How I Use It
The videos in the Social Studies category of TedED cover a range of topics. How appropriate it is across grade levels also varies, for example the video History vs Christopher Columbus started out perfectly, but delved into selling young girls as sex slaves. That is not something I can use in my 6th grade class. There are many videos that are useful: like the two stories about choosing news sources or understanding news narratives. I did not realize the full extent of the video library; in the past I have just utilized a handful, but that will change next year. There are also videos that will partner with our weekly current events. Students have frequent questions about Islam or injustice. For tough topics, having experts describe it before a class discussion will ensure they hear factual and consistent information. The videos on TedED are more than just a video, they also have sections for Think (multiple choice or open ended questions), Dig Deeper (questions with embedded outside links to explore in more detail), and Discuss (forum based).
There are many features of TedED Lessons that make them useful. There are categories set up - like Social Studies - but you can also search by age level, length of video, or use a general search term. Some of the videos are short animated lectures and others are official TedED Talks. Both have value in the classroom. Teachers can use the videos and questions as is, or they can customize it to fit their teaching needs. One thing that would improve TedED Social Studies is having differentiated levels for the questions. It only allows for a single question set, so some students would be frustrated by complexity and others would be bored.