I’ve talked about TED before. Very simply TED is a group of people listening to other people talk about technology, entertainment, and design topics in 18 minute chunks. Of course, the people they are listening to are smart and funny and, in many case, are changing the world.

The cool thing is that the TED people also record these 18 minute chunks and have been putting them online for the rest of us to watch. And there are some truly amazing videos that can be used as part of our instruction. The problem is that you have to do some digging and planning to find what works best for your class.

TED just got better. On Wednesday TED launched something called TED-Ed. TED-Ed is designed to provide teachers a way to quickly and easily turn TED talks and any YouTube video into an online lesson. With multiple choice questions, short answers, additional resources, and directions for next steps by students.

Time out. Did you just say I can take any TED talk or any YouTube video and create an online lesson?

Yes. That’s exactly what I am saying. You can take any TED talk or any YouTube video and create an online lesson. Get an idea of what the final project looks like by looking at a quick lesson I created about the 20th Maine at Gettysburg.

Here’s how it works: Create a free TED account if you haven’t already. Browse the videos that TED has put online at TED-Ed for you to use. Find something you can use? Click the “Flip This Lesson” button.

You can then edit the already created questions and resources associated with that video.

Can’t find anything in your content area that interests you? Click the YouTube button that lives at the top of the page.

Search by keyword as if you’re at YouTube. When you find a video you want to use as a lesson, select the video, and hit the “Flip this Video” button.

TED Ed’s lesson editor makes it easy to add a brief description, questions, additional resources, and closing thoughts to the video. (The cool thing is that TED has posted almost 1200 video clips online at YouTube so even if the video you’re looking for is not yet on TED-Ed, you can find it on YouTube.)

Preview your lesson and if you like it, go ahead and publish. It’s then just a simple matter of sharing the link out with your students via email or social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Free and easy. Two of my favorite things.

Have fun!

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