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TED Ed – Lessons worth sharing indeed

The well-worn cliché of feeling like a kid in a candy store happens to be the only thing that came to my mind when I first got acquainted with TED Ed. If anything, this feeling only intensifies when digging deeper. And the best thing is you don’t have to be particularly savvy when it comes to the wonders of IT in education to enjoy the benefits of this amazingly simple tool.

The point of departure is those legions of Youtube videos all teachers know are sometimes able to illustrate the point so much better – and faster – than the written or spoken word. Personally, I have never done anything more creative than show them and try to strike up a discussion, a tricky process that may or may not succeed. At worst, it can be like fumbling around in the dark, not finding anything tangible to enhance my students’ historical education. Therefore, it pleased me no end to discover that it is very easy to take this one step further and dress those videos up with proper assignments on line.

What to do?

  • Select any Youtube video you want to use in class.
  • Sign in to TED Ed – Lessons worth sharing http://ed.ted.com/
  • Click “Create a Lesson”, paste the URL of your selected video in the box and follow the simple and clear instructions.

There are three types of activities to be developed by the help of the lesson creator: multiple choice and open answer questions (Think), guidance towards additional resources of any kind (Dig Deeper) and discussion, guided or open (Discuss). One of the features I like about the questions is the opportunity to direct students to a certain minute of the video if they find a particular question hard to answer. It is also worth pointing out the obvious possibility of the discussion board to be used beyond class, not only within it, for example between several classes who are working on the same subject. If students have smartphones, no computers are needed – but it may be a good idea for the whole class to watch a video together for the first time, before they get started with the assignments. Remind them of their headsets if they are working in class, rather than at home.

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My current plans for TED Ed this semester include students themselves creating lessons and sharing with others. It would be great to learn about the experiences of you out there.

One final note: there is already a vast number of lessons available, on almost any subject – many thanks to all those who make it even easier for the rest of us to use or customise to the needs of our own classrooms.

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