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The Best Teacher Resources For “TED Talks” (& Similar Presentations)

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I’ve written several posts recently about TED Talks, and thought I’d pull together a short list of resources that would be helpful to other teachers (and me) as we consider how to use them most effectively in our classes.

I’m going to start off with a quote from their website explaining what these “things” are:

“TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

site makes the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 400 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks feature closed captions in English, and many feature subtitles in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely and reposted.”

You might also be interested in The “Best” TED Talks (Well, Really, The Ones I Use With My Classes) and The Best Of “TED Talks On Education”

Here are my choices for The Best Teacher Resources For “TED Talks”:

The number one place to go is a wiki created by Jackie Gerstein that is called Teaching With Ted. It videos along with lesson ideas connected to each one.

Jeff Mummert has just published an incredible post titled TED Talks Demystified For Teachers. In it, he highlights the videos that he thinks are particularly useful and divides them by subject area.

Links to a Google doc that lists all of the Ted Talks, including links and descriptions, has been circulating on Twitter for weeks. It’s not clear, though, who created such a helpful document. If it was you, let me know!

Tim Longhurst uncovered The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know. They’re the list of ten presentation rules that are given to each TED speaker, and they’re good to keep in mind for any type of public speaking.

Tom Woodward has created a neat searchable website utilizing all of the TED Talks. He is using software from MIT called Exhibit and just posted it. TED must be “in the air” !

Here are two lists of favorite TED Talks made by education bloggers whose judgment I trust:

Top Ten TED Talks by David Deubelbeiss

Dangerously Irrelevant has posted the Top 20 TED Talks podcasts for busy school administrators.

Learn Out Loud also has lots of audio and visual resources that I’ve found useful in my own teaching. They have their own list of favorite TED Talks.

There’s now an application that lets you watch all the great TED Talks from your desktop without having to be connected to the Internet.

The TED Talks blog has an excellent interview with the head of TED, Chris Anderson. It’s very interesting, and includes him his favorite Talks, including links.

Pop! Tech looks very similar to TED Talks. It brings in “big thinkers” to give short presentations.
The major drawback, however, is that, unlike TED Talks, Pop! Tech uses Vimeo to host their videos, which means that most school content filters will block access. There are certainly ways to use them in schools, but it will take more work than the TED Talks, which host their videos on their own site and is usually unblocked. It definitely does have some great stuff, though, and is worth a periodic visit.

Ignite are a series of talks, available online, that are somewhat similar to TED Talks. Presenters get 20 slides and five minutes to make their point. It’s somewhat similar to Pecha Kucha presentations. The topics don’t appear to generally be as wide-ranging as TED Talks, and seem to be more “geeky,” but some look pretty interesting.

Big Think has over 600 engaging interviews with “thought leaders.” In many ways, it’s similar to TED Talks. One nice advantage is that they host the talks on their site, so it should get through school content filters.

PostRank, which uses an “engagement index” to measure the popularity of web content, has done an interesting analysis of all TED Talks.

In their post, titled “And the most engaging TED talk is…”, they explain what they did and list some of the “most-engaged” Talks.

More importantly, they provide a spreadsheet ranking all of the Ted Talks.

PostRanks says they were inspired by a TED Talk titled “Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks).” That’s a short and entertaining presentation on TED Talks statistics that has some helpful ideas on making any kind of presentation.

In addition, Sebastian Wernicke, the speaker in that talk, has created a fun online application called tedPAD. Using the data he has compiled, you have the option of creating your own tongue-in-cheek “phenomenal” or “really bad” TED Talks.

Years ago I went to a couple of conferences that had incredibly talented people “take notes” about what was happening at the conference. They did it by rapidly drawing/summarizing the important points on huge pieces of paper taped on the wall. I found it quite mesmerizing, and would often just watch what they were doing instead of who was speaking (in the same way that I sometimes just watch the amazing interpreters for the deaf at entertainment events).

I believe technique is called graphic note-taking.

I was able to find some absolutely amazing video examples of method that made some academic talks incredibly accessible, including one from Daniel Pink talking about his book, Drive. I’ve written a lot about Pink and his research on motivation.

Here can see the Drive from RSA here.

You can see graphic note-taking examples from other RSA talks here.

FORA.tv has quite a collection of video-recorded talks from “big-thinkers.”

ESL TED Talks is a blog created by Douglas Evans that has lessons he’s created for English Language Learners using TED Talks. He’s clearly put a lot of work into them, and they could be very useful. They focus almost entirely on comprehension, so a teacher would definitely want to supplement them with strategies to stimulate discussion on the topics of the Talks themselves, and how students could content the content to their own lives. Thanks to Sam Malone for the tip.

