TED is a small non-profit devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading.’ It began in 1984 as a conference, bringing together leaders in the fields of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The TED website makes a selection of the best talks and performances available to view and download for free. All of the talks feature closed captions in English, and many feature subtitles in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. If you subscribe to a news reader such as Google Reader you can also subscribe to new talks here.
I’ve used TED in the classroom to inspire my learners, to bring attention to important world events, to listen to debates and form opinions, to create and stimulate inquiry, to activate prior knowledge, to offer career and life-skills knowledge, and as a writing prompt.
The following TED talk is a debate and asks the question, “Does the world need nuclear energy?” It compares the future of burning fossil fuels energy against the possibility of increasing nuclear power production. Obviously, the vocabulary used in these talks are not necessarily intermediate grade friendly but I feel it serves as a great introduction to a debate writing unit for grade 6, or an introduction to non-renewable resources in covered in B.C. science 6.
It’s simple to use TED as an engaging way to meet many learning outcomes in British Columbia and beyond. Here are a few examples which link specific TED talks directly to B.C. learning outcomes:
B.C. PLO Science grade 5: Earth and Space Science: Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources
- analyze how BC’s living and non-living resources are used
- identify methods of extracting or harvesting and processing BC’s resources
- describe potential environmental impacts of using BC’s living and non-living resources
B.C. PLO English Language Arts grade 6:
- Oral Language: A1 use speaking and listening to interact with others
- Reading and viewing: B9 read and view to improve and extend thinking
- Writing and representing: C2 write a variety of effective informational writing for a range of purposes and audiences that communicates ideas to inform or persuade
Why use TED?
- It’s real
- It’s relevant
- It’s current
- It connects classroom’s with people making positive change in the world.
Check it out and let me know what you think.