By Eric Wearne
TED (originally “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” but now just TED) bills itself as “a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” Its award-winning TEDTalks site hosts video talks by both well-known (and lesser-known) speakers on topics ranging from “tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data” to ethical questions about bio-engineering to how schools help kill students’ creativity.
TED hosts two annual conferences, an award-winning video site (TEDTalks), and several other programs. TED itself is well worth perusing as an educational tool on a variety of topics. But the organization has begun to work on education explicitly, with potentially powerful results.
TED-Ed is the idea that we should bring together great teachers and great animators, and help them collaborate to produce lessons with great content that are also visually compelling. This approach is an example of an organization recognizing that online learning is the clearest (and maybe the only) way to scale the highest-quality classroom instruction to almost every student in the country.
TED-Ed will act as the facilitator to make these connections happen. Because the resulting products will then be online, these animated lessons will be available to any teacher who wants to use them in the classroom.
TED-Ed’s online forum (the “TED-Ed Brain Trust”) will launch in early April. But even before the launch, anyone can nominate a teacher to participate, nominate an animator, or even suggest a lesson plan through the TED-Ed site as well. Watch the TED-Ed introduction video here:
(Eric Wearne is a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Georgia Gwinnett College School of Education. Previously he served the Georgia Governor’s Office as deputy director at the Office of Student Achievement.)
As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.