TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading big ideas through a series of conferences and a free video platform, has continued its expansion into education by launching a brand-new TED-Ed website with tools to help instructors use video in the classroom.
The new platform allows educators to customize videos with follow-up questions and assignments, TED says—an initiative that could help power the “flipped learning” model.
This is the second phase of TED’s expansion into education, following the launch of a TED-Ed YouTube channel last month with several educational videos. (See “Free video lessons offered by leaders in innovation, thinking.”) Five weeks after its launch, the channel has attracted more than 2.4 million views, 42,000 subscribers, and more than 3,000 comments, TED says.
With the new TED-Ed platform, “you can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube,” the organization says.
In other words, the site allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on a class or an individual student.
Instructors also can browse TED content based on the subject they teach. Each video on the TED-Ed site is tagged to a curriculum subject and is accompanied by supplementary materials to help professors and students use or understand the video lesson. Supplementary materials include multiple-choice questions, open-answer questions, and links to more information on the topic.
But the most innovative feature of the site is that educators can customize these elements using a new functionality called “flipping.” When a video is flipped, the supplementary materials can be edited, and the resulting lesson is rendered on a new and private web page. The creator of the lesson then can distribute it and track an individual student’s progress as he or she completes the assignment.
What’s more, visitors to the site are not restricted to flipping the featured TED-Ed videos: They also can create a lesson from scratch using any video from YouTube that permits third-party embedding. Users can offer these lessons for wider distribution, and the best of them will be featured on the TED-Ed site for others to make use of.
“Our goal here is to offer teachers free tools in a way they will find empowering,” said TED Curator Chris Anderson. “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’s commitment to creating “lessons worth sharing” is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas, the organization says. The platform was made possible by a $1.25 million grant from Kohl’s Department Stores.