Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 30-

While strictly-speaking this site is not very Web 2.0 in terms of its interactivity, TED Talks is certainly a highly useful site for educators. Based on the mission of curating "ideas worth spreading," the creators of the TED universe have provided a deep well of content-learning and inspiration from leaders across the world.

Exploration of this world begins with, but you can also find TED videos on YouTube, via the TED app, and through the TED podcasts. Also, a quick Google search will show that educators have curated lists of great TED videos in nearly every subject area (see below for some examples).

If you are looking for new ideas to spark your imagination or challenge your beliefs, TED is a great place to visit, and since there are new videos being added every day (thanks to annual conferences and TEDx events), there are always new ideas to explore.

The interactivity comes from responding to the videos through the TED community, by sharing the videos with colleagues and students, embedding the videos (which are not blocked by our firewalls) in your own blogs and websites, and ultimately attending, participating in, or even hosting a TEDx event (dare we dream?).

For now, we'll start small and stick to exploring the resource. Here are just a few of my favorite TED Talks:

Here are some other links that might guide your exploration as well:

8 Great TED Talks about the Future of Education and Teaching
Teaching With TED
TED ED Brain Trust
My Love Affair with TED
15 TED Talks for Teachers to Watch
Why Schools Need to Use TED Talks
Top 10 TED Talks for Music Education
25 Awe-Inspiring Science Talks on TED
15 Best TED Talks for History Buffs
20 Incredible TED Talks for Math Geeks

Your Assignment:

As your final assignment for the first-ever EVSC 30-Day Web 2.0 Challenge, we would like you to explore, identify a video that you could use in your classroom or in your professional practice, and describe how you would use that video to drive learning. Please share the title and speaker in your response so that the rest of us can find the video to which you refer in your response. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge this semester. Whether you completed every part or not, we hope that you will join us next Tuesday, December 13th at 3:00 at the TIC for a celebration for those who participated, and for the drawing of the winner of the iPad 2! If you want to make sure that all of your submissions have been accounted for, here is the link:

30-Day Challenge Tally Sheet


  1. My heart jumped when I loaded the page this morning...thanks Tim :-)

    My journey with TED has been a little convoluted. I didn't really pay attention to them at first because I thought they didn't have a whole lot of weight behind them. I don't know if that makes much sense, but, all I saw was "TED this..." and "TED that..." without any real explanation of what they were or how impacting they can be if you really pay attention.

    The first one I watched was Sir Ken Robinson's linked above. If you've never watched one, and you want to be a better teacher, stop reading and go watch it RIGHT NOW. It is really one of the best things I have ever heard on education practice...ever.

    I have two other favorites:
    1) Angela Maiers at TEDx Des Moines (the "x" means it was independently organized, not at the major TED stage).
    She really knows the hearts of kids today, especially those looking for meaning and purpose. We don't tell the kids often enough that we value what they have to give us and they get lost in the shuffle. Before I saw this, I asked all of my kids for their birthday so I could recognize them and give them something in class. It is something I've done in the past to show I care. This particular video put it into greater perspective and I'm expanding what I know about each learner ever day. My rapport is better and I'm able to help more kids because they know I care.

    2) Dan Meyer at TEDxNYED
    Dan is a math teacher that gets how to make math fun. I teach science, but I take his approach of minimalist, open questioning that spurs innovative thought and discussion over seemingly boring problems. Math and science do NOT have to be "I give, you regurgitate." By nature, they are disciplines that require curiosity and thought, and current curriculum silences those. Again, it helps me think through exactly what I am asking and the process I am giving kids to get there. Try this with your class...remove all the "necessary" information, the scaffolding, and the formula, and put kids to the task of thinking outside the box. You'll be amazed at the results they come up with.

    Sorry this is so long...I've really enjoyed following the challenge. Its a great idea and I know of one other colleague in New Jersey that is doing something with his school in the spring based on this model. The collaboration has been great and many thanks to the ICATS team for putting this all together.

  2. TED videos are great. They have loads of information and you can get some ideas for lessons and units. I really like the Dean Ornish says your genes are not your fate video. Most students may have the misconception that your genes set everything about them in stone. I like how Dean describes how your lifestyle and choices have an impact on your "fate" incorporation with your genes. For an activity, I can have a question like do your genes pre-set your "fate" or something similar. This could be either a mini-debate and/or Fishbowl conversation. After the students have taken sides, we could watch Dean Ornish's clip. We can then have another Fishbowl conversation and see how the students' thinking have changed.

