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TED Talks Education

Author: TED

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What should future schools look like? How do brains learn? Some of the world's greatest educators, researchers, and community leaders share their stories and visions onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
137 Episodes
As if college applications aren't stressful enough, disadvantaged youth are often encouraged to write about their darkest traumas in their admissions essays, creating a marketable story of resilience that turns "pain into progress," says politics student Tina Yong. She brings this harrowing norm to light, exploring its harms and offering a more equitable process for colleges everywhere.
Video games naturally tap into the way we learn: they focus our attention and track our progress as we head toward a clear goal. Kris Alexander, a professor of video game design and passionate gamer himself, thinks the same elements should be used in traditional education to cater to different learning styles and engage students across the world, both in-person and online.
Educator Sharif El-Mekki advocates for the revival of the Black teaching tradition — a set of educational practices grounded in philosophies, values and actions that stretch from pre-colonial Africa to historical African American leaders. He posits that this tradition can help teachers better serve Black students and create a more equitable learning environment for all.
Names like Bayard Rustin, Frances Thompson and William Dorsey Swann have been largely erased from US history, but they and other Black queer leaders played central roles in monumental movements like emancipation, civil rights and LGBTQ+ pride, among others. In this tribute to forgotten icons, queer culture historian and TED Fellow Channing Gerard Joseph shares their little-known stories, connecting the origins of drag in the 1880s to the present day and exploring the awesome power to choose how we define ourselves.
Going to school in a refugee camp can be complicated: students encounter crowded classrooms, rigid curricula and limited access to teachers. Joel Baraka, who grew up in the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda, is determined to change that for the better. He shows how educational board games can be a fun and effective way to improve access to learning and help kids thrive in and out of school.
A little bit of playtime can have big benefits for a child's developing brain, like a superfood -- but adult participation is a crucial ingredient for best results. Early-education leader Jesse Ilhardt makes the case for you to put down the phone, pick up the make-believe tea cup (or that blanket-superhero cape) and take the time to experiment with imagination during kids' most formative learning years.
"When teachers and families work together, everyone wins," says education technology entrepreneur and TED Fellow Heejae Lim. She shines a light on an underutilized resource in US public education -- a family's love for their children -- and shows that, with the right tools and tech, schools can remove language barriers, foster meaningful connections and help every student thrive.
Forget home economics and standardized tests, education visionary Trish Millines Dziko has a much more engaging and fulfilling way for students to develop real-world skills. Get schooled by Dziko as she shares how project-based learning can transform public education and unlock genius for the next generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers, ideators and leaders.
Black history in the US is rich, profound -- and at risk of being lost forever, if not for the monumental efforts of Julieanna L. Richardson. As the founder of The HistoryMakers -- the largest national archive of African American video-oral history -- Richardson shares some of the unknown and incredible legacies of Black America, highlighting the importance of documenting and preserving the past for future generations.
Even with public trust at an all-time low, Wikipedia continues to maintain people's confidence. How do they do it? Former CEO of Wikimedia Foundation Katherine Maher delves into the transparent, adaptable and community-building ways the online encyclopedia brings free and reliable information to the public -- while also accounting for bias and difference of opinion. "The seeds of our disagreement can actually become the roots of our common purpose," she says.
There are 600 million women in India -- yet they are rarely seen outdoors after sunset because of safety concerns like harassment and catcalls. On a mission to create safer public spaces, women's rights advocate Srishti Bakshi talks about how she embarked on a 2,300-mile walk across the length of India (a distance equivalent to traveling from New York City to Los Angeles), conducting driving workshops to empower women's mobility across the country. "The more women see other women in public spaces, the more safe, independent and empowered each of us will be," Bakshi says.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has destroyed so much -- including hundreds of schools, where the country's children were forging their futures -- but it has not stopped Ukrainians from pursuing knowledge and curiosity. In a deeply moving talk, education leader Zoya Lytvyn shares her first-hand experience evacuating Kyiv and takes us inside the ongoing effort to continue educating children amid war and destruction. "As long as our children keep learning and our teachers keep teaching -- even while they are starving in shelters under bombardment, even in refugee camps -- we are undefeated," she says.
The wildly diverse, thoughtful and hilarious world of fanfiction -- where writers reimagine favorite stories like "Harry Potter," "Pokémon," "My Little Pony" and more -- is ever-growing and becoming a vital social and learning tool. Author, professor and fanfiction writer Cecilia Aragon has observed how this incredible outlet for creativity encourages and empowers young people to embrace their imagination. Detailing her research into the vast online fanfiction community, Aragon shares its potential to foster a sense of belonging, strengthen writing skills and shape the future of literature.
For children growing up in refugee camps, education is a powerful tool of liberation. In this inspiring talk, Makhtoum Abdalla, displaced as a child in Sudan and now living with his family in the Otash camp in Darfur, shares his biggest dream: to ensure all children are educated and taught the skills needed to become "captains of their destiny."
Less than seven percent of people worldwide have a bachelor's degree -- and for many, this is simply because the cost of university is too high, says higher education executive Adrian K. Haugabrook. In this barrier-breaking talk, he introduces an innovative approach to expanding access to higher education by driving down costs and rethinking three key things: time, place and how we learn.
In this deeply moving talk, educator Shabana Basij-Rasikh shares the harrowing story of evacuating more than 250 students, staff and family members from the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) -- the country's first and only all-girls boarding school -- to Rwanda after the Taliban took power in 2021. An exceptional story of hope, resilience and dreaming big for future generations of Afghan girls -- and a challenge for the world to not look away.
TED Fellow and education innovator Larry Irvin envisions a world where every child can see themselves reflected in their teachers. With his team at Brothers Empowered to Teach, Irvin is providing pathways to careers in education for Black men, who currently make up less than three percent of all teachers in the US -- offering training, personal and professional development and job placement. He shares how their holistic, people-centered approach is changing education.
Childcare needs a transformation -- but rather than investing billions in new buildings and schools, what if we could unlock the potential of people already nearby? Entrepreneur Chris Bennett offers an innovative way to tackle the shortage of childcare worldwide and connect families to safe, affordable and high-quality options in their own communities.
Karim Abouelnaga is a TED Fellow and founder and CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, a summer school opportunity that helps narrow the education gap for low-income children. Through his work, Karim shows how small business owners can have a big impact.
Racism morphs, spreading and hiding behind numerous half-truths and full-blown falsities about where it lives and who embodies it. In this actionable talk, political scientist Candis Watts Smith debunks three widely accepted myths about racism in the US and calls for a nuanced, more expansive definition to support this new era of anti-racist action.
Comments (37)

