Monday, May 7, 2012

TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing

I've been a fan of TED Talks ever since learning about the program a little over a year ago. You may be familiar with Sir Ken Robinson's widely shared talk on changing educational paradigms. This animated version was created by RSA, which has a channel on YouTube. RSA has several animated Ted Talks, making already stimulating subject matter more engaging with stop-motion hand-drawn cartoons to paint a mental image. I think that these are great to use with teenagers to start a discussion in class, and they have worked particularly well with English language learners aged 14 to 18. Another great RSA animate is Philip Zimbardo's "The Secret Powers of Time"- it usually inspires a good discussion about understanding differences in perspective and the problem with stereotypes.

Another cool new project to come out of the TED program is TED-Ed, a website dedicated to sharing lesson plans based on short video lectures on various topics. One very cool new video explains two of Shakespeare's most famous insults (from Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet) and the importance of language used to create specific moods in literature. There are lots of other subjects, including science and technology, with lesson plans built in that feature comprehension and discussion questions, and extension activities with related content. There is even an option to "flip a lesson" when you register with the site. This way, teachers can modify and create their own versions of the lesson for videos they want to share with students. I love using videos and websites in class- if only we could make lessons like this every day!

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