Speaking tips for teaching English with TED is a very useful post by Karenne Joy Sylvester.

idea City looks like a Canadian version of TED Talks, with lots of interesting recorded presentations. is how their website describes itself:

ideaCity, also known as ‘Canada’s Premiere Meeting of the Minds’, is an eclectic gathering of artists, adventurers, authors, cosmologists, doctors, designers, entertainers, filmmakers, inventors, magicians, musicians, scientists and technologists. Fifty of the planet’s brightest minds converge on Toronto each June to speak to a highly engaged audience.

Here are two other TED-like sites:

The GEL Conference describes itself way: “Short for “Good Experience Live”, Gel is a conference and community exploring good experience in all its forms – in art, business, technology, society, and life.” They have a nice collection of video presentations from their conferences.

99 Percent says about itself: “The annual 99% Conference, held each Spring, brings together 400+ creative thinkers and doers for two days to hear talks from creative luminaries and exchange best practices on making ideas happen.”

Edge (which I originally learned about from David Deubelbeiss) brings together “big thinkers” to both talk about “big” issues and also write about them. Their videos are intriguing, though the presentation style is just “talking heads.” I found their Question Center far more intriguing, where they annually pose a question and then get tons of key players from around the world to answer it. For example, year’s question was “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s toolkit?”

The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know are good advice for people who are preparing to give TED Talks, and provides great advice for any speaker.

Here’s a video from the organizer of Ignite presentations giving advice on how to present at those conferences. It, too, provides good advice on giving public presentations. Anecdote some additional advice related to the video.

TED Talks, the famous site/meeting that invites notable thinkers and doers to speak and then their talks online, has just created a new feature called TED Conversations. You can read more about how they describe it here. In many ways, it’s just another social network that it appears like every organization is starting these days. However, the key difference is that it appears that at least some TED speakers are participating in the conversations. If that continues on a serious level, then TED Conversations is going to become very popular, very quickly, and be very useful.

There is an “unconference” organized each year near the TED gathering called “BIL.” You can read about it in the Wall Street Journal’s article, For BIL, Tagging Along With TED Proves to Be an Excellent Adventure. In addition, you can see videos from BIL here.

And here’s a video from The Journal about BIL:

TED Talks has just announced the launching of “TED-ED.” They are planning to collect videos — shorter than the typical TED Talks ones — that “anyone” can create. They are taking applications from people who want to participate in the planning of initiative, and you can see a short video about their plans here.It could have a lot of potential. (Here’s an update on it: “TED” Launches Channel For Education ).

“What are some must-see TED talks?” was a question raised at Quora. It includes the vote total based on responses, as well as a tabulation of likes and dislikes on YouTube. The results are intriguing.

The University of Cambridge organizes an on-going series of short presentations called “Cambridge Ideas,” which seem to be very similar to TED Talks. They have their collection both on YouTube and on their own University website.

Here’s one of the talks — it’s on vanishing languages in the world:

Harvard Thinks Big is an annual event (started last year) where invited faculty members present ten minute talks. They just posted year’s presentations on YouTube.

There is a YouTube channel devoted to TEDxTalks, which are local TED-like events that take place around the world. TEDx has also announced that 7,000 videos of TEDx Talks are now hosted by the TED website. It appears much more organized and searchable than the YouTube channel.

“60 Second Lectures” are pretty neat…60 second lectures offered annually by University of Pennsylvania faculty. The first link leads you to year’s presentations, and link will lead you to archive, where you can see the video and access a written transcript of lectures from previous years.

TEDx Global Music Project is a video collection of musical performances at TED-affiliated conferences around the world.

Here’s a list of the 20 Most-Watched TED Talks.

The Aspen Institute is a think tank that brings many well-known authors, thinkers, and entrepreneurs together for their annual “Ideas Festival.” Many of the videos from the 2011 festival have now been posted on their site (thanks to Alexander Russo for the tip). You can see videos from previous years here.

The Business Information Factory has an annual conference where they invite creative thinkers and, like TED Talks, they put the videos online for viewing. They look pretty interesting. For example, here’s one from Daniel Pink, author of “Drive”:

What TEDTalk would you play to open the school year? We counted your (almost 1,000) responses … is from TED Talks.

TED has announced 18 ideas that will shape 2012: Counting down TEDTalks on Huffington Post.

is how they describe it:

TED and The Huffington Post are launching a year-end collaboration around 18 groundbreaking ideas that premiered on TED.com in 2011 and may very well reshape the world in 2012. For 18 days, The Huffington Post will count down these big ideas from TED in a list curated by Chris Anderson, with essays from each speaker exploring the idea they came to TED (or a TEDx) to with the world.

Check it out at The Huffington Post special TED page. It looks interesting.