Sana Safi


Jan 31st

Abbas Bashtani

سلام خیلی ممنونم این عالیه که اینارو اینجا تو این برنامه میتونیم داشته باشیم و گوش بدیم چون من خیلی دنبالشون گشتم و اینکه حتی فیلم هارو هم اینجا هست ولی فقط یه مشکلی هست که ای کاش میشد زیرنویس فارسی هم داشته باشه

May 16th

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Oct 23rd

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Aug 19th

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Aug 19th

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Across Europe and Central Asia, approximately one million children live in large residential institutions, usually known as orphanages. Most people imagine orphanages as a benign environment that care for children. Others know more about the living conditions there, but still think they're a necessary evil. After all, where else would we put all of those children who don't have any parents?  00:36 But 60 years of research has demonstrated that separating children from their families and placing them in large institutions seriously harms their health and development, and this is particularly true for young babies. As we know, babies are born without their full muscle development, and that includes the brain. During the first three years of life, the brain grows to its full size, with most of that growth taking place in the first six months. The brain develops in response to experience and to stimulation. Every time a young baby learns something new -- to focus its eyes, to mimic a movement or a facial expression, to pick something up, to form a word or to sit up -- new synaptic connections are being built in the brain. New parents are astonished by the rapidity of this learning. They are quite rightly amazed and delighted by their children's cleverness. They communicate their delight to their children, who respond with smiles, and a desire to achieve more and to learn more. This forming of the powerful attachment between child and parent provides the building blocks for physical, social, language, cognitive and psychomotor development. It is the model for all future relationships with friends, with partners and with their own children. It happens so naturally in most families that we don't even notice it. Most of us are unaware of its importance to human development and, by extension, to the development of a healthy society. And it's only when it goes wrong that we start to realize the importance of families to children.  02:17 In August, 1993, I had my first opportunity to witness on a massive scale the impact on children of institutionalization and the absence of parenting. Those of us who remember the newspaper reports that came out of Romania after the 1989 revolution will recall the horrors of the conditions in some of those institutions. I was asked to help the director of a large institution to help prevent the separation of children from their families. Housing 550 babies, this was Ceausescu's show orphanage, and so I'd been told the conditions were much better. Having worked with lots of young children, I expected the institution to be a riot of noise, but it was as silent as a convent. It was hard to believe there were any children there at all, yet the director showed me into room after room, each containing row upon row of cots, in each of which lay a child staring into space. In a room of 40 newborns, not one of them was crying. Yet I could see soiled nappies, and I could see that some of the children were distressed, but the only noise was a low, continuous moan. The head nurse told me proudly, "You see, our children are very well-behaved." Over the next few days, I began to realize that this quietness was not exceptional. The newly admitted babies would cry for the first few hours, but their demands were not met, and so eventually they learned not to bother. Within a few days, they were listless, lethargic, and staring into space like all the others.  03:51 Over the years, many people and news reports have blamed the personnel in the institutions for the harm caused to the children, but often, one member of staff is caring for 10, 20, and even 40 children. Hence they have no option but to implement a regimented program. The children must be woken at 7 and fed at 7:30. At 8, their nappies must be changed, so a staff member may have only 30 minutes to feed 10 or 20 children. If a child soils its nappy at 8:30, he will have to wait several hours before it can be changed again. The child's daily contact with another human being is reduced to a few hurried minutes of feeding and changing, and otherwise their only stimulation is the ceiling, the walls or the bars of their cots.  04:38 Since my first visit to Ceausescu's institution, I've seen hundreds of such places across 18 countries, from the Czech Republic to Sudan. Across all of these diverse lands and cultures, the institutions, and the child's journey through them, is depressingly similar. Lack of stimulation often leads to self-stimulating behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, or aggression, and in some institutions, psychiatric drugs are used to control the behavior of these children, whilst in others, children are tied up to prevent them from harming themselves or others. These children are quickly labeled as having disabilities and transferred to another institution for children with disabilities. Most of these children will never leave the institution again. For those without disabilities, at age three, they're transferred to another institution, and at age seven, to yet another. Segregated according to age and gender, they are arbitrarily separated from their siblings, often without even a chance to say goodbye. There's rarely enough to eat. They are often hungry. The older children bully the little ones. They learn to survive. They learn to defend themselves, or they go under.  