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Monday, 19 March 2012 13:32

TED launches education channel

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The annual TED conferences, held annually in Monterey, California have spawned a number of child events across the world. This week, TED launched a new education channel on YouTube where teachers can create, share and access short lessons to support their classes.

In case you'd missed it - the era of traditional classroom teaching with one teacher at the front of a room, delivering a fixed curriculum from a set of prescribed resources is coming to an end. Students live in a world where there are mountains of content available with just the click of a mouse.

TED, named for its Technology, Education and Design focus, has launched a new channel on YouTube. Subtitled Lessons Worth Sharing, this channel brings together animated lessons that cover short topics. TED's vision is to bring together animators and teachers to create short, punchy materials that can easily be used by teachers. Rather than leaving students to sort through the masses of dross in YouTube, TED presents a curated channel with experts in education and animation.

Individuals can nominate teachers, lesson ideas and animators who are then brought together to create the short video. Although the number of videos on the channel is quite small - just 14 as we wrote this - the potential is evident. We watched several videos. We particularly liked "How Pandemics Spread". As well as the obvious scientific flavour, its value as a cross-curricular resource is evident as it covers history and geography.

In keeping with the TED conference tradition of limiting the amount of time each expert has to tell their story, most of the videos are less that 10 minutes long - long enough to engage students but not so long that they lose concentration. The videos take advantage of both audtory and visual elements so that that appeal to a wide variety of learning styles.

The TED-Ed channel is available to everyone via YouTube.

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