Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have You Friended TED?

If you haven’t met TED, TED is waiting to inspire you and your students! TED is a non-profit organization first created to spread ideas about Technology, Entertainment and Design; however, since it’s inception in 1984, TED has expanded to spreading ideas online about so much more through TED Talks. Our technology has made TED Talks easily accessible anytime, anywhere on the web.  TED Talks feature short presentations of leading experts in all fields of study. From celebrities, scientists, writers, to directors, magicians, heads of state, and Noble Prize winners, TED Talks are profoundly moving and thought provoking. TED presenters promise to keep you and your students engaged because presentations are no longer than 20 minutes long! No snoozing or mind wandering with TED, promise! 
How can you use TED Talks in the classroom?
TED has over 900 different talks exploring all aspects of life and the human condition. Speakers explore topics we can all connect with, and in 20 minutes or less, we leave feeling smarter and more aware of our world and ourselves.  
Imagine if you could create your own TED Talks in your elementary, middle or high school classroom. After reading a novel, or non fiction piece, students could explore one or more of its themes; research the theme in more depth using primary sources for support of the theme, and then write a moving speech to deliver as a TED Talk. What about writing and delivering a TED Talk as a character from a short story, or the speaker of a poem?  In science, students could explore the moral implications of cloning, or in history class explore patterns of human behavior to determine if we truly do fail to learn from our mistakes. In math, students could offer TED Talks to explain mathematical applications in life. These are obviously just a few ideas off the top of my head, but if teachers of all subjects brainstormed ideas with their students of possible TED Talks, I’m sure the topics would be worth a listen.  Kids want to talk and express their views, opinions and perspectives of the adult world. It's in every human being's nature to seek knowledge. Creating mock TED Talks, and viewing actual TED talks can channel that human instinct to learn and help students make sense of topics they struggle understanding.  
If your school has its own TV broadcast system, imagine students creating brief TED talks on bullying prevention, drug awareness, cyber bullying, social media safety, and other student issues. How would  these student TED Talks impact a school culture? 

Kids are more creative than adults; if given the opportunity to create their own TED Talk network, students regardless of learning challenges and ability level could literally change the cultures of their schools through their own TED talks. If the TED founders have been able to inspire the world, then our children can do it too if we give them the chance to express themselves.  

Here’s one of my favorite TED speakers, Ken Robinson, on how schools kill creativity. I hope that whether you teach elementary, middle or high school, you can think of a way to create your own mock TED talks in your class. Even if some of the TED talks are too mature for your students, you can apply the concept of TED to your classroom by allowing your students to teach and inspire one another through the power of speech.

Please also visit TeachingWithTED to see a wiki listing great TED Talks, and a Glog created by one of the wiki contributors. (Couldn't find the name to credit the person who created this awesome Glog):

Also visit this site to find out how to "Do" a TED Talk:

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