Top 10 TED Talks for Ed Tech

Written by Kajeet on April 10, 2017

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TED Talks have spread ideas since 1984 and continue to spark passion for a variety of topics, from business to education, or anything in between. TED has created a playlist of education talks, but there’s a lot to go through.

We pulled out our top 10 talks for educators, from makerspaces to computers and all things digital. Enjoy!

1. Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education – Sal Khan

What better way to start our top TED videos than with a talk from Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy. Khan shares his story behind how he started creating educational videos for his cousins, and how it evolved into free online courses, lessons, and practices for students and even some parents struggling to recall algebra.

From Khan’s initial videos, teachers began to use flipped learning. Teachers would assign Khan videos for homework, and students would work on what used-to-be homework during classtime.

Khan emphasizes the importance of practicing concepts for as long as necessary until the student reaches mastery. This is a great video for teachers who are looking to flip the classroom and move toward more personalized and engaged education.

2. Bring on the Learning Revolution! – Ken Robinson

Today’s schools are moving toward personalized learning as they turn away from the traditional lecture-based classrooms. In this 2010 talk, Ken Robinson follows up on a previous TED talk to exclaim that education does not need a learning evolution, but a revolution.

Robinson calls for education to be customized to the student in order to fuel their spirit and truly engage them in their passion. In a truly captivating speech, anyone considering personalized learning should watch this talk, and see how educators can shape individual student experiences.

3. Let’s Bridge the Digital Divide! – Aleph Molinari

“The digital divide is…a child who can’t finish his homework because he doesn’t have access to information,” said Aleph Molinari as he began his talk. He continued on to describe the digital divide as the “new illiteracy.”

This talk addresses our mission at Kajeet to close the Homework Gap, which has been created from this growing divide between students with Internet access at home and students without. Even though this talk was a few years ago, the gap continues to widen. Check out how Molinari creates digital citizens in Mexico by providing access to technology education.

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4. A Delightful Way to Teach Kids About Computers – Linda Liukas

Linda Liukas wrote a children’s book about the world of computers, and is the founder of Rails Girls, a movement teaching young women programming across the world. Her TED talk focuses on helping kids see computers as expressive machines, not mechanical, boring, or too complicated machines to understand.

“Unless we give them tools to build with computers, we are raising only consumers instead of creators,” said Liukas.  As we’ve seen, teaching students how to code is growing in popularity. Educating students on how to effectively, and safely, use computers can help teach them problem solving, analytical skills, and more.

5. How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

This video is an empowering talk for educators who are looking to make a positive impact in the lives of students. Linda Cliatt-Wayman shares three slogans she has embraced to bring about real change to schools labeled “low-performing and persistently dangerous." The slogans are:

  • ‘If You Are Going to Lead, Lead.’
  • ‘So What, Now What?’
  • ‘If Nobody Told You They Loved You Today, Remember I Do.’

Check out this talk and be inspired to lead with passion and love.

6. Let’s Teach Kids to Code– Mitch Resnick

While most people refer to today’s youth as ‘digital natives,’ Mitch Resnick believes they have familiarity of new technologies, but don’t know how to express or write with these technologies. Resnick, director of Lifelong Kindergarten, MIT Media Lab, explains the importance of coding for students.

Also, if you like this TED talk, make sure to read our latest blog on students learning to code.

7. Let's Teach for Mastery – Not Test Scores – Sal Khan

Yes, we’re including another Sal Khan video, but this idea of teaching for mastery will be sure to spark passion and excitement for educators. The traditional education model is to teach a lesson or segment, then move on after the pre-determined amount of time. Yet, if students have not mastered the original subject, they are still pushed on to the more advanced level.

Adjusting lesson plans for each student used to seem near impossible logistically. But now students have a variety of options to help them master a subject – on-demand video, adaptive exercises, and more. This is another great video for those moving toward personalized learning and tailoring education for students.

8. How Games Make Kids Smarter – Gabe Zichermann

Gamification of the classroom is another trend that has surfaced in the world of education recently. Gabe Zichermann, an entrepreneur and author who focuses on gamification, shares how games can make kids better problem-solvers and help them multi-task. If you’re interested in a game-based curriculum, check out this video, which includes many research-based statements, and enjoy Zichermann’s passion for gaming that started at a young age.

9. We Are Makers – Dale Dougherty

Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Make Magazine, and creator of Maker Faire, starts his talk by saying, “we are all makers.” He emphasizes that America was built by makers and touches on different tools to tinker with.

While this talk focuses on Maker Faires for people of all ages, this is a growing trend in the K-12 space. Makerspaces can help students advance their 21st-century skills of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

10. How to Escape Education’s Death Valley– Ken Robinson

What better way to round out the list than with another talk from the humorous, passionate Ken Robinson? In this talk, he continues to address the need for a learning revolution. Robinson addresses the large number of student drop-outs, in part due to disengaged students.

According to Robinson, the highest-performing schools around the world do the following: individualize teaching and learning; invest in professional development; and, give the responsibility to the school to determine what actions they need to take to drive students toward success. Watch this video and encourage fellow educators to leave the ‘Death Valley’ of education.

And, to end on a high note, here’s one extra TED Talk for you to enjoy, “Teach Teachers How to Create Magic,” by Christopher Emdin.

What TED Talks have you found inspiring as an educator?

Topics: Digital Learning, Ed Tech Inspiration


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