TED Talks and what students can learn from them?

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“…my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So, I want to talk about education, and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity — now — is as important in education as literacy. And we should treat it with the same status.” In the year 2006, Sir Kevin Robinson — in his tremendously entertaining and profoundly moving talk called “Do Schools Kill Creativity”, addressed a very significant subject of how it is our task to educate the kids wholly, and teach them how to face the future. 

 

In the year 1984, Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED)—a nonprofit organization— was set up to spread ideas through short and powerful talks on all kinds of topics — from science, business to even global issues—in more than 100 languages. In 2012, TED unveiled their little baby called TED-Ed which was a way of reaching out to parents, teachers and students throughout the world and asking them: Can we help? It is an attempt to facilitate learning via engrossing visuals and interactive sessions on various topics divided into 12 categories – the Arts, Economics, Health, Literature, Mathematics, Technology, Social Studies, Thinking & Learning, and more. One can filter lessons by length or by elementary, middle, high school, and college levels. Whether it is video on How playing an instrument benefits your brain which elaborates on how making music elevates one’s learning and planning abilities, ‘How does your smartphone know your location?’ or a video beautifully and patiently explaining the difference between”me”, “myself” and “I” in the form of captivating graphics that are sure to catch not only the student’s attention but also stimulating their imagination while opening horizons for them. From Einstein’s riddle, 5-minute writing lessons, benefits of a good posture, to captivating lectures by Bill Gates and Ken Robinson on education—they’d find a spectrum of educational topics. It almost seems like all their “silly” questions have been answered diligently and with a heart full of love.

All the lessons include elements like “Think,” where one gets multiple choice questions that test their understanding of the topic along with open-ended questions which can be saved if you have set up a free account. One could traverse unfathomably into the depth of any topic with “Dig Deeper” using the resources available. And then there is “Discuss” where one can go through people’s comments, if any, and add your own.

TED recently introduced their new branch called the TED-Ed Clubs. Their Mission: “Celebrate the ideas of young people around the world.” The creators of TED—phenomenal public speakers—understand the gravity of being able to present ideas in a compelling manner. It is a platform that encourages students worldwide to not merely value their ideas but give them a voice. Moving along the lines of these thinkers, one can start a Ted-ed club in their own school which must comprise of at least five students and an adult facilitator who is “affiliated” with a school or educational organization. Even homeschooling parents can take an initiative towards setting up a Ted-Ed Club. All one has to do is apply and if they are accepted as an official Club, they gain access to TED’s paraphernalia. It consists of everything students would need to practice their presentations and public speaking skills to be able to give talks that can later be posted online and give a way for their ideas to reach out to the world.

 

Exposure is an important tool in the endeavour of learning. Ideas, perspectives, cultures, beliefs, the changing scenarios of the world, the discoveries, theories and the struggle that humans are enduring and rising above anyway—is something that students ought to know and possess the freedom to formulate their own understanding of the world at the same time. To have an awareness on what people their age are doing and the methodology that they are applying brings about a significant revolution in their learning process. For instance a TED talk by Cesar Harada—How I teach kids to love science—is a brilliant example of what TED is capable of.  Indeed a boon!

 

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