This conversation is closed.

Would you use TED videos in a higher education classroom?

For university professors or students out there, have you had experience with using TED videos in your classroom? What kind of impact does it have? And if not, is it something you'd consider trying? Is it a novel way to engage students, or an inefficient use of time better spent on lectures or activities?

  • thumb
    Jan 3 2014: I'd like to inform you that TED Talks go under the Creative Commons licence, anyone is free to use any TED Talk (in a legal sense) in any way they wish (well, kind of), the whole or just parts, as long as they state that it's a TED Talk.

    So any amazing picture, graph or animation that you want to use, you are free to do so.

    Edit: here's a resource that you can read if you wish:
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2014: I use several - mainly in medicine and evidence based practice. I primarily use them to kick off discussions and get students thinking.
  • thumb
    Jan 5 2014: I'm a student. Just started getting into TED Talks over this current summer break, and I've been thinking what an underused resource TED is in my classes, and wondering why (so thanks, Jimmy, for ruling out the copyright thing). One of my psych lecturers in particular uses a lot of clips, I think in part to help us visualise his points and give us a break from one voice, but mostly to foster empathy. I feel like it works. He used part of a TED talk once - Jill Bolte Taylor's fascinating 'My Stroke of Insight'.

    Although I liked his style of peppering lectures with short clips, I wouldn't want whole talks in my classes - at least, not those over 5 mins. It's not cheap, this studying business. I want to feel I'm getting my money's worth, not just paying a fortune to get at uni what I can get at home for free(ish). Where I feel TED Talks would be incredibly valuable, though, is in supplementing texts and readings - optional reinforcement of what we've learnt, or preparation for lectures.
  • thumb
    Jan 4 2014: I have had professors show TED talks in class before. I remember specifically in my freshman music major seminar we opened with Benjamin Zander's talk that introduced me to TED and I've been following ever since. As a student, I appreciated a second voice in the classroom that can give short, quality talks that offer new, current, perspectives on my the field of study.
  • Jan 4 2014: Hi Joanna Coleman,I have followed TED website more than three years,at the beginning I just tried to listen to some talks I was interested,but later I was motivated by lots of TED good ideas,then I try to spread TED in my job,occasionally I download talks videos to share together with my students.So far I feel a bit pity because most of students don't like English learning at school,so everytime I got very excited idea from TED and eager to share with them,but it seems they aren't as interesting as I am.So the situation cool me down to spread TED ideas around.But I do have very eager will to guide my students here,I am looking for the chance to do that:)May me be sucessful:)
  • thumb
    Jan 4 2014: I'm not a university teacher but i do give lectures to students occasionally, so i only had the chance to use TED videos once and the impact was the worth of ten classes time, it was AMAZING, students were taken, inspired , motivated
    and i think the time when TED videos are being used not only in higher education classrooms but at schools as well, will be the golden time of the educational facilities ,schools, universities ..etc
    we've been teaching our students by books since ages, its about time to let their ambition grow more and more, let them think out of the box for a change and encourage them to be more like these inspiring speakers at Ted, actually it would be the best thing ever happened to students.
    • thumb
      Jan 4 2014: Hi Emam,

      As a new TED fellow (which must be great) you should perhaps be aware (if you're not already) of TED-ED (TED Education) which is intended to suit the younger audience in schools (but it works very well for anyone too).
      • thumb
        Jan 4 2014: Hi Jimmy, actually thats the first time i know about it , thank u though, should be helpful, but i used the Tedx vedios before becoming a fellow :) this is surly gonna help in future lectures if any !
        thanks again
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: I'm not a lecturer, but I did presentations for conferences or workshops. And I use relevant videos that would help get my message across and more easily understood. So if there is a relevant TED Talk that suits the needs, I'd certainly use it.
  • Jan 5 2014: I would and I have.
  • Jan 5 2014: Thanks a lot everybody for your responses. I'm a teacher and I've assigned a TED talk once for homework in an English language class, and had a similar experience to Edulover learner, that I was far more enthusiastic about the talk than the students were - but I think this was because the vocab in the talk (it was Dan Barber's wonderful 'How I Fell in Love with a Fish') was too hard without a clear context. But I think when used with native speakers or in translation, TED talks must be a wonderful resource. Although Sara and A Sharif I take your point that short extracts might work better, especially nowadays when students are so aware of how much money they are spending on courses, and don't want to feel that their teachers are taking an underserved break for twenty minutes!

    I'm interested also in whether teachers offer exercises designed specifically around the TED talks. We once had an absolutely fantastic class, again in an English language context, debating Aubrey de Grey's concept of defeating aging - it was such a controversial and engaging topic that the students were entirely and immediately involved, even the shyest and most hesitant with English expressing personal and colourful opinions. We didn't use the video (don't think the talk had been given then) but an interview with him in the Guardian, and the rest of the class was spent listing the advantages and disadvantages of living to 1000, and then a class debate whether or not this would be a good idea. I think using the TED talk as an intro would have worked even better than reading the article.

    Have other people ever designed / studied in a class designed round a TED video?
  • thumb
    Jan 4 2014: If relevant why not ?
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2014: hey
    yeah, I've been using them for quite some time in teaching English, specially subject-based free discussion classes in colleges and academic centers. They specially come in handy in exposing learners to new ideas, or some food for thought.
    • Jan 3 2014: Hi A Sharif,
      Thanks for your reply. Can I ask you what kind of responses you get from your students when you use the talks?
      • thumb
        Jan 3 2014: firstly, they both enjoy both the content and the language input. They mostly give deep comments on the content.
        second, they more or less ask me the source of the videos and show interest in following TED talks
        however, in many cases, I must play the video only partially (3 to 10 min); my experience is that longer talks are not so welcome.