TED Gives ‘Em Something to Talk About

With the click of a mouse, you can bring a world of expert guest lecturers into your classroom. The fine folks over at TED (that’s Technology, Entertainment, and Design) have posted a treasure trove of video goodness – 1,700 “talks” at last count – that you could use as anticipatory activities, discussion starters, or models of dynamic public speaking.

It’s fine to simply have students watch a TED Talk and discuss the talking points afterward, but I like to give my students a concrete task to guide their viewing. By completing this FREE worksheet as they view a presentation, they’re better-able to organize their thoughts, which leads to a richer class discussion when the time comes to talk about the issues raised by the speaker.

You could show a TED Talk in class and have students complete the worksheet. You could use this as a homework assignment, where students watch an assigned video at home and complete the worksheet. Or you could take your whole class to the computer lab, have students plug in their earbuds, and complete the worksheet on any TED Talk of their choosing. The sheet will even work great as an emergency sub plan.

Not familiar with TED Talks? Here are two of my favorites. The first is a speech about storytelling that shows students how a presenter with controlled passion can effectively use technology to deliver a point and charm an audience:

Joe Sabia’s “The Technology of Storytelling”

The second is a bit longer and more of a thinker for my fellow educators. This one has made the rounds at countless professional development workshops, but the sentiment is sincere and the humor pointed:

Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

Grab a cup of coffee and visit www.ted.com (or search TED Talks on Youtube). You’re certain to find something that will complement lessons you’re already teaching or inspiration to create something new.


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