TED, Known for Idea Talks, Releases Educational Videos

The nonprofit group called TED, known for streaming 18-minute video lectures about big ideas, today opened a new YouTube channel designed for teachers and professors, with videos that are even shorter.

The new channel, called TED-Ed, was announced a year ago, but its leaders are only now unveiling the project’s first videos. There are only 11 as of today, but the goal is to add new ones regularly. Within three months from now, a new video could appear each day, said Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, in a conference call with reporters late last week.

To produce the new videos, the group is connecting content experts with professional animators to create highly illustrated productions. The average length of these videos is about five minutes, and Mr. Anderson said he envisions a teacher playing one in class at the start of a lesson “to ignite excitement” about the topic.

The service is unlikely to revolutionize classroom education, but it could provide a digital upgrade to the old idea of classroom filmstrips. Mr. Anderson said most of the initial videos are aimed at the high-school level.

Among the first video topics are “How many universes are there?,” “Why don’t we see evidence of alien life?,” and “How pandemics spread (through history and across the world).”

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