If you had told me two years ago that I would be happily enrolled in grad classes with technology as their focus, I would have laughed at the absolute hilarity of ME – a technologically challenged 40 something year old – willingly working with technology. But here we are. I truly enjoy delving into what ed tech can offer to my students and to me by extension.
Imagine trying to teach high school students about irony. Now imagine doing so for every class you teach every semester every year of your career. That’s a lot of talking about irony! We know students tune us out sometimes… just like we tuned out our teachers! So maybe there is something we can use to grab their attention and have their learning be a bit more fun.
For the blog assignment this week, I chose to look further into a tool I could use in my classroom. I originally started by searching Khan Academy … but found the topics did not fit what I was looking for. I did find a useful grammar component on Khan but it wasn’t something I could utilize with the course I’m planning for my project (which I talked about in last week’s blog post). Khan Academy is pretty interesting, though, and you should check out Melinda’s blog post about her findings!
After dismissing Khan Academy as an option, I decided to take a look at TED-Ed and TED-Ed Animations for teaching. For those of you wondering…
What is TED-Ed?TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the ideas of teachers and students around the world. Everything we do supports learning — from producing a growing library of original animated videos , to providing an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons, to helping curious students around the globe bring TED to their schools and gain presentation literacy skills, to celebrating innovative leadership within TED-Ed’s global network of over 250,000 teachers. TED-Ed has grown from an idea worth spreading into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the world every week. source
What are TED-Ed Animations?TED-Ed Animations are our signature content: short, award-winning animated videos about ideas that spark the curiosity of learners everywhere. Every TED-Ed Animation represents a creative collaboration between experts. Such experts may include TED Speakers and TED Fellows, as well as educators, designers, animators, screenwriters, directors, science writers, historians, journalists and editors. These original animated videos, paired with questions and resources, make up what we refer to as TED-Ed Lessons. source
I signed up for a TED-Ed educator account and dove right in to the fabulous world of TED-Ed videos.
One of the videos that caught my attention was Situational Irony: the opposite of what you think. After watching this video I was sold on the idea of using TED-Ed in my classroom (like why have I never done this before?). I’ve used TED talks with my students in the past, mostly as listening activities, but I didn’t realize that I could customize or enhance the content of the videos (indeed, ANY video online) for use in my classroom with my students.
Just to give you an idea of what can be done with TED-Ed and how quickly you can start using it:
- Sign up for an Educator account. They will ask you to check your email and verify your account. Easy peasy! TED-Ed even sent me some how-to emails for creating a TED-Ed lesson and how to review your students’ work on your lesson. Whoa. So helpful!
- Begin browsing videos. Knowing I wanted to discuss irony with my students in the next week, I searched for videos about irony. There were a few that popped up. Here’s a quick screen capture of this process!
- Watch the video…. and then Customize the Lesson! That’s right! There is a red button to push (we know we like to push buttons) that will allow you as a teacher to develop a lesson for your students to use.
- Once you have customized the lesson to your liking, Publish your lesson! I liked the questions and material that was already linked to the video so I published it to my account as it was. I’m sure once I begin using the lesson, I will tweak the questions and add some more links to help enhance my students’ learning, but for now I will go with what is done!
- After you publish, you are given options of how you’d like to share with your students. You can require them to have an account, or you can email them the lesson, or share through other avenues such as a special link or on social media. For me, the TED-Ed account or email is preferable, but I used the link creator so I could share it with you!
- Students can work through the lesson online – watching the video, responding to the set questions, and digging deeper to find out more information about the topic. Their work is saved for me to go in and review/assess. Awesome!
I did all of these steps above within a 30 minute time span, and that included watching the video and looking through all of the content! So the ease of use is definitely one of the biggest strengths of this tool. Another strength of using TED-Ed as a tool is that there are already a variety of videos ready to use. Reinventing a lesson each time is totally at my discretion. I can use the videos as they are, or I can add my own content to the video lesson. This is so valuable to me as an educator who is often strapped for time. Plus, it’s free. Huge bonus. It is incredibly easy to use and there is help available should one need access to it. There is an ever-expanding library of videos that are ready to use which is fantastic! The content is designed for students and teachers so there is some comfort there in knowing that the content is appropriate and relevant to our classrooms – though I will ALWAYS preview everything I show to my classes, it is nice to have content that is supported and made available by a reputable and reliable organization. A strength for my students is that they can replay the video however many times they need in order to learn the material – unlike in the classroom where I say things a few times and then we are moving on.
One of the weaknesses is that if a video for a topic I want to cover doesn’t already exist, I would have to create something myself. I could search for relevant content online or create my own video content. Again, this would take time … but the flip side of that is that creating content is not as difficult as I once thought. Like my classmate Nataly talks about in her blog post, using a screen capture tool like Screencastify can help me create my own content. I think, overall, the value of using this tool far outweighs the weaknesses. Eventually I feel that I could create my own content, using some of the tools and apps that I’ve learned about in the last few years such as Bitmoji, screen capturing tools, and voice recording. TED-Ed can provide me with content for use right now and I can search for other content to adapt using TED-Ed.