  3. I really enjoy the TED videos on changing math education. As a math and science teacher, science classes are easy to adapt to real life and modern day activities. In my opinion, math classes are much harder. I constantly get the question, "When am I ever going to use this?"

    The video I chose for today's assignment is Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover. Here is the link:

    In his video, Dan talks about having the students formulate the problems rather than plug given numbers into an equation to solve the problem. Dan uses real life examples such as "How long will it take to fill this container?" and "Which grocery line should I choose?" Instead of giving the students the problem, he has his students create the problem themselves by determining what else they need to know.

    Dan has a blog ( where he posts his ideas for lessons for algebra and geometry classes. Unfortunately, some of the content is blocked by the EVSC filter so you'll have to use it at home.

    Next semester, instead of the typical bell ringer covering yesterday's material, I plan to break down a problem from the text book that the students haven't seen and have the students formulate the problem a la Dan Meyer. I expect the students to stare at me blankly the first few times, but hope by the end of the semester we can have some good conversations.

    I really like his idea for an expected value spinner found here:

  4. Like Brian, my heart went aflutter when I saw that TED talks was the last challenge. What an awesome challenge to end with! I was first introduced to TED by Dave Dimmett, who was talking about the Sir Ken Robinson piece. After going on TED once, I couldn't get enough. It makes me think, and makes me feel smarter because I always learn something new. The two that I have liked the most, and I have like SO SO many of them, are ones that really make me think about social justice and education. I think these types of talks are great for older kids because they help kids think about the bigger picture and the world they are a part of, and their role in bringing about social change.

    Here is one-about the Kiva project, which really called me to task about the nature of 'giving', and asks us if we do it for the sake of others, or do we do it to ease our own guilt.

    The second one is about one African American woman who is single handedly trying to make Brooklyn a 'greener' place! It is so important that the urban areas of our country have the opportunity to contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. Imagine what types of projects we could do locally with the same ideas? There may be certain areas of the school corp that are used to 'giving' while others are used to 'receiving'. What if we opened that up so that everyone has an opportunity to give back by living greener?

    And that is just the start! Thanks Michelle and the entire elearning team for being a ray of sunlight in my day for the last 30 days! I have learned, and grown, and had my creativity stretched in new ways. Thanks again!

  5. I really enjoy TED. I've browsed it off and on for the past couple of years. I also have the TED app loaded on all of our iPads here at Delaware. I often allow or even encourage my older students to browse, search, and watch videos I've found on different subjects.

    Here is a video I found this morning while searching TED. While I don't agree with 100% of what he is saying, it is extremely thought-provoking. The talk is from Sugata Mitra and it is entitled: The child-driven education.

    Here is the direct link:

    I have really enjoyed this 30 Day Challenge and feel very fortunate to have gained so much great information; not only from the tools, but also from the great educators that have contributed to this project. I certainly feel as if I will become a better teacher by integrating some of these resources and incorporating some of the great ideas fellow educators have contributed to this project.

  6. When browsing this morning, I found a video called "Bobby McFerrin hacks your brain." It is a demonstration where he moves right and left on the stage, and the audience was able to follow and sing the correct pitches on the pentatonic scale. It was very entertaining, and something I could definitely show and do with my chorus students.

    I also enjoyed reading the comments, particularly the one poster who made the connection that folk music around the world is built on the pentatonic scale, that it is a "lowest common denominator that our brains can all agree on." Very cool.

    I have enjoyed being a part of this 30 day challenge! I have learned about several new tools that are now a part of what I do every day in my classroom. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen for us!

  7. Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks)
    By Sebastian Wernicke

    I have been on this website before and have found a lot of videos that are inspiring and thought-provoking. While the easy way out of this entry was to say that students were to go to the site and find one on their own, I found one in particular that I have used before.

    When it comes to writing and researching, I spend some time talking about how statistics and information can lie, that people can present information in a way that will make it support their own position even if it really doesn't. My initial inspiration for this was Al Franken's segment in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them called "How to lie with numbers". He talks about how you can present data in a way that can confuse the reader.

    I teach this part so that students are aware that they can not just believe anything they read and that they have to be active readers, questioning and analyzing everything. All information can be misrepresented, and readers have to be aware of that.

    This video does two things for my teaching of writing, in particular persuasive writing. I would show this to my class as an example of what I was talking about. I have used this to introduce the concept, then discuss it.

