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TED, the conference dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” took a step forward in its educational mission today by launching a TEDEd video channel on YouTube. Shorter than the 18-minute TED talks that have racked up 500 million views, these videos feature a combination of talking heads from TED stages and animation (artwork by Fast Company Most Creative Person Sunni Brown, among others) tackling topics like neuroscience and evolution for a high-school-aged audience. The channel allows viewers to nominate teachers they know to create their own TEDEd videos with production and distribution support from TED.

I was at TED last year when they announced this new education initiative, with no details, and quite honestly, I thought they were going to come up with something a little more exciting than a new set of videos. (This was the same TED where Sal Khan of Khan Academy also spoke.) Something that built on the viral platform they have going on with TEDx, (expanding the TEDx Kids/Youth or TEDxNYED programs?) and/or something that recognized the work that teachers out there are already doing to bring TED videos into their lesson plans. Or at least something with an adaptive learning platform to match what they have tried to do with TED Conversations.

Instead, what they’ve created with TEDEd’s starter set of videos is just a fancier lecture-like tool, with TED’s trademark high production values. On the press call Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, hinted at some interactive tools to come next month. In the meantime, teachers will no doubt continue to talk amongst themselves about the best ways to use TED videos in the classroom.

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