Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2017

TED-Ed

Support kids' sense of wonder with outstanding short videos

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (32 Reviews)

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Pros: With fantastic animations, TED-Ed can take even sometimes-boring subjects and transform them into wildly engaging content.

Cons: Some of the subject sections could be filled out with a greater variety of content.

Bottom Line: Excellent, engaging videos and support for flipped-class lessons with an incredible community of thinkers and doers.

You can use TED-Ed's videos and lessons to supplement almost any subject. And while it may take a bit of searching, it'll be worth it. The content is remarkable, and comes from some of the world's best minds -- students are likely to engage with it right away. Most of what's here is best suited for high school students, but middle schoolers could likely handle much of what's here. Videos can be great to watch as a class, but if you're into the flipped-classroom concept, there are also plenty of applications here with such an abundance of videos.

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TED-Ed is a website (and Chrome extension) featuring a curated series of educational videos on a huge variety of subjects. From the folks at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), whose TED talks have featured some of the world's brightest minds, TED-Ed is a place where kids can get some of that same inspiration.

Videos are primarily geared toward a high school audience, but motivated middle schoolers might enjoy a lot of the offerings as well. Along with all of the free video content, the site allows teachers to take any educational video, not just TED's, and easily use it to create a customized lesson.

Full Disclosure: TED-Ed and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.

Between the high-quality videos and the extensive lesson plans, TED-Ed is a great resource for students looking for inspiration, education, and maybe even some fun. The videos and animations are highly engaging and as well-produced as some of the best content on television. While a few kids might get bored or frustrated with videos on more advanced topics, the site generally does a great job of presenting complex content in comprehensible ways. For example, "The Basics of the Higgs Boson" describes the implications of this newly discovered fundamental particle using funny, kid-friendly animations.

Video topics run the gamut and will engage kids' sense of both science and the humanities, from the lives of penguins, to "Music and Creativity in Ancient Greece" and beyond. While videos are continually added to the collection, a few categories could benefit from some more selections. Also, teachers looking to work videos into their standards-based curricula would benefit from support to help them find videos with Common Core-aligned content.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Design is top-notch, featuring high-quality video production, with quirky animations that will immediately draw kids in. Students are encouraged to think, explore, and discuss what they see in meaningful ways.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Quality learning is baked-in to these intriguing videos -- although they're short, they tend to offer a lot of depth. Many videos prominently feature women and minorities in positions of expertise, exploration, and discovery. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

From an extensive FAQ and Help section to TED-Ed's Community and Clubs, kids can find tools to help them explore and learn. Students might also get interested in some of TED's content for adults.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 32 reviews) (32 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Ariel S. , Homeschooling parent
Homeschooling parent
Awesome app that allows for outside classroom insight!
This product serves as a wonderful teaching tool. It provides videos on special topics that help engage students and provide additional information. The information contributes nicely to classroom lectures and allows students to see what they are learning in action. I think it serves my teaching better because as a homeschool instructor, it can help provide specialized information on a topic that I'm not an expert on. Each video is almost like a mini presentation by an expert, and it's informative to ...
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