11 Quick and Insightful TED Talks for Educators

11 Quick and Insightful TED Talks for Educators
Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

11 Quick and Insightful TED Talks for Educators

Posted in News | December 04, 2017

Do you have a few minutes? I know you're busy. Most of you reading this work in education, and time is your most valuable resource.

But no matter how big your to-do list gets or how many projects you leave unfinished for yet another day, it's important to make time to be inspired. After all, no amount of time can make up for a daily drudge of uninspired, passion-draining work. On the other hand, all the inspiration in the world and no time to use it may be equally frustrating.

Lucky for you, this post lives in the "goldilocks zone"—the sweet spot between time-sensitive and life changing. Below are 11 short and powerful stories from TED, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading ideas.

Think of them as a kind of inspirational espresso shot. Feel free to watch (or listen to) one during a break and come back for more later or binge it all right now. Either way, you'll be glad you did.

5 TED Talks for Teachers

The following TED Talks show teachers what excellence in teaching means in the context of transforming the student experience.


"Math Class Needs a Makeover" by Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer demonstrates transformative education in action. His ideas about how teachers can present mathematics knowledge and encourage math skills application are progressive and provocative. He challenges the notion that math is about solving problems and presents a model where formulating problems becomes the key mathematical skill for demonstrating creative thinking and excellence.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Hey Science Teachers—Make It Fun" by Tyler DeWitt

How does educator Tyler DeWitt make science make sense? He makes science fun. DeWitt challenges the textbook model of science that insists that precise vocabulary is the foundation of scientific excellence. For DeWitt, excellence in scientific pursuits can mean showing more of what students find fun about the world. This fundamental shift in approach makes science and technology accessible and useful through engaging application activities that are designed to celebrate students' interests.

Watch this TED Talk >


"How Students of Color Confront Imposter Syndrome" by Dena Simmons

When teacher Dena Simmons was a student, she was expected to learn in an environment that she felt was "unsafe." As an expert educator, she now teaches other teachers the importance of creating a secure environment in which students can be creative and in which students celebrate the value of their own unique voice.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education" by Sal Khan

Sal Khan, founder of the successful online alternative learning center, Khan Academy, speaks to the value of offering students non-traditional, media-centered independent learning opportunities. He flips the traditional models of school work and homework and offers the progressive idea that most learning can take place at home, with school teachers offering on-site support for task completion.

Watch this TED Talk >


"How to Escape Education's Death Valley" by Ken Robinson

This must-see video for educators by renowned creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, emphasizes strategies for teachers that inspire an attitude of hope in young learners. Sir Robinson acknowledges that lack of motivation and lack of engagement can indicate an absence of hope. His focus on multiple intelligence calls for a radical and immediate change to support critical and creative thinking in our students. This is a clever, often funny video, that will inspire teachers to become better leaders.

Watch this TED Talk >

6 More TED Talks for Administrators

Education is a dynamic environment that demands smart and creative leadership. The following TED Talks inform the leadership ideology that leads to thriving and excellent education pedagogy and practice.


"How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard" by Linda Cliatt Wayman

School principal Linda Wayman shares her personal experience with transformative pedagogy in schools that have been described as "broken." Wayman outlines three key principles that inform her successful approach to bringing creativity and success to learning environments that are in crisis.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Why Open a School? To Close a Prison" by Nadia Lopez

Nadia Lopez is the founding principal of Mott Hill Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, NY. She is also a star of Humans of New York. Lopez reminds us of the value of taking direct action in this impressive talk about how to inspire a love of learning in students by creating schools that demonstrate excellence and inspire student curiosity.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Let's Teach for Mastery—Not Test Scores" by Sal Khan

Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, explains why allowing students to learn at their own unique pace is the key to mastering concepts. Take a refreshing look at how scheduling and standardized testing might not be meeting the needs of students, and open the door to optimizing learning through individualized learning plans that lead to mastery.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Use Data to Build Better Schools" by Andreas Schleicher

It's a data-driven world, and Andreas Schleicher explains how you can harness the power of data to leverage learning for your students. Schleicher takes a global perspective as he compares education data by city and country.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Teach Teachers How to Create Magic" by Christopher Emdin

Dr. Christopher Emdin shows how to make the classroom come alive with the magic of rhythm, sound and the distinctive energy of hip-hop. Emdin is the co-founder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., an energetic rap contest that celebrates creativity and science.

Watch this TED Talk >


"Teachers Need Real Feedback" by Bill Gates

Tech icon and business guru Bill Gates shares his passion for education in this talk about how improvements in education can only occur in the presence of real feedback. Feedback is real when it is specific, tied to clearly articulated goals and timely. Taking the time to give teachers guidance on their performance leads to student success and excellence in education.

Watch this TED Talk >


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