TEDEducation: Enter the Global Classroom

Officially launching at the beginning of April, TEDEd‘s mission is “to capture and amplify the voices of the world’s greatest teachers” and to bring the lessons outside the classroom and project them into a larger and more interactive global classroom.  From the TEDEd site:

TED-Ed’s mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. A new site, which will launch in early April 2012, will feature these new TED-Ed Originals as well as some powerful new learning tools.

For those who can’t wait that long, we’re pleased to announce the official launch of TED-Ed’s YouTube channel featuring all of our new videos. Also, we are happy to extend an open invitation for the nomination of educators and animators and thesuggestion of lesson ideas.

The TEDEd YouTube channel features a revolving collection of playlists:

Click here to visit TEDEd’s YouTube channel, a hub that encourages its viewers to “stay curious” and become life long learners.

Fast Company posted a TEDEd preview recently.  Click here to read more.  From the article:

TED, the conference dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” took a step forward in its educational mission today by launching a TEDEd video channel on YouTube. Shorter than the 18-minute TED talks that have racked up 500 million views, these videos feature a combination of talking heads from TED stages and animation (artwork by Fast Company Most Creative Person Sunni Brown, among others) tackling topics like neuroscience and evolution for a high-school-aged audience. The channel allows viewers to nominate teachers they know to create their own TEDEd videos with production and distribution support from TED.

This also brings to mind the recent Stanford open education project, written about in Wired Magazine. Click here to read “The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever.” From the article:

Last fall, the university in the heart of Silicon Valley did something it had never done before: It opened up three classes, including CS221, to anyone with a web connection. Lectures and assignments—the same ones administered in the regular on-campus class—would be posted and auto-graded online each week. Midterms and finals would have strict deadlines. Stanford wouldn’t issue course credit to the non-matriculated students. But at the end of the term, students who completed a course would be awarded an official Statement of Accomplishment.


People around the world have gone crazy for this opportunity. Fully two-thirds of my 160,000 classmates live outside the US. There are students in 190 countries—from India and South Korea to New Zealand and the Republic of Azerbaijan. More than 100 volunteers have signed up to translate the lectures into 44 languages, including Bengali. In Iran, where YouTube is blocked, one student cloned the CS221 class website and—with the professors’ permission—began reposting the video files for 1,000 students.”

TEDEd’s key word for their new learning hub is amplifyand the social web is capable of amplifying thoughts and reaching an enormous and eager audience on such a grand scale. The web amplifies ideas and allows them to spread.  Anything has the capacity to go viral in the digital-sphere, so why not try to level the academic field and make viral ideas out of something positive and encourage world-wide easy-access education?

It seems like we’re moving in the direction of online interactive learning as we begin to set up virtual classrooms that span the globe and connect us instantly with other cultures and other curious learners (and this interaction alone is a world-opening, learning experience).  Perhaps other institutions will follow Stanford’s open learning experiment and teachers will contribute to the TEDEd collection of invaluable learning tools and videos that are open to the public.  It’s interesting and inspiring that anyone with an Internet connection can participate in this global learning initiative, interact, share, spread awareness and knowledge, and they can do it in real-time.

In this clip from, Arthur C. Clarke — in 1964 — makes an astounding prediction for the future regarding instant communication and the effect this will have on the way we travel, interact, and connect:

How right he was!

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