    First, it shows how data can be twisted to show anything you want. The speaker here took data and used it to show what made people like a particular TedTalk. Of course the color of shirt the speaker or what graphics they used didn't really go into the audience's reaction, but data can show you things that might or might not really be there.

    Secondly, I like it for just what it shows, that imitation is good when it comes to writing. Ok, I am not saying that I want students to copy others' style, but they should look at works that they appreciate or think work, and actively deconstruct it to find out why it worked for them. Once they find those elements, they can then try to incorporate that into their own writing style.

  8. TED is so good, I'm back for another.

    Adora Svitak is a 13 year old writer admonishing a room filled with adults to listen to kids more. Far too often, I'm sitting in my own head, thinking about what *I* think they need to know, rather than giving them opportunities to show me what they have learned. Anyways, its a shortie (10 minutes) but a goodie. Take a look:

  9. Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers

    I listened to this talk during my plan period today. This would not be a video I would show in my classroom, but I enjoyed hearing him speak about the importance of pushing forward with using computers in the math classroom, especially for calculations. He talks about how more of an emphasis needs to be on thinking about the real world problem and application and leave the calculations to our highly advanced computers. This is the way of the work force today.

    This is a similar to a daily back-and-forth issue I face. I want the kids to hand-write notes sometimes but they beg to use the computer. I find myself thinking about how it would be easier for ME to just have them write (because that is my comfort zone). I am always amazed at how when I do give in and have the students use the ActivInspire software, they end up teaching me shortcuts to make the process faster for us all. We have made some pretty impressive graphs, too.

    I have truly enjoyed this challenge and hope to see more ideas and good websites to try in the future.

  10. I was first introduced to TED in a coaches' meeting last year. I am glad I was reminded of it today. I listened to a talk given by Coach John Wooden. It really spoke to me because of the students I teach. I typically teach small groups which consists of the most struggling students. Often times, they compare themselves to their peers, and the older they get, the harder it is for them to "keep their head up." I have often told my students that all I ask of them is their very best. That sentiment was the main point of Coach Wooden. He said you can only be the best you can be because you can only control yourself, not others. He said that his definition of success is "peace of mind knowing you did the best of which you are capable." I think these are words to live by personally and professionally for myself, and what I should encourage in all of my students. The idea of only being able to worry about the things we can control is a good lesson in student behaviors as well. Often times, our students get so worked up over what every one else is doing. I am constantly trying to tell the kids that what others do is out of their control. They need to focus on their OWN actions. That is what counts. While I probably wouldn't share the talk directly with my students, it has certainly offered me pause to reflect on my own teaching practices and attitude.

    This 30-day challenge has certainly shown me an entire world of tools I did not know existed and reaquainted me with those I have forgotten. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you invested!

  11. Forgot to post the link...

  12. This is the first time I have heard of TED. In my search for a great video on math, I found: Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers. It's a bit lengthy, but I felt it was worth the watch.
    The title caught my eye since my students came preloaded with two things: a dislike of math and a computer! Listening to Wolfram, I agreed with much of what he says and have struggled with finding ways to make students enjoy, or at the very least not despise, math. Too often I am only teaching how to calculate. I forget to include why it works or why you would ever need it. Wolfram suggests using computers, calculators, and light computer programming to incorporate math into the student's lives. It gives it a practical application. We have to let students follow in their own interests. Now, I'm not great at programming, but I'm feeling a project where they pick their dream job or career and create a presentation of how they would need math in that profession. This would require some deep thinking on their part.
    I like that TED has a transcript of the speech as well. It's helpful to be able to go back in and read some of the parts I found most interesting. I also like that some videos are meant for my development, while others could be used with students. TED is like going to a professional development conference without needing a sub. Thanks for sharing!

  13. My favorite is by Sir Ken Robinson - the RSA Changing Education Paradigms. It is one of the 8 Great TED talks for the future of education linked above. I have used TED with my advanced classes in the past. It provokes a lot of discussion. TED has a way of changing the way you think about a subject. I find them both professionally and personally stimulating. Students enjoy the idea of turning a concept on its head and discussing it at length. Great resource!

