This morning, the TED conference expanded their TED-Ed initiative with a new set of interactive features, created with $1.25 million of corporate support, designed to make it easier for teachers to build video lessons. What’s cool is that anyone can use this simple platform to pair any video on YouTube—not just TED Talks—with custom content. TED calls this "flipping the video," a clear reference to the idea of "flipping the classroom" popularized by Sal Khan's Khan Academy and others. Basically it means making students responsible for lecture-like content outside of class via video, freeing up classroom time for discussion and individualized work.
Here’s a lesson I created using the video of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s speech at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference earlier this month.
It takes just a few minutes to pair the video with discussion questions, like this one:
And links to extra resources.
You can then share it via a unique URL or via email, both of which will give you stats on who is viewing and participating in the lesson (though, as you can see, you can’t embed them).
Previously in the initiative, TED created a set of purpose-built TED-Ed videos featuring animations; now they’ve created lessons around those same videos using this new platform, as well as tagging and sorting all the videos in their library by academic subject. Their goal, says TED Curator Chris Anderson, "is to offer teachers free tools in a way they will find empowering."
Considering the vast variety of videos on YouTube, the implications of this free tool are staggering and probably far beyond what TED is picturing. The makeup mavens can link directly to pictures of Kim Kardashian and the cover artists can post chords and solicit audience feedback. Even dancing kittens can pose essay questions about the wonders of … dancing kittens. The educational power of video just got a lot more powerful.