05:48 When they leave the institution, they find it really difficult to cope and to integrate into society. In Moldova, young women raised in institutions are 10 times more likely to be trafficked than their peers, and a Russian study found that two years after leaving institutions, young adults, 20 percent of them had a criminal record, 14 percent were involved in prostitution, and 10 percent had taken their own lives.  06:18 But why are there so many orphans in Europe when there hasn't been a great deal of war or disaster in recent years? In fact, more than 95 percent of these children have living parents, and societies tend to blame these parents for abandoning these children, but research shows that most parents want their children, and that the primary drivers behind institutionalization are poverty, disability and ethnicity. Many countries have not developed inclusive schools, and so even children with a very mild disability are sent away to a residential special school, at age six or seven. The institution may be hundreds of miles away from the family home. If the family's poor, they find it difficult to visit, and gradually the relationship breaks down. Behind each of the million children in institutions, there is usually a story of parents who are desperate and feel they've run out of options, like Natalia in Moldova, who only had enough money to feed her baby, and so had to send her older son to the institution; or Desi, in Bulgaria, who looked after her four children at home until her husband died, but then she had to go out to work full time, and with no support, felt she had no option but to place a child with disabilities in an institution; or the countless young girls too terrified to tell their parents they're pregnant, who leave their babies in a hospital; or the new parents, the young couple who have just found out that their firstborn child has a disability, and instead of being provided with positive messages about their child's potential, are told by the doctors, "Forget her, leave her in the institution, go home and make a healthy one."  08:03 This state of affairs is neither necessary nor is it inevitable. Every child has the right to a family, deserves and needs a family, and children are amazingly resilient. We find that if we get them out of institutions and into loving families early on, they recover their developmental delays, and go on to lead normal, happy lives. It's also much cheaper to provide support to families than it is to provide institutions. One study suggests that a family support service costs 10 percent of an institutional placement, whilst good quality foster care costs usually about 30 percent. If we spend less on these children but on the right services, we can take the savings and reinvest them in high quality residential care for those few children with extremely complex needs.  08:52 Across Europe, a movement is growing to shift the focus and transfer the resources from large institutions that provide poor quality care to community-based services that protect children from harm and allow them to develop to their full potential. When I first started to work in Romania nearly 20 years ago, there were 200,000 children living in institutions, and more entering every day. Now, there are less than 10,000, and family support services are provided across the country. In Moldova, despite extreme poverty and the terrible effects of the global financial crisis, the numbers of children in institutions has reduced by more than 50 percent in the last five years, and the resources are being redistributed to family support services and inclusive schools. Many countries have developed national action plans for change. The European Commission and other major donors are finding ways to divert money from institutions towards family support, empowering communities to look after their own children.  09:55 But there is still much to be done to end the systematic institutionalization of children. Awareness-raising is required at every level of society. People need to know the harm that institutions cause to children, and the better alternatives that exist. If we know people who are planning to support orphanages, we should convince them to support family services instead.  10:17 Together, this is the one form of child abuse that we could eradicate in our lifetime.  10:23 Thank you. (Applause)

Aug 8th

Emily Wood

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May 26th
Reply (1)

Sofia Lens

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Apr 30th


Important...with a 't'.

Sep 19th


Dear Shabana, your words were really heart touching. We must accept that you are our hero. We salute your parents. Stay Blessed and Spread Education

Aug 1st

nbhhabd ak

This really reflects my ownself being not self cofidence about reading slowly . I truly admired someone writing but when other people said that they had finish reading books compare to me . I feel like being left behind . Thank your for your Ted Talk Jacqueline :).

Jul 19th

vigilant skipper

while you provide people free language learning, which is a good idea, language teachers have to quit their job.

Jul 7th

Christopher M. Curry

Always worth watching, you can't cap self-improvement.

Feb 11th

Yumi Sensei

love it💝

Dec 16th
Reply (1)

Netra Kumar Manandhar

motivation 😍😍😍

Dec 11th


Shouldn't the podcast be called TEDucation?

Oct 22nd


Children before 3 years old shouldn’t be in front of a screen! Play and nature are the keys

Sep 9th


blessing by god you believe.

Sep 7th

Nikole Branch


Sep 7th

Gauri Menon

this was such an interesting talk! the part that intrigues me the most is that professors using actual data can see what concept proves to be most difficult for students to understand and perhaps reconstruct the way of teaching that concept. perhaps they can explain it differently or use more examples to improve understanding of the concept. But very interesting talk. I also wonder though if language plays a role. for instance a child learning in India or in Africa having the lecture transcribed into their own native tongue affects the level of understanding.

Aug 6th
Reply (1)
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