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TED Talks Education

What should future schools look like? How do brains learn? Some of the world's greatest educators, researchers, and community leaders share their stories and visions onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.

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Why is 'x' the unknown? | Terry Moore

Why is 'x' the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.

3mins

6 Jun 2012

Rank #1

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How education helped me rewrite my life | Ashweetha Shetty

There's no greater freedom than finding your purpose, says education advocate Ashweetha Shetty. Born to a poor family in rural India, Shetty didn't let the social norms of her community stifle her dreams and silence her voice. In this personal talk, she shares how she found self-worth through education -- and how she's working to empower other rural youth to explore their potential. "All of us are born into a reality that we blindly accept -- until something awakens us and a new world opens up," Shetty says.

10mins

21 Feb 2019

Rank #2

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Grit: The power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.

6mins

9 May 2013

Rank #3

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What reading slowly taught me about writing | Jacqueline Woodson

Reading slowly -- with her finger running beneath the words, even when she was taught not to -- has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savored. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we'd go and introduce us to people we never thought we'd meet. "Isn't that what this is all about -- finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we've changed it before we leave?" she asks.

10mins

12 Sep 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Kids need structure | Colin Powell

How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.

17mins

23 Jan 2013

Rank #5

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Why we need to fight misinformation about vaccines | Ethan Lindenberger

Ethan Lindenberger never got vaccinated as a kid. So one day, he went on Reddit and asked a simple question: "Where do I go to get vaccinated?" The post went viral, landing Lindenberger in the middle of a heated debate about vaccination and, ultimately, in front of a US Senate committee. Less than a year later, the high school senior reports back on his unexpected time in the spotlight and a new movement he's leading to fight misinformation and advocate for scientific truth.

7mins

25 Jun 2019

Rank #6

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Teach teachers how to create magic | Christopher Emdin

What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time — and it's a skill we often don't teach to educators. A longtime teacher himself, now a science advocate and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Emdin offers a vision to make the classroom come alive.

6mins

8 Apr 2014

Rank #7

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Let's teach for mastery -- not test scores | Sal Khan

Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven't always grasped the basics? Yes, it's complicated, but educator Sal Khan shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.

10mins

6 Sep 2016

Rank #8

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How to fix a broken education system ... without any more money | Seema Bansal

Seema Bansal forged a path to public education reform for 15,000 schools in Haryana, India, by setting an ambitious goal: by 2020, 80 percent of children should have grade-level knowledge. She's looking to meet this goal by seeking reforms that will work in every school without additional resources. Bansal and her team have found success using creative, straightforward techniques such as communicating with teachers using SMS group chats, and they have already measurably improved learning and engagement in Haryana's schools.

14mins

22 Jun 2016

Rank #9

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To learn is to be free | Shameem Akhtar

Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life -- and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.

12mins

1 Mar 2018

Rank #10

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Your brain on video games | Daphne Bavelier

How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.

17mins

19 Nov 2012

Rank #11

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How not to be ignorant about the world | Hans and Ola Rosling

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.

19mins

11 Sep 2014

Rank #12

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Every kid needs a champion | Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don't like.'" A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

7mins

3 May 2013

Rank #13

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Want kids to learn well? Feed them well | Sam Kass

What can we expect our kids to learn if they're hungry or eating diets full of sugar and empty of nutrients? Former White House Chef and food policymaker Sam Kass discusses the role schools can play in nourishing students' bodies in addition to their minds.

12mins

5 Jan 2017

Rank #14

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How teachers can help students navigate trauma | Lisa Godwin

"To make a difference in the life of a child ... I made the commitment to tell my personal story," says educator Lisa Godwin. In this moving talk, she shares her experience of overcoming childhood trauma with the quiet, unwavering support of a teacher and school counselor -- and shows how educators can help students and families navigate hardships by sharing their own stories.

15mins

11 Feb 2020

Rank #15

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The boost students need to overcome obstacles | Anindya Kundu

How can disadvantaged students succeed in school? For sociologist Anindya Kundu, grit and stick-to-itiveness aren't enough; students also need to develop their agency, or their capacity to overcome obstacles and navigate the system. He shares hopeful stories of students who have defied expectations in the face of personal, social and institutional challenges.

7mins

25 Sep 2017

Rank #16

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How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard | Linda Cliatt-Wayman

On Linda Cliatt-Wayman's first day as principal at a failing high school in North Philadelphia, she was determined to lay down the law. But she soon realized the job was more complex than she thought. With palpable passion, she shares the three principles that helped her turn around three schools labeled "low-performing and persistently dangerous." Her fearless determination to lead -- and to love the students, no matter what -- is a model for leaders in all fields.

17mins

5 Jun 2015

Rank #17

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How America's public schools keep kids in poverty | Kandice Sumner

Why should a good education be exclusive to rich kids? Schools in low-income neighborhoods across the US, specifically in communities of color, lack resources that are standard at wealthier schools -- things like musical instruments, new books, healthy school lunches and soccer fields -- and this has a real impact on the potential of students. Kandice Sumner sees the disparity every day in her classroom in Boston. In this inspiring talk, she asks us to face facts -- and change them.

13mins

1 Nov 2016

Rank #18

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The danger of silence | Clint Smith

"We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't," says poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.

4mins

15 Aug 2014

Rank #19

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Teachers need real feedback | Bill Gates

Until recently, many teachers only got one word of feedback a year: "satisfactory." And with no feedback, no coaching, there's just no way to improve. Bill Gates suggests that even great teachers can get better with smart feedback -- and lays out a program from his foundation to bring it to every classroom.

10mins

8 May 2013

Rank #20