By Kevin Nicolls

If you haven’t introduced your teens to the growing world of TED Talks, they have been missing out. Redefining the way we receive ideas about technology, entertainment and design, these short 15-20 minute talks to inspire and engage students. They push the boundaries of the ways we can educate our students, focusing on thought-provoking discussions with a global reach.

TED’s mission is:

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

While changing the scope of education wasn’t TED’s direct mission, it certainly is a positive by-product. And because of the growing use in academia, especially high schools, TED created an entire free, online community-based platform through TED Ed to spur collaborative learning, fueled by educational videos combined with in-depth lessons that engage students globally with top thought leaders and educators.

The TED Ed platform develops videos focused on high-quality lessons in a captivating manner through establishing relationships with exceptional educators and animators. The aim is to amplify the reach of educators who are currently changing the lives of students, as well as to present the lessons in an entertaining, and even comical, manner. This enhances not only the effectiveness of teaching, with students being engaged and entertained while learning, but also keeps them hungry to learn more.

Through TED Ed, users can implement previous lesson plans, modify current ones or create custom lessons plans to accompany any video. Not limited to just TED videos, the platform also integrates educational YouTube videos, further expanding the reach of topics. Other features include the ability to embed additional resources and add multiple-choice or open-comment questions within the lesson.

To check it out yourself, try out any of the top 10 TED-Ed lessons, or click on the example above.

TED Talks are only one of the many ways technology is redefining the way we view education, opening endless possibilities for students. At Coronado Pathways Charter School, we are working to go farther in leveraging technology-based education to create more opportunities for students, whether that is for them to dive deeper into learning, learn at their own pace, explore their passions, or further develop their individual talents.

Kevin Nicolls is the director of Coronado Pathways Charter School and a lifelong education professional.

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