History vs…: a TED-Ed Lesson playlist

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“History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created,” wrote William Morris. To learn how 7 notorious leaders are remembered by history, watch the TED-Ed Lessons below:

1. History vs. Richard Nixon

The president of the United States of America is often said to be one of the most powerful positions in the world. But of all the US presidents accused of abusing that power, only one has left office as a result. Does Richard Nixon deserve to be remembered for more than the scandal that ended his presidency? Alex Gendler puts this disgraced president’s legacy on trial. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

2. History vs. Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin overthrew Russian Czar Nicholas II and founded the Soviet Union, forever changing the course of Russian politics. But was he a hero who toppled an oppressive tyranny or a villain who replaced it with another? Alex Gendler puts this controversial figure on trial, exploring both sides of a nearly century-long debate. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

3. History vs. Genghis Khan

He was one of the most fearsome warlords who ever lived, waging an unstoppable conquest across the Eurasian continent. But was Genghis Khan a vicious barbarian or a unifier who paved the way for the modern world? Alex Gendler puts this controversial figure on trial in History vs Genghis Khan. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

4. History vs. Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was both beloved and loathed during his presidency. In this imaginary courtroom, you get to be the jury, considering and weighing Jackson’s part in the spoils system, economic depression, and the Indian Removal Act, as well as his patriotism and the pressures of the presidency. James Fester explores how time shapes our relationship to controversial historical figures. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

5. History vs. Napoleon Bonaparte

After the French Revolution erupted in 1789, Europe was thrown into chaos. Neighboring countries’ monarchs feared they would share the fate of Louis XVI and attacked the new Republic, while at home, extremism and mistrust between factions led to bloodshed. In the midst of all this conflict, Napoleon emerged. But did he save the revolution, or destroy it? Alex Gendler puts Napoleon on trial. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

6. History vs. Christopher Columbus

Many people in the United States and Latin America have grown up celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage. But was he an intrepid explorer who brought two worlds together or a ruthless exploiter who brought colonialism and slavery? And did he even discover America at all? Alex Gendler puts Columbus on the stand in History vs. Christopher Columbus. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

7. History vs. Cleopatra

She was the most notorious woman in ancient history, a queen who enraptured not one but two of Rome’s greatest generals. But was she just a skilled seductress – or a great ruler in her own right? Alex Gendler puts this controversial figure on trial in History vs. Cleopatra. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

Art credit: Brett Underhill/TED-Ed

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via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/02/16/history-vs-a-ted-ed-lesson-playlist/

A brief history of African-American social dance (in TED-Ed GIFs)


This is the Bop. The Bop is a type of social dance. Dance is a language, and social dance is an expression that emerges from a community. Below, Camille A. Brown offers a brief history of African-American social dance.


A social dance isn’t choreographed by any one person. It can’t be traced to any one moment. Each dance has steps that everyone can agree on, but it’s about the individual and their creative identity. Because of that, social dances bubble up, they change, and they spread like wildfire. They are as old as our remembered history. In African-American social dances, we see over 200 years of how African and African-American traditions influenced history. The present always contains the past. And the past shapes who we are and who we will be.


Now, social dance is about community and connection; if you knew the steps, it meant you belonged to a group. But what if it becomes a worldwide craze? Enter the Twist.


It’s no surprise that the Twist can be traced back to the 19th century, brought to America from the Congo during slavery. But in the late ‘50s, right before the Civil Rights Movement, the Twist is popularized by Chubby Checker and Dick Clark. Suddenly, everybody’s doing the Twist: white teenagers, kids in Latin America. It makes its way into songs and movies. Through social dance, the boundaries between groups become blurred.


The story continues in the 1980s and ’90s. Along with the emergence of hip-hop, African-American social dance took on even more visibility, borrowing from its long past, shaping culture and being shaped by it. Today, these dances continue to evolve, grow and spread.


Why do we dance? To move, to let loose, to express.

Why do we dance together? To heal, to remember, to say: “We speak a common language. We exist and we are free.”

Camille A. Brown is a choreographer fusing dance and social commentary to explore race, sexuality and femininity