade students watch, analyze and reflect upon 640+ TED Talks in pursuit of the answer to the question, “What Matters (To Us)”?

The TEDxClassroomProject happens. A very cool way to hook kids into viewing and thinking about a wide range of topics while encouraging them to create some of their own.

I’m thinking semester-end student-created TED talks instead of a final. Group TED talks that take opposing views of similar topics. Seems to me that you could do all sorts of things with the TED talk theme.

Make your classroom a “Liquid Network”

Where do good ideas come from?

In a recent TED talk, it’s the question that Steven Johnson is asking. (Johnson is the author of Everything Bad is Good for You, The Ghost Map, Mind Wide Open and Emergence.) And it’s one we should be asking as well.

Schools often claim that they want to create “life long learners” and “problem solvers.” We want kids to develop idea creation skills but we often don’t create an environment where this can happen.

Many of us are pushing for and using the idea of Problem-Based Learning in our classrooms, asking good essential questions and providing authentic problems. But . . . Steven Johnson suggests that perhaps we need to do more. How do we set up the actual physical learning environment where we want kids to learn? Is that environment conducive for creating new ideas? I don’t think we do enough.

During his TED presentation, Johnson says that

good ideas do not happen when you’re alone in the lab or by yourself poring over data. Good ideas happen when people work together.

He asks his audience to think about what that looks like and mentions Google’s 20% rule (the rule that encourages Google employees tospend 20% of their developing new ideas). But Johnson spends a lot of time discussing the coffeehouse environment that sprung in North America and Europe during the 1700s & 1800s. This, he suggests, is where new ideas develop – in a place where people gather and discuss, argue and share information. Johnson calls this the “liquid network.” A book called The Invention of Air suggests the same thing.

Have we altered our physical classroom environments enough so that kids are encouraged to create new ideas? I don’t think so.

So . . . what does it look like? Some suggestions from Johnson and others:

  • Get people with hunches to talk to other people with hunches, i.e. have kids work in groups, both formal and informal, as much as possible
  • Encourage mistakes
  • Arrange the physical environment differently – use tables not desks, arrange your room so that kids can quickly get together for brainstorming sessions, have other forms of comfortable seating available
  • Spaces and tools for brainstorming, collecting and storing data – this could be whiteboards, blank bulletin boards, iPods or computers with Google Docs loaded
  • Put your desk in a corner out of the way – you won’t be there much during the day anyway
  • And in a perfect world (with perfect kids!), the K-12 equivalent of Johnson’s coffeehouse – snacks & drinks to encourage conversation

The last one may be difficult! But the idea remains the same . . . we need to rethink the physical spaces where our kids spend their time if we want to them to be creative.

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