Solve For X is a series of TED-like talks that appear to be sponsored by Google.

It’s described as “A forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork.”

Here’s a sample. It’s a talk by Nicholas Negroponte on students earning by themselves:

TED has begun a new searchable feature called TED Quotes. They highlight great quotes from their TED Talks, and they link back to the presentation.

TED Talks, the well-known resource of short and thought-provoking….talks has just announced that they will be starting a regular show on NPR called “TED Radio Hour.” It will be played on local stations, but will also be available on the NPR website. You can learn more about it here.

TED recently began a new channel dedication to education . It’s called TED-ED. Here’s how it describes the initiative:

It offers up original video content that marries the talent of great teachers with top animators to bring concepts like neuroscience to life in in short videos, typically 5 minutes long….Through its open submission process, animators and educators from around the globe can contribute lesson plans and video reels on any topic…Select lesson submissions will be matched with chosen visualizers to create video lessons worth learning, watching, and .

Right now, it has four “playlists” — “Awesome Nature,” “How Things Work,” “Playing With Language,” and “Questions No One Knows (Yet) The Answer To.” Here are samples from each one:

TED Talks Unveils New Interactive Education Website Tonight

Thanks to reader Terri Reh, I’ve learned about The TEDx Classroom Project. It’s an extremely impressive effort that includes students’ analysis of various TED Talks, along with students using the TED model to create their own presentations.

Five Key TED Talks is from The New Yorker.

10 talks from inspiring teachers is a post from TED Talks that lists and links to….10 TED Talks by teachers.

TEDx events are TED-like events organized by local groups throughout the world, and there have 5,000 of them. TED has just published “The 20 most-watched TEDx talks so far.”

The Huffington Post has begun what they are calling “TED Weekends.” They’re choosing a TED video each weekend, getting some high-powered guests to write responses to it, and then inviting readers to contribute. You can read more about it here.

TED-ED is the K-12 video “arm” for the famous TED Talks, and they’ve recently published a list of their “Top 10 most popular TED-Ed lessons!”

TED Talks launched Playlists . They are collections of various TED Talks, primarily based on topic — “Natural wonder,” “The creative spark.” It also includes list of favorites put together by different celebrities but, I’m sorry, I don’t really care what Glenn Close likes (though she’s a great actress).

American Psychological Association Starts Their Own TED-Like Talks

TED has published The 10 most popular TED-Ed lessons so far.

New TED-Ed Video About TED-Ed — It’s A Little Strange

Here’s a delightful TED Talks parody:

TED has published a list of their twenty most popular Talks of all time — as of December, 2013.

Sir Ken Robinson’s talk is number one.

The ten most popular TED-Ed Lessons of 2013

TED Talks Unveils TED-Ed Clubs For Students

TEDxESL: ESL discussion material based on TED talks is a very good resource.

“TED Talks” Unveils Redesigned Website With New Useful Tools

Suggestions and feedback, as always, are welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

14 Comments

  1. Pingback: Thing 7a - The Power of TED | Mr. Hamada's Universe

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  3. Great resource, Larry. I think that for focus and length TED talks are ideal for teaching either language or subject matter. Thanks for putting this list together.

  4. I have listened to a number of TED related sites. I find the dramatized productions better than the single reader. NewFiction.com is one I use a lot.

  5. I love the TED talks as well. While not a teacher, I would encourage people to look at the IGNITE series too. Held around the world, many of them available on video, 5 minute talks, 20 power point slides. Really amazing what you can learn in 5 minutes with a thoughtful and efficient approach. http://ignite.oreilly.com/

  6. Pingback: TED Talks « ESL Web

  7. Thanks for pulling the ideas together Larry. I’m at that place in my life where I want to inspire my students to think bigger, live larger, as well as push myself to learn how to reach them in ways to which they can relate.

  8. Hi Larry,

    Here is a new ESL/TED resource that looks good:
    http://esltedtalks.blogspot.com

    Thanks

    Sam

  9. Larry,

    Have you visited Edge.org?

    I still watch TED but think they indeed have lost some of their edge. But Edge never does and is a real “thinkers thinker” place. You’ll be impressed.

    http://www.edge.org/edge_video.html

  10. Pingback: TED Talks … y su historia… « juandon. Innovación y conocimiento

  11. I just came across this post and wanted to thank you for linking to many TEDTalks for educators! My favorite part of these talks is how relevant they are, even after years.

    Great tool for educators!

    +Shana.
    @ShanatDS

  12. Pingback: TED « Engage Their Minds

  13. Pingback: Five-Minute Film Festival: TED Talks for Teachers « « DediCommDediComm

  14. Pingback: Resources for TED talks | efl-resource.com

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