TED launches TED Ed website with flipped learning tools

Educators in search of vetted, topical videos may not need to look any further than TED's new site

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
April 25, 2012
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The way students are learning in the classroom is evolving as technology provides more visual and interactive methods of educating. Anyone that has watched a gripping TED Talk online has wondered why their professors back in high school or college couldn't express tech, science and cultural themes with the same excitement and fervor. Well, now, TED is launching TED Ed.

Back in March, the organization launched the first phase of its “TED-Ed” initiative -- a series of a dozen short animated YouTube videos “created for high school students and lifelong learners." Now, TED Ed has a website with lots of supplementary education materials for teachers to start incorporating into classroom lessons or offer as outside materials to compliment that coursework.

While the platform is not meant to build a fully flushed out online university, it is meant to provide a little help to teachers around the world that want to inject some real-world examples and visual animation to some tricky concepts like universe construction and how diseases work.

Since its launch, TED-Ed’s YouTube channel has amassed nearly 2.5 million views, 40,000 subscribers, and thousands of comments. Now students are able to not just read about the lessons in the classroom, but also see fun animation and video of concepts in action and was built out of a $1.25 million commitment from Kohl’s Department Stores.

Just a few weeks ago TED Talks came to Netflix's streaming service and recieved a great receiption from families and educators that wanted to show 15-20 minute videos about science, tech, biology and other topics. Now this new product is sure to make adding a little more spark to coursework easier for everyone.

Those additional materials on the site include multiple-choice and open-answer questions test and links to Web resources on the video’s topic. 

But the most innovative feature of the site is that educators can customize these elements using a new functionality called "flipping." This flipping feature allows an educator to edit the supplementary materials and then the creator of the lesson can distribute the test on a separate website and track an individual student's progress as they complete the assignment. This essentially creates a platform to assess students on their involvement and progress in each lesson.

The flipping concept is derived from the teaching method that encourages classroom time as learning and interaction, while outside of the class students read, watch videos and can take assessment tests.

"Our goal here is to offer teachers free tools in a way they will find empowering," said TED Curator Chris Anderson, on the new TED Ed site. "This new platform allows them to take any useful educational video, not just TED's, and easily create a customized lesson plan around it. Great teaching skills are never displaced by technology. On the contrary, they're amplified by it. That's our purpose here: to give teachers an exciting new way to extend learning beyond classroom hours."

TED Ed is currently still recruiting animators and educators to be a part of the creation and curation of content on the website as it trickles into classrooms and homes across the globe.

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