TED-Ed: Great delivery & creation tool, falls short on global collaboration

7/25/2012 12:00:00 AM
Chris Anderson addressed an audience of innovative educators at this year’s Building Learning Communities conference to discuss the launch of the TED-Ed platform. He shared that the great power of technology was its ability to facilitate amplification, specialization, and collaboration. TED-Ed knocks the ball out of the park on two of the three.

An extension of TED’s commitment to sharing ideas worth spreading, TED-Ed’s commitment is to creating lessons worth sharing. This in turn amplifies the lessons by the best teachers to students across the globe.  Below is an example of a video which this lesson was created around.

The TED-Ed lessons bring into focus how the future of education will bring specialization to the teaching profession with the lessons from the world’s best educators captured as well as the specialization of those able to bring those concepts to life via animation, video capturing, and editing capabilities.  This will free time for educators to work with individual students, pairs, and small groups.  

Collaboration - The missing piece
The TED-Ed platform is powerful in shifting the way teachers may spend their time in the classroom, but it misses the boat on collaboration as pointed out in the following tweet:
JackieGerstein Ed.D. ?@jackiegerstein
@InnovativeEdu How does TedEd promote global collaboration? There are no tools for doing so on the site? Only tools for making tests

Chris Anderson explained that the collaboration happens when lesson creators and animators connect but it doesn't seem that the capability to do so is built into the system. Most importantly there is no way for learners to connect and collaborate. This would be a powerful feature that hopefully will be incorporated in the future.  

The power of the platform
Providing lessons that can be used for learning anytime/anywhere is not the only power of the platform.  What some teachers will find exciting is that they can customize existing lessons or create their own lessons using any YouTube video including those they themselves have created.  What's more, they can track learner progress because each unique lesson has its own url and learners can view their progress by viewing the "recent activity" tab.

What you’ll find on the site
Here is an outline of what you’ll find on the TED-ed site. You can watch it on video here.

  • These are video series.

Best Flips

Best flips are exceptional, user-created lessons. Users nominate the lessons they build. The lessons are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed. Want to see your lesson here? Don't forget to hit nominate after you publish.


You can transform any YouTube video into a lesson worth sharing and customize it by adding your own supplementary materials and sharing your lesson with others.

  • Watch
    • View the video
  • Think
    • Questions which students will answer and submit
  • Dig Deeper
    • Ideas to continue the learning
  • …And Finally
    • Concluding thoughts

Once teachers become comfortable with TED-Ed for lesson delivery and creation, they may want to support their students in become lesson creators too. Anyone can create a TED-Ed lesson. For the best lessons, don't forget to nominate them for Best Flips to amplify lessons that can be shared with the world.

So what do you think? Is TED-Ed a tool you can see incorporating into your practice?

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

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