TED – Five more TED Talks that have changed my classroom.


Last year I posted five TED Talks that have changed my classroom.  This year I’m giving the gift of TED again with another batch of talks that have made a positive impact on my classroom.

Tyler DeWitt: Hey Science Teachers – Make It Fun

Tyler DeWitt explains what makes science textbooks so terrible and makes a case for teachers to move away from the cult of seriousness found in science textbooks: “Bacteriophage replication is initiated through the introduction of viral nucleic acid into a bacterium.” – That’s great, perfect for 13-year-olds…  to saying the same thing in way that is comprehensible: “These viruses make copies of themselves by slipping their DNA into a bacterium.”

Be sure to check out his YouTube page where you’ll find excellent science videos that are perfect for the flipped classroom.

Kevin Brookhouser: Don’t Call it a ClassroomHow am I preparing students to live in a world where information is ubiquitous and cheap, but innovation is in high demand? - Kevin Brookhouser

This talk made such an impact that I dedicated 20% of my instructional time to implementing it.  Kevin Brookhouser explains how he implemented the program into his classroom.  It’s the same program that allowed Google employees to spend 20% of their time working on a project of their choice and resulted in roughly 50% of Google’s products including Gmail.  You can find links and resources from my talk on 20% Time in the Classroom here.
“How am I preparing my students to live in a world where information is ubiquitous and cheap, but innovation is in high demand?” – Kevin Brookhouser

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Answering Kevin Brookhouser’s question above requires an understanding of what really motivates students.  Dan Pink explains why traditional reward and punishment systems are great for increasing compliance — but ineffective and detrimental — to increasing engagement.  This should also be required viewing for anyone who still believes in (or at least promotes) the idea of pay for performance in education.

Stephen Ritz: A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx

Stephen Ritz and his students provide the perfect inspiration for my Environmental Science students. From TED: “A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery – and jobs.  Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.”

Adora Svitak: What Adults Can Learn from Kids

This talk is guaranteed to impress your students.  From TED: “Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism.  Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.”

Looking for more? Check out last year’s inspiring talks or my TED Ed post.

Don't Miss a Pick - Follow Us
Nick LaFave

Add your Biographical Info and they will appear here.


Hi Nick. Thanks for a great presentation at UTC. Just wanted to let you know that the link for the archived article “Five TED talks that changed my classroom” is not working – unless you did actually delete the page. 🙂 If the page still exists, I am interested in exploring it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *