TechnoStorm

TED blends animation with education at new website

The non-profit group behind the thought-provoking TED conferences launched a website devoted to video lessons cleverly crafted to captivate students.

A beta version of TED-Ed website went live at ed.ted.com on Wednesday with an open invitation to teachers to use video clips from its nascent library or Google-owned YouTube for assignments.

TED curator Chris Anderson introduced the website as an innovative, open platform for using video in education.

"It allows any teacher to take a video of their choice and make it the heart of a 'lesson' that can easily be assigned in class or as homework, complete with context, follow-up questions and further resources," Anderson said.

TED-Ed's mission is to make learning irresistible by teaming top teachers with talented animators in fun videos that entertain while imparting knowledge.

The website -- backed by a $1.25 million commitment from US department store chain Kohl's -- lets teachers build real-world lessons around educational videos.

"This new platform allows them to take any useful educational video, not just TED's, and easily create a customized lesson plan around it," Anderson said.

"Great teaching skills are never displaced by technology," he continued. "On the contrary, they're amplified by it.

The website is the second phase of a TED-Ed project started last month with the launch of an education channel on YouTube.

Videos at youtube.com/tededucation logged more than 2.4 million views and attracted approximately 42,000 subscribers in the five weeks after TED launched the channel.

"We want to show that learning can be thrilling," Anderson said when TED-Ed went live at YouTube.

"By turning great lessons into vivid scholastic tools, these TED-Ed videos are designed to catalyze curiosity," he continued.

Videos were designed to be captivating and short, lasting no longer than 10 minutes so teachers could easily show them to students in real-world classrooms.

The channel's offerings joined more than a half-million education-oriented videos on dedicated pages of Google-owned YouTube at youtube.com/edu.

Views of educational content on YouTube doubled in the last year, according to the leading video sharing service.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit that organizes a series of conferences dedicated to "ideas worth spreading." Speakers are given only 18 minutes to deliver "the talk of their lives."

Videos of "TED Talks" have attracted a global following online at ted.com.

TED presenters are known for combining dizzying brain power with mind-tickling spins on concepts as weighty as climate change and the devastation of sea life or as playful as dance and music.

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