  14. What a neat collection of speakers, thinkers, inventors, and all around interesting people. I could have used this website a few years ago when taking a master’s course that studied the impact of our digital lifestyle on today's generation.
    The search I did returned an interesting video: How to live to 100+. (

    We talk about society, diet, cultural, and lifestyle differences all the time in class. One of the questions I've gotten several years in a row: Why do the Japanese live so much longer than Americans. This video can help to explain that. Especially since the world's highest population of centurion females reside in Japan. Since this clip is short, I could fit it in when we do discuss this topic in class. I could envision doing a unit about diet and lifestyle differences which in turn connects health class with Japanese. I even took it a step further and found some materials to start developing the unit with.

    One thing I found helpful was that you can subtitle any video in 29 languages.

    Thanks all for your thoughts and contributions on this challenge. I've enjoyed the tools and have walked always with at least a book full of knowledge from all of you. I'll see you at the meeting!

  15. I had heard of TED talks, but did not know a lot about it. I watched the video Arthur Benjamin does "Mathemagic" and it was very interesting to listen to. He talked about how using calculators are not always easier or faster to use than your brain. It was fun to see Arthur battle people using a calculator and getting them right faster than they could type it out.
    Often, our students seem to want to use a crutch or be given the answer instead of doing the work themselves. I find that in math class, my students want to take a short cut rather than work the whole problem out. I would show this video to my students in hopes that they might see that taking a short cut is not always the way to go nor will it give you the anwer faster at times. Also they would be able to see that there are tricks to solving math problems and can make math easier and more fun. It will also, I am hoping, help students gain the confidence in math they need and inspire them to want to excel in math. It is amazing what the brain can do when you are determined to solve a problem.


    This is a wonderful collection of speakers. What a great way to bring quality guest speakers to your classroom. This site provides opportunities for students to listen to speakers that we as educators never would have had the opportunity to listen to.

    the video I chose was from Allan Jones, the CEO of the Allen Institute of Brain Science. I have a collection of video clips that I use to introduce the different body systems we study in Anatomy. I think students would find this an interesting video to kick off the Nervous System Unit.

  17. Here is a link to a TED talk that I love
    It gave me a brand new way of thinking about teaching math, especially problem solving. Dan Meyer teaches at the high school level but his ideas about the use of multimedia, encouraging student intuition, asking the shortest question, letting students build the problem and being less helpful (as the teacher) really gets at creative and intuitive problem solving! At the elementary level I can see his approach being used by setting up real life math situations (either with objects and people in the classroom or with media/videos, etc.)and getting students to "build their own story problems" Elementary students could figure out how to set up a problem to adjust a recipe, students could figure out how to set up a problem to find out how long it takes the class to walk to the cafeteria, etc.

  18. Speaker: Marcus du Sautoy Title: Symmetry, reality's riddle.
    I found a video about symmetry. Teaching fourth grade, symmetry is one of my math standards. This can be a fun lesson to teach, but I found much more by looking at this video. There are some parts irrelevant to fourth graders (actually quite a bit) but there are tidbits that give you ideas to show children. There's a lot more to symmetry than I ever knew!

  19. I love Ted Talks! Last summer, during our PBL training, our presenter showed us two Sir Ken Robinson talks. I was intrigued with Ted Talks and had to check it out. What a tremendous library of speakers. I showed my middle school students Adora Svitak's talk on educating educators. It is thought provoking and motivational. I recommend watching it. She is quite accomplished for such a young age.

    I agree that this is a great way to bring speakers into the classroom. With the wonderful technology provided in our classrooms, Ted Talks are a great way to "bring in" speakers.

  20. First off thanks to all the ICATS for hosting this challenge! What a great time I had and boy did I learn a ton of new things that I can implement in the classroom. Thanks to all those who participated as well. I really enjoyed tapping so many great educators brains for ideas. Now if only Vogel could get some up to date technology so I can start to share this with my staff and the students!
    I had not heard of this so I was looking through all the topics covered, WOW!
    We are getting ready to study the whole geometry/symmetry thing and I often teach them some easy oragami. I found this on Ted that I think the students would find fascinating as an intro.
    love Keith Barry and his Brain Magic. He has a show on TV and it still floors me. I think I would use this with teachers to see that it is easier than we think to influence our students. I only wish I knew how to do it! What a powerful way to start a staff meeting for the start of the year.
    I also like the JK Rowling commencement speech. Very inspirational for kids who have failures and someone they might know.
    So many others that look too interesting and not enough time or space! I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday.

  21. Jerhord, Thanks for adding that post about symmetry. I will have to check that out for when I come back from break to help with the lessons.


