TED Conversations

Jeff Hoffart

Social Entrepreneur, ED-ucation Publishing


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Within learning communities, how do we educate youth about the ethos of TED and get them excited about contributing to the TEDx community?

While we organized our event at TEDxYouth@BIS this year, we found that we were marketing the idea of TED and TEDx to people who already understood and supported this ethos. We are looking for your ideas, resources, and other possible solutions to help educate and involve more youth in the TED and TEDx communities.


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  • Jun 24 2012: Ted is a neat idea. One either gets it,or they don't. Tell them "Would you like to find honors
    program trype talks on the net? That's www.Ted.com." Then you'll get Great or boring or why.
    That's all. If you're the kind of person who can appreciate ted You know they've got all
    you can give.
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      Jun 24 2012: Hi George,

      Initially, my reaction was very similar. But, upon reflection, I realized that this is the reason why others have labeled TED as some sort of an elite group. I am interested in having TED accessible to all, including my primary students.

      As a teacher, I could not introduce topics (e.g. multiplication, the writing process, how to be an inquirer and ask good questions) and expect that students either get it or they don't. My career depends on me to find alternate methods and ways to ensure all learners experience success. I feel there is a need for education, not only of students, but of parents, teachers, entire communities.

      I feel that every teacher should be using TED-Ed in their classrooms...but they're not. So, how do we get them to? What is it that is holding students, or teachers, or anyone back from using, experiencing, and contributing to TED, when we know it is such a great resource/organization/community?

      I feel that this is the question we need to answer. My Co-organizer and I felt that part of it, was that everyone learns in a different way. That the world is made up of a diverse set of learners with multiple intelligences. We needed to change how we "marketed" what TED was by choosing some of the shorter videos to share with students and our learning community, by making an eBook that used simplistic language, built-in quizzes, and videos of youth success stories on TED.

      Although we made large steps in our mission to further educate and spread the ideas of TED, we are still looking for further ideas and resources to enable us, and everyone, to be able to successfully make TED accessible to each and every person.
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        Jun 24 2012: Jeff, you mention that not every teacher is using TED-Ed in the classroom but should. As you puzzle over this situation, you might want also to read an article that appeared within the last three weeks in the Chronicle of Higher Education that argues the opposing viewpoint- that TED (or maybe TED-Ed, I can't remember) is not very well suited for the classroom. I have no link to it, but how hard can it be to find?
        I think when you find people are not doing something, they may be uninformed or they may have a reason that rings true to them. I think it is always instructive to become familiar with opposing views.
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          Jun 25 2012: I completely agree Fritzie. We must always have an understanding of opposing views, dialectical standpoints and alternate perspectives.

          In the last decade, it has been more and more abundantly clear that Education needs to focus on the learner, and the learner's diverse needs, in order to be successful. Terms such as "personalized education" and "differentiation" often come up, and this is what TED-Ed allows you to do.

          I feel that I am quite tech-savvy, but I am also very careful in which technology I use to enhance learning in my classroom. I view TED-Ed as a tool for teachers (specifically the flipping lessons component), as it is a way in which we can choose appropriate information for our students, and personalize it to our local class setting and lessons by adding applicable questions and links to go further.

          I don't see it as: "Hey, there is a new technology! We should try it out!" I see it as the reverse. We, as teachers, are expected to / and need to, differentiate and personalize education in order to be successful - and someone has made a resource tailor-made to educators to help us do that....this is what I would like educators to consider.

          TED-Ed is not an "extra". It is a vehicle that helps to drive the learning in our classes forward. If this is accurate, or close to, then why are there so few educators actually using TED-Ed regularly? (This is based on my communications with multiple schools). I do understand it is very new, but how do we educate these educators to begin to use this in their classrooms?
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        Jun 25 2012: As you wrote, Jeff, the concepts of a learner-focused classroom, of individualizing, of differentiating... have been understood in the discipline of teaching for a very long time. Dedicated teachers have over the years developed their own ways of serving students in this way and excellent strategies, curriculum materials, and resources have been promoted and adopted for the purpose.
        New options keep popping up, in fact. Then selling TED-Ed cannot be done simply by talking about learning-centered classrooms and differentiation. That's a little bit like trying to sell someone a new car by saying he can use it as transportation to get to work or to go to the mountains for recreation.
        Marketing then becomes identifying what a particular educational technology can do as an addition to or as a superior replacement for whatever tools and strategies the teacher already uses in her learner centered, individualized, differentiated classroom.

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