TED-Ed Clubs: Student Voice and Presentation Skills
“What would you say if the world was listening?” TED-Ed is much more than the great videos we see on YouTube.
Through the TED-Ed Clubs initiative, the TED organization has emerged as a champion of student voice and of learning public speaking. Do you love TED Talks? Do you emphasize public speaking skills in your classroom? Do you want to initiate or revamp a club that amplifies student voice? This is for you!
How would a TED-ED Club benefit your students? (not to mention you, the teacher!)
TED-Ed is a thoughtfully planned program for club leaders and advisors, which runs on a “club cycle”, in over 100 countries worldwide. Once accepted as a club, you receive access to a series of 13 “Explorations” that serve as a framework for lessons to be completed in a single club cycle (up to 12 months). TED-Ed understands that cookie-cutter curriculum doesn’t work for all schools or students. The curriculum is available as a guide to assist club members in developing their “idea worth spreading.” Along with the guide, you are provided access to a Leader Resources database.
The provided explorations take students through the process of developing a TED-Ed Talk by identifying their passions, thinking deeply about what makes them passionate about the topic, and identifying ways to engage the audience. The student is empowered through the process as the topics can be anything under the sun. As students fine-tune their talk, they learn to use images and props to get their ideas across to an audience. Towards the end of the process, they learn the finer points of producing a TED-Ed event, including lights, sound, and scheduling. *Note: expect to have a video conference check-in with a TED-Ed rep to see how you are doing at some point during the process.
After your club has hosted an event and your TED-Ed Talks have been recorded, your videos are uploaded to the TED-Ed database for review for the TED-Ed YouTube Channel giving your students the ultimate opportunity to reach a truly wide and authentic audience.
What are some of the special features of TED-Ed Clubs?
- Connect Weeks. You can contact other clubs from around the world and set up your own ‘club connect’, but TED-Ed also has Connect Weeks that bring like-minded clubs together to share ideas.
- TED-Ed Weekend. Your students could be chosen to attend the annual TED-Ed Weekend at TED Headquarters in New York City to meet students from clubs around the world and present on the official TED stage.
- TED-Ed Newsletter & Blog. You will receive a regular e-newsletter highlighting what’s new in TED-Ed, featured TED-Ed animations and lessons, student Talks, and other ways to grow your club and connect with others.
- TED-Ed Facebook Access. Yes, TED-Ed is on Facebook. And it’s a brilliant resource for connecting with club leaders to share ideas, receive advice, and celebrate your club’s successes!
So, how do you get your own TED-Ed Club off the ground?
It’s not difficult. But there are some steps to get there. Before you get started, you should read through the TED-Ed Clubs website and information packet to get an idea of how the program works. Then…
- Apply and receive an email with ‘next steps’. This includes further familiarizing yourself with the program and participating in a Video Conference Orientation with a TED-Ed rep. Expect other club leaders to join. This is done with every new cycle. *Tip: Start the process early! There may not be a meeting directly after you submit your application.
- Recruit club members and get parent consent forms signed and uploaded within a month of acceptance as a club. *Note: Videos of students under the age of 13 will NOT be uploaded to the TED-Ed YouTube Channel.
- Begin your cycle but create a timeline. Try to get through the explorations and modify as you see fit. Keep in mind that you’ll be expected to record your club’s Talks, whether through an official school TED-Ed Club event or a simple recording.
- Practice, practice, practice the Talks! (and perhaps, practice a little more)
- Hold an event and record the videos. The production doesn’t have to be high quality like an official TED-Ed production.
- Get the videos uploaded and go through the end-of-cycle checklist provided by TED-Ed.
- Reflect, celebrate, make plans to grow your club!
How did my students and I fare through our first cycle?
I’m quite certain that our club is the first for an international school in Japan, with only one other Japan-based club leader to ask advice. This made the online communities important to get ideas and support. We had students in Grade 5 as well as Grades 9-11, so we had to split the groups and have two separate clubs, with a final event together.
Another challenge we faced was the school schedule. International schools have a LOT going on, and a LOT of unexpected interruptions to the schedule, leaving us sometimes not meeting for a few weeks at a time. This required extending our planned cycle length, Luckily, this was as easy as an email to TED-Ed.
Seeking authentic feedback was a hurdle easily overcome by app smashing. We took practice videos, uploaded them to Flipgrid with no names (i.e.) Grade 9 Student 1, linked to a Google Form (for feedback). The Flipgrid link was sent out on Twitter to my Flipgrid community and other communities of educators asking them and their students to view the Talks and give feedback. We also sought feedback from other TED-Ed clubs.
From a teacher-advisor perspective, the challenge was helping students develop their ideas in a much deeper and more focused way, something most have not had the opportunity to do. Think about it. How often can a student prepare a presentation entirely on anything they want to share with time dedicated to perfecting it? Guiding students through this process without getting your own ideas into their Talks is a challenge. Students experienced moments of ‘writer’s block,’ but part of the process is developing strategies to deal with frustration as they stretch their thinking. There was also the inevitable procrastination and some necessary prodding to get better research completed, though having club meetings suddenly canceled for prolonged periods of time contributed to this.
Overall, I’m proud of our first club cycle and I am thrilled that students want to return to the club. A few are already planning their next Talk and how they can mentor new members.
Have a look at a few of our TED-Ed Talks hosted on the TED-Ed Clubs YouTube Channel.
TED-Ed Clubs online: https://ed.ted.com/clubs
TED-Ed Clubs information packet: https://goo.gl/ajtCtA
TED-Ed Blog: https://blog.ed.ted.com/
TED-ED Clubs on YouTube: https://goo.gl/iVtwPN
TED-Ed Clubs on Facebook: https://goo.gl/TQ6355
MYP I&S / DP History Teacher
Nagoya International School
Google for Education Certified Trainer / Innovator/ Educator