I’m a huge fan of TED Talks! TED presenters weave together stories and information skillfully to engage their audiences. They have clearly rehearsed their material, yet the delivery is natural and, as a result, their ideas are compelling. I want my students to feel confident articulating their ideas and delivering powerful and poignant presentations, so I began my own TED Ed Club.


TED Ed Clubs “is a flexible, school-based program that supports students in discussing, pursuing and presenting their big ideas in the form of short TED-style talks.” TED Ed has designed a curriculum for club facilitators complete with club goals and meeting outlines that guide students through the process of identifying, cultivating and presenting their ideas worth sharing.

At first many of my students were daunted by the prospect of presenting a TED-style Talk. It’s sad, but many teenagers assume they cannot add anything of value to the global conversation about important, and often controversial, issues. I want my students to know their ideas are worthwhile and their voices can be heard by a global audience. I passionately believe that when educators give students an authentic audience that students will do their best work.

I was literally floored by some of the TED-style Talks my students delivered at the end of first semester as the culminating event for our TED Ed Club.

Here Paloma Velasquez, a 9th-grade student, talks about the need to redefine feminism. She makes the point that feminism is about balance and flexibility.

Emma Donoho, a 10th-grade student, talks about the need for more strong female role models. She argues that young girls, like young boys, deserve to grow up believing they can be strong, powerful and intelligent.

Anna Kaufman, a 10th-grade student, shares a heartbreaking story and explains how a tragic event taught her to embrace, rather than run from, chaos.

As we transition from an age of privacy and a new era of connectively, it’s important for educators to create time, space, and opportunities for students to cultivate and share their ideas with the world. TED Ed Clubs give teachers a structured way to get this done. Click here to view the application form.

11 Responses

  1. What a wonderfully executed idea, Caitlin. I am blown away by the poise, eloquence, and substance of these students TED Ed talks. I would never have guessed that the students started out daunted- they come across as so confidant and passionate! I am a huge fan of Ted talks and this assignment tackles so many important categories: public speaking, writing, research, creativity. I remember doing a few videotaped presentations as a junior high student, and it was always a fun and exhilarating experience. Showing students Ted Talks and then giving me the opportunity to create their own is an example of using technology in a fun, dynamic, and useful way in the classroom. Thank you for sharing this- I hope I can incorporate it into my own classroom someday!

    • You are so welcome, Sarah! My students really surprised me. It was such a rewarding project. I hope you try it with your students. If so, please share some of your favorite videos. I’d love to see them.


  2. Wow! I feel really inspired by your student’s talks. Such poised eloquent speakers with such an important message to share.
    Would you say that the start up of this TED-Ed club at the high school level is pretty manageable? I’ve contemplated it and now I’m thinking I should go for it. I’d love to know more about the process in getting a club started.

  3. Thank you for sharing these videos! Your students are passionate about their topics and present with confidence! I am in the midst of working through a Ted Talk with my 5th grade students. Our First Ted Talk will be more directed, connecting with their learning of our States. However, I look forward to moving toward more choice as the year goes on!

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