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A new initiative for creating and sharing educational lessons reaches the traditional classroom and beyond

by Josh Rubin
on 24 April 2012

For years TED has fulfilled their mission of spreading ideas and inspiration through conferences, media and research fellowships. Taking this a step further and in the direction of generations to come, today TED launches a new TED-Ed initiative to assist educators and students worldwide. Understanding the evolutionary role of video in the modern classroom (and beyond), the new TED-Ed site offers a structured avenue for repurposing content by allowing teachers to "flip" any video on YouTube—including but not limited to TED-Ed videos—into a sharable lesson ripe with quizzes, informational copy and attention keeping animations.


Directing the initiative is Logan Smalley, a former TED Fellow with a background in documentary work. After starting in January 2011 and working on the TED Prize, Smalley sparked the TED-Ed program to rethink the traditional notion of teacher and student. To address this the new initiative aims to share educational lessons and inspiration with anyone willing to learn or teach, both inside and outside the physical classroom.


Open to anyone, the thematically organized lessons can be taken without a login, although one is required to assign or track lessons. This proves valuable for both students and teachers as one can share and subsequently track participation and total student interactions with a specific lesson. With the customization platform teachers can adjust lessons and quizzes to meet their individual needs. This means adding, removing or changing quiz questions and informational copy. Once edited the lesson is given a unique URL to be shared freely.


As the initiative is in its beta stage the majority of lessons offered at this point have been originally created by TED, but as it grows lessons created and adjusted by outside educators will eventually be uploaded for sharing. One can "flip" a TED-Ed video to customize the quiz questions and copy, or "flip" any video from YouTube to create an all new lesson. All lessons uploaded will first be cleared by a TED review board to ensure only the most effective, informational lessons reach the final audience.


As participation grows TED-Ed online will as well, adding subcategories to their subjects and expanding upon the traditional taxonomies presented. And in keeping with the spirit of TED, signing up is free, allowing anyone and everyone to be a part of the evolution and education process. For more information or to experience the beautifully designed site yourself head over to TED-Ed online.

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