Tech Task #4

TED (technology, entertainment, design) is a nonprofit that is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED started out as a conference in 1984 that brought people together that knew about three major topics: technology, entertainment, and design. Because of the growth and demands that TED had, and after posting “TED talk” videos on websites such as YouTube, TED.com was launched in April of 2007. This website provides access to TED talks that have taken place, lists of events and conferences,  blogs, and tools for educators. The TED mission is “we believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other”.

You may be wondering, what is a TED talk? TED talks began as an attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Speakers would talk in front of an audience, as well as be recorded, about a topic that they have a lot of knowledge on, or something that they feel is important to share. The speakers are there to educate and most importantly, to inspire. Some people that have been speakers for TED talks include Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, Salman Khan, Bill Gates, and Ron Finley. I am providing a link to a list on the TED website that shows the 20 most watched TED talks (so far).

When taking a look at what TED.com had to offer, I came across an amazing tool. It is on the TED-Ed page. The tool is called the “find&flip”. The “find&flip” allows for people to create lesson plans revolving around YouTube videos of their choice. By clicking HEREyou can view a tutorial I have created that shows you how to use the “find&flip” tool. The TED-Ed page also allows access to lessons that have been created by other teachers. There are lessons about math, health, psychology, etc. You are able to have access to videos that educators have used in their classrooms, as well as questions and other links that relate to these videos.

I think that this tool, along with the TED talk videos, would be beneficial to a classroom. I think that it would be a different teaching method that could bring in someone else’s perspective without having to actually bring the person into the classroom. The TED-Ed website tool also benefits students because it allows them to access the lesson plan on any computer. They are able to complete the lesson at school, at home, the library, etc. I think this tool is useful because it introduces students to new forms of technology, and is fairly simple to use. Teachers are able to give the students questions that are based off of what they should have learned in the video, and also provide a chance for students to start a discussion based on their feelings/thoughts towards the topic. Students are able to be the primary users of this tool because they can choose when they access it, where they access it, and how much they will take from the lesson (looking at additional links, becoming involved in the discussions, etc.).

I think that it is important to state that TED talks are not used as a way to teach an entire lesson. They should simply be used as an introduction, or to provide a support to what the teacher is educating the students on. Logan Smalley, TED-Ed’s director, stated in an article that “TED-Ed videos aren’t meant to be a substitute for what happens in the classroom. The videos, and the new TED-Ed platform, are resources that teachers can use to excite, inspire, and bring to life lessons that are already being taught. The great thing about TED-Ed is that educators can use these tools however best suits their – and their students’ – needs”. If an educator plans on using this tool in their classroom, it is important to know how to use it appropriately and effectively. The educator should make sure that the video is relevant to what is being taught in the class, and that the questions are to answer should be based off of what they viewed in the video (when using the TED-Ed tool).

Overall, I am a huge fan of TED.com. I think that the talks are inspirational and educational, and the TED-Ed tool is a great resource. TED is defiantly an Idea Worth Spreading. 

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