How I Use It
I have used TED Ed. videos before in lessons that I taught on James Joyce's Ulysses. It's difficult to build interest in Joyce amongst adults because he is known for being dense, cerebral, experimental, etc. It's even harder to get high schoolers into Joyce when they've had bad experiences with literature or when they see the length of the book! However, I've found that presenting the text in fun ways, emphasizing the experimental qualities of the work and having students participate in experimental activities, and showing a deep enthusiasm for the realness of the work helps build and sustain interest.
Using the TED Ed. video on Joyce allowed my students to see how there can be a community built around literature, and even a community built around a single book! The combination of visuals, music, and deep but succinct textual summary got them excited about the work better than my gushing review could do.
Most videos are around five minutes in length and serve as either great introductions or dive-ins into specific topics.
Overall, I think this can be a great introductory tool that works for both low literacy students and for the general classroom. Sometimes, students want to hear the information from someone other than the teacher--it lends a little more credibility to the thing presented in their mind.
I like that the videos are short and can be assigned for small homework/review assignments or as in-class introductions that lead into a drill or comprehension activity.
The videos are easily accessible from the classroom or from home and are quality curated content. The only downside is that with such specific topics, they are not appropriate or accessible for all classrooms and finding a video for your units with regularity might not be possible. However, when an appropriate video can be found, the benefits are great and keep students engaged!