If you’re a follower of TED talks you are probably already familiar with TED playlists, TED or curator created groupings of TED talks around a particular theme. You know the power of these collections to spark your thinking about a topic. If you aren’t familiar with TED, the following short videos will provide you with an introduction to these inspiring and entertaining talks on the cutting edge of human understanding.
By the way, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but the talks are much more wide-ranging that those three words suggest, delving into science, mathematics, education, and numerous other fields. The talks themselves are given at an annual TED conference. This year’s TED conference was in Vancouver and just just concluded. Attending the conference is by application and invitation and costs $8,500, not including airfare, lodging and food. In the coming weeks, the talks from that conference will be posted online and are free. Cities around the world have created their own TED conferences called TEDex, and those talks are posted on the TED site as well.
STEM Institute has assembled the following ten TED talks that capture the spirit of inquiry, curiosity, and fun that are at the heart of our program. They suggest what we hope students will experience in their STEM classes.
Why we need the explorers
This talk could be subtitled “on the importance of curiosity driven science.”
Three rules to spark learning
A high school chemistry teacher shares insights he learned from his surgeon that changed how he practices the craft of teaching.
Hey science teachers – make it fun
Why textbook driven instruction isn’t the way to go — be playful and use storytelling to awaken your students’ interest.
Science is for everyone, kids included
This talk is on the importance of play; science as a way of being; children’s questioning; and experiments as play.
Math class needs a makeover
Although this talk is about high school math, the takeaways apply equally to elementary math and science – the importance to students of formulating the problems; here’s some great teaching advice to lead students to patient problem solving.
Hands-on science with squishy circuits
Make some homemade play dough for little kids to build circuits.
Kids can teach themselves
Sugata Mitra explores how you can indeed feel confident in turning over more responsibility for learning to kids themselves.
How I harnessed the wind
Inspiring talk by a young man from Malawi that could lead students to explore the maker movement, engineering, and the power of young people to make real world contributions; a good hook for a unit on energy or for Earth Day.
Biomimicry’s surprising lessons from nature’s engineers
Why immerse students in nature? This talk explores the intersection between science, design, and engineering.“Learning about the natural world is one thing; learning from the natural world, that’s the profound switch.”
Do schools kill creativity?
Saving the best for last, I close with the most popular TED talk of all time. It gets to the heart of what is wrong with most schools, the deadening impact they have on students’ creativity, creativity that is essential to success in the STEM fields.
Enjoy! And if you have a favorite TED talk or comments about any of these, please share in a comment below.
You can learn more about STEM Institute here.