    This uses light and animation for a music video, which instantly reminded me of fantasia. It would be a great addition to a lesson about music expression with movement and light, and how videos don't have to be a mini movie, but can be expressed as a total change from the story of the original music.
    I think was a great resource, though I found it more of a teacher resource, than for most of my elementary classes. Using short videos like this one would be great for the 5th grade, though.
    Thanks for all the tips, icats, it has been really fun doing this!

  23. I have heard of TED and been exposed to a few of the videos at various professional developments and classes. I spent a large chunk of time watching different videos since this post went up. There are so many great and thought provoking videos that it is hard to make a decision.

    However, I did find one by Ken Robinson focusing on how schools kill creativity and how they should instead nurture it. As we integrate more and more technology I encourage my own students to create things, whether its an art project or some visual aid to demonstrate their understanding of a novel or a certain concept. This is not always true in other classrooms and other schools. The video and Ken's ideas were really interesting.

    I could see myself using many videos from TED, and maybe even this particular video, to spawn social awareness discussions in my class. This would really help make students aware of what is going on around them in the wolrd, their country, and even the school system. TED videos would make a great addition to a social issue study and research project for my students as well.

  24. Arthur Benjamin's formula for changing math education.
    This was the video I watched. Very interesting, and I agree. Calculus is not used in every day life. Calculus will not be used by most people in everyday life. Statistics will be. Statistics can be used in games gambling stock market world series... We should prepare most of our students for statistics, not calculus.
    I should allow students to be good at these things and not necessarily make them understand calculus if that is not something that they will need later on.

  25. WOW this sucked me in and I could watch these all day!
    I also watched the Ken Robinson video of how schools kill creativity. I've been feeling this way for awhile and am trying hard to change this in my classroom while still doing what needs to be done. Hard to find the balance! :)

  26. This is my favorite TED talk that I've seen so far - I love the animation that goes with Dr. Ken Robinson as well:

    TED talks are very addicting for me - if I watch one, a few hours later I'm on a completely different topic. I had never thought of using one for my students though. Its seems exciting to me to choose a TED talk on something science-related, and then have the students write a research paper on that topic. Or allow them to choose their talk for their paper.

    I think just educating my students about how to find TED talks would be a great thing, because I know a lot of them would be interested in watching.
    Simply pulling in relevant TED talks to the classroom would be fun. "15 Amazing TED talks for Chemistry Geeks"

  27. Here is my absolute favorite: it is more geared towards the view/ state of education. This is an animated adaptation to the original but amazing! Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity:

    Another I found refers to how we are losing our listening. I think this one could be powerful for students to maybe wake them up to this simple fact and give some pointers but also for teachers to see the same:
    "Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better."

  28. OK I could not only pick one, I found two great speakers on Ted. This first one is a great speech at at city council meeting that discusses bullying gets the message out there the this trend is hurting kids and it needs to stop but it also tells kids there is hope.

    This next video I think should be shown to as many students as possible we need to start early getting our kids to understand that they can be a part of change. I think there are so many kids who want to help others but don't think they can...they're just kids. This video shows it is possible and that every kid has it inside of them.

    Great videos that I would use as discussion starters not only for kids but parents and teachers as well.

  29. I have watched several TED videos (for math geeks). My favorite has to be Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs A Makeover. I couldn't agree more. He challenges the word problems in text books and shows how little thinking is needed to solve the problems. Typically, the exact information and formulas are given, so students don’t even have to really think about how they would solve the problem. Meyer demonstrates how to take a problem, dissect, and reconstruct it to promote critical thinking on how to solve it. He also stresses the importance of making the problems more realistic with pictures and videos. Great video--challenging and inspiring. It is not necessarily a video that I would show my students, rather it is one that will help improve my professional practice.

    Although this is my favorite, there are many other TED talks that are great. You can easily spend hours watching them. I enjoyed the one that Dionne posted on love and poverty. I probably can’t directly use it in math class, but sure can use it in life, which will spill over into my classroom.

  30. I learned about TED when I attended the Authorspeak conference this fall. The CEO of Solution Tree patterned his conference after the TED concept. The authors had 45 minutes to talk about their book/research. Just 45 minutes. It was great.

    My favorite TED video is Arthur Benjamin's formula for Changing Math Education. He proposes to take the focus off of advanced math in high school to statistics and probability. I am sending this out to the math resource committee to review as we look at resources for math and the common core.