Online Registration

Distance learning takes a big leap with video lessons
Monday, 19 November 2018 23:01

Teachers, the world may not be your oyster, but it can certainly be your classroom. Distance education took a giant leap on Monday with the launch of TEDEd, a non-profit initiative that harnesses the talent of the world's best teachers and visualizers to take great lessons beyond the classroom to anyone with internet access. In other words, if you are a great teacher, you can take your best lessons or tutorials beyond your classroom and be viewed by millions of students.

Here's how it works: Through an open submission process on the TED-Ed website, educators and animators from around the globe can contribute lesson plans and video reels on any topic. Select lesson submissions will be matched with chosen visualizers to create video lessons that will take the teaching and learning experience beyond the classroom in short videos that can be anywhere from three to ten minutes long.

The channel will be part of the already running You-Tube education channel ( which offers a collection of half a million educational videos that go beyond the "cat flushing a toilet" kind of stuff available on the mother channel.

Online education concepts, such as YouTube's education channel and Khan Academy, have been around for awhile, but what sets TED-Ed apart is the eye-catching animation through visualizers, professional editing, and high quality production values, and the shorter length that abbreviates what can be an hour-long class.

For instance, in a sample video, neuroscientist and teacher Greg Gage worked with a TED visualization team to explain the human brain and nervous system using live videos and animation of a cockroach dissection - taking five minutes where it might have taken an hour of dry lessons on a blackboard and a messy dissection in a lab with many students. "By turning great lessons into vivid scholastic tools, these videos are designed to catalyze curiosity. We want to show that learning can be thrilling. As they are only a few minutes long, they can readily be used by teachers during class time," TED curator Chris Anderson said.

The concept builds on the lecture format for which TED, which stands for Technology Entertainment and Design, is famous for: The annual TED conference, dedicated to "ideas worth spreading", hosts speakers who are have to give "the talk of their lives" in less than 18 minutes.

One such speaker was Salman Khan, an online educator of sub continental origin introduced at TED in 2011 by Bill Gates, who said he used videos on the Khan Academy website to teach his children. Khan was featured on CBS' '60 Minutes' on Sunday.

But TED executives said the TED-Ed concept will complement rather than undercut Khan, who uses an electronic blackboard and an unseen narrative format to impart lessons.