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”:

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.

Pop! Tech looks very similar to TED Talks. It brings in “big thinkers” to give short presentations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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 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:


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.

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

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.”

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

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

TED Talks Starts A New Site, Though I’m Not Really Sure What It Is…

TED Talks now has an updated playlist of The 20 most popular talks of all time.

National Geographic Learning and TED Partner to Inspire English Language Learners is a press release from National Geographic.

Hay Levels are a new and fast-growing series of TED Talk-like videos from the United Kingdom.

They are three-minutes each, are designed for “A-Level” students (who are preparing to enter college)and are divided in three areas (Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences).

You can watch the videos at its YouTube Channel and read more about it in this article at The Telegraph.

Here are a couple of examples from the Hay Levels:

Thanks to Wendi Pillars, I learned about a Tumblr blog that regularly shares new “Sketchnotes” of popular TED Talks.

An inspiring way to learn English? By watching TED Talks is a post from the TED blog about a new textbook series, along with multimedia, designed to use TED materials to teach English. It’s very hard to get an idea of what it really looks like from this post, so I can’t make any comment about how good or bad it is. I’d be interested in getting feedback from people who have actually seen or used the materials.

“The 10 most popular TEDx talks”

This Could Be Interesting: “Announcing TED-Ed Español”

Video: 60 Minutes Airs Segment On TED Talks

Create & Submit Your Own (Open)TED Talk

This Could Come In Handy: TED-Ed Now Lets You Organize Their Lessons By Language Subtitles

TED Talks Announces New Addition: “TED-Ed Clubs Channel on YouTube”

TED Talks Unveils Reorganized Site – And It’s A Lot Better!

Playlist Of TED-Ed Videos In Spanish

TED Talks Announces “TED en Español”

“Amazon-Day One” Offers An Exceptional Collection Of Useful Videos

This is a very complete TED TALK UNIT from Brian Sztabnik. If you want to have your students create their own TED Talks, you won’t find anything better than this resource.

TED-Ed Launches A New Channel For Talks From Teachers

“Small Thing Big Idea” Is Intriguing Series Of Short Videos From TED-Talks


Infographic: The Most Popular TED Talks of All Time | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


TED Talk Lessons is from ESL Friend.


Suggestions and feedback, as always, are welcome.

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