TED-Ed Looking for Educators, Animators

Posted by · March 12, 2012 4:48 pm

Two weeks ago, TED founder Chris Anderson teased the TED audience with a preview of the “soon-to-be launched” website, TED-Ed, at the TED conference in Long Beach. True to this word, Anderson and the folks at TED launched the TED-Ed YouTube Channel earlier today and will be dedicating an entire part of TED.com to their TED-Ed initiative as of next month. So what is TED-Ed and how will it be used to further the TED mission of Ideas Worth Spreading?

Contrary to what you might think, TED-Ed is not the next Khan Academy.  In a post on his Posterous page, Anderson says that while TED-Ed will act as a resource for teachers around the globe, the goal is not to “displace” the teacher, but rather to “amplify the teacher’s skills.”  To that end, Anderson is calling on educators and, oddly enough, animators, to lend their expertise to the TED-Ed project.

“Our strategy at TED on all projects we take on has become one of ‘radical openness,'” Anderson says. “Any internal skills we have are vastly outweighed by people externally, and so we should simply seek to empower them. So that’s what today’s TED-Ed launch is. An invitation to teachers across the world to help us dial up the effectiveness of video lessons.”

As for the animators, Anderson and his team plan to animate each TED-Ed video to help teacher’s present their message in a new, engaging way.

“One way to think of the potential of animation is to ask: what could a teacher do if you gave her or him a magic blackboard — one which could display literally anything that would assist in an explanation (and in holding the attention of the class)?  Would that help ignite understanding and excitement? We think the answer is Yes,” Anderson says.

Unlike most traditional TED talks, TED-Ed video lessons should be 10 minutes or less.  Like TED talks, TED-Ed lessons is to inspire those who watch the lessons to become lifelong learners. According to Anderson, TED is known for its ability to evoke curiosity, wonder, and mind-shifting insight and that will be the goal of TED-Ed as well.

In addition to volunteer animators and educators, TED has hired a small team of animators and producers to work on TED-Ed and has also partnered with UK-based Cognitive Media to help animate each lesson.  YouTube will also have a heavy hand in the TED-Ed project.  Not only will YouTube be the premier distribution platform for TED-Ed videos, but Anderson says the company has offered TED “significant financial contributions” to help accelerate the production and dissemination of TED-Ed videos.  YouTube was even willing to limit commercial intrusion–here will be no pre-roll ads on TED-Ed videos and no advertisers inappropriate for children will appear on TED-Ed videos–giving teachers the ability to play an entire video ad-free.

As previously mentioned, TED-Ed is looking for animators and educators to create lessons for the project.  If you’d like to nominate an educator and create a lesson yourself, fill out the online application here. If you’ve got some animation skills or know someone who does, fill out this application.  If you have an idea for a lesson worth sharing, post it in the comment section below and share it with the folks at TED. Finally, if you’re curious about what an animated TED-Ed lesson might look like, take a look at this TED-Ed video created by Anderson himself.