Free video lessons offered by leaders in innovation, thinking

If the idea is approved, TED will send over a portable recording booth.

In the vast realm of dogs hugging baby deer and toddlers laughing hysterically, it’s not always easy finding online videos that have a deeply profound impact—that is, until Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) entered the market, providing “ideas worth spreading.” Now, TED is venturing into education with TED-Ed.

TED, a global set of conferences owned by the private nonprofit Sapling Foundation, usually gives speakers 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and Malcolm Gladwell are just a few notable speakers who have presented at TED.

In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED launched TED-Ed on March 12 with the intent of making available the “mind-altering lessons that happen in classrooms every day” to everyone in the world.

By delivering lessons that really “land,” TED representatives say, “curiosity is ignited and students become what they’re teachers always hope for: lifelong learners.”

Teachers who think they have a great lesson can submit their name and idea via the TED-Ed submission form. Anyone can nominate a teacher and his or her lesson.

If the lesson or idea is approved, TED will send over a portable recording booth where teachers can record their lesson. The lesson and booth are sent back to TED and sent to the organization’s animation teams.

TED says this is also an opportunity for animators to spread their names while supporting learning and innovation.

So far, TED-Ed has five series available, with multiple videos comprising each series. The series are Awesome Nature, How Things Work, Questions No One (Yet) Knows the Answers to, Inventions that Shaped History, and Playing with Language.

One great sample of TED-Ed’s videos can be found under Playing with Language. The video, titled “The Power of Simple Words,” describes how knowing an audience can influence the speaker’s choice of language—a skill many educators are trying to teach their social media and internet-loving students.

“The Power of Simple Words”: Long, fancy words designed to show off your intelligence and vocabulary are all very well, but they aren’t always the best words. In this short, playful video Terin Izil, an experienced copywriter, explains why simple, punchy language is often the clearest way to convey a message.

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In another interesting video, this one part of the Inventions that Shaped History series, the origins of globalization—a key concept every student should understand (especially for future job markets)—are explained through containerization.

“How containerization shaped the modern world”: Sometimes a single unlikely idea can have massive impact across the world. Sir Harold Evans, a British-born journalist and writer, describes how frustration drove Malcolm McLean, a small-town truck driver, to invent the shipping container. Containerization was born, and it transformed the modern global economy.

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For more educational videos, check out TED-Ed’s YouTube Channel.

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Meris Stansbury

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