My first TEDxPeachtree blogpost!

The Exploration Revolution: When TED-Ed met Webby

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After having lived on the other side of the world for over 20 years, in 2009, I decided to come to the States to taste the feeling of leaving my comfort zone. Leaving the comfort zone was quite uncomfortable honestly. After her third attempt, I finally understood the simple sentence “How are you doing?” on the street from a friendly lady who tried to greet me. Apparently the slow-speed English learning tapes in my hometown did not prepare me well enough for the reality. With my heart in my mouth, I searched the web ferociously for good English learning websites, and that was about when I discovered TED. It did not take me long to step into TED Talks without captions from those with captions, not because my English listening ability improved at the speed of light, but because the talks transcended my original intention of purely picking up vocabularies and paved the way for a journey of exploration, from Simon Sinek’s golden circle to Boaz Almog’s superconductor, from Hyeonseo Lee’s escape from North Korea to learning how to move the whole body with the tongue with Maysam Ghovanloo at TEDxPeachtree 2012, where I finally made my first on-site exploration.

And….TED-Ed brought this journey of exploration to zenith. TED-Ed is a curated list of educational videos on a variety of topics, created under the collaborations between educators and animators. I am excited to share the news that as recent as Apr 30, 2013, TED-Ed won three Webby Awards. The Webby Awards, also known as “Oscars of the Internet”, is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet including websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile and apps. Award categories range from Arts to Community, from Shopping to Weird. Two winners are selected in each category: the Webby Winner, picked by judges, and the People’s Voice winner, voted by the public. Well known Webby Awards 2013 winners include Google Maps for iPhone and Songza, a popular music streaming service provider. TED-Ed was awarded both Webby Winner and People’s Voice in Education, and was selected as the Webby Winner for Best Practices. It’s quite a recognition that Webby witnessed the education revolution hatched by TED-Ed as my exploration ventured into this newly found territory. Did you ever wonder the mechanism of thinking? Let’s take a tour with Trevor Maber on TED-Ed to explore our brains.

Here, you can see “Watch”, “Think”, and “Dig Deeper” buttons alongside the video. The “Watch” feature is similar to a typical TED talk, which plays a video. Upon completing the video, by clicking the “Think” button, you will be prompted to questions, which can be either multiple choice or open answer questions. One cool feature, among other things, is that you can click “Video Hint” and the little video on the top right corner will replay the section of the lesson where you can find the answer. For example, Maber uses a ladder as an analogy to the process of our thinking (Ladder of Inference), and there are seven rungs in total. When I was asked for the mechanism of the second rung, by clicking the “Video Hint” button it reinforced my memory of that particular detail. If you are interested in learning more about the topic as I am, “Dig Deeper” can save you some “mousewalk” on the Internet. In this case, it demonstrates some hands-on activities, as well as points me to relevant websites, to help me better understand the Ladder of Inference.

The same ‘Watch’, ‘Think’ and ‘Dig Deeper’ format applies to every TED-Ed video. I was glad when I found on TED-Ed Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts, a talk I had watched on the TED website over a year ago. Different from the previous video, this one is not an animation, but a typical TED talk video that allows you to see the speaker’s face. It’s like a recap for me but with additional resources provided in “Dig Deeper.” I can’t wait for the weekend to come to explore further on this topic. Life is a journey of exploration, and exploration continues with TED-Ed.


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