Who remembers the Schoolhouse Rock videos? When I was in third grade, our teacher showed us the multiplication series to learn our times tables. We lived for the days she showed us those videos because they were fun to watch. They were animated, had catchy music (Elementary, my dear — two times two is four!), and were full of sophisticated third-grade humor. I’ll admit, I still use the tune of the “threes” video song to remember my multiples of threes. (Three, six, nine! Twelve, fifteen, eighteen –Twenty-one! — Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven…thirty…)
My point is, these videos helped me retain useful information, and I never felt like I was really learning in the process. TED-Ed, an extension of the TED organization, makes videos for students to present interesting lessons in an engaging way. So far, most of the videos on the website are geared towards an older audience — more like middle school and beyond. But in the same way Schoolhouse Rock‘s multiplication series held a class of thirty-seven third graders absolutely spellbound, the videos on Ted-Ed are meant to engage older students by presenting animated, often funny, and most importantly, educational videos about a variety of subjects.
We here at Technapex love what TED-Ed is doing, and in honor of our flipped classroom theme today, I thought I’d post a list of some of my favorite Ted-Ed videos.
Why do Americans vote on Tuesdays?
I found Jacob Soboroff’s talk to be pretty funny, and it raised an interesting historical question that is actually quite relevant in politics today. This video could spark an interesting discussion in a social studies class.
How to speed up chemical reactions (and get a date)
This clever video takes a relatively complicated concept and simplifies it so that even a chemistry dunce like me can understand it.
Why videos go viral
Kevin Alloca, trends manager at Youtube, explains the three reasons a video goes viral. Students will crack up as he replays recent hits like “Double Rainbow,” “Friday,” and “Nyan Cat,” and won’t even realize they’re learning an interesting lesson in culture and sociology.
The power of simple words
English teacher pet peeve: when students get thesaurus-happy and start using words like “expostulation” and “vicissitude” completely out of context. This video is a great lesson in the importance of word choice when writing for a particular audience.
Best stats you’ve ever seen
A little long, but Swedish professor Hans Rosling kept my attention and kept me laughing for 20 minutes — while he was talking about statistics. I’m sold.
How life begins in the deep ocean
The narrator’s slightly eerie voice is like a seduction attempt gone wrong, but the videography is amazing — the images of the sea urchin’s growth and development are absolutely stunning.
Just how small is an atom?
After watching this clever video, I can tell you myself — way small!
The key to media’s hidden codes
When I was in high school, a social studies teacher had us create “Propaganda Portfolios” in which we had to analyze printed advertisements so that we’d be more aware of how easily manipulated consumers are. To this day I remember all the different advertising techniques he taught us. This video reminded me of that project.
Sex determination: more complicated than you thought
This quirky video was actually really informative — who knew that ants don’t have fathers and that a turtle’s gender is dependent upon the weather?
What are your favorite Ted-Ed videos? Sound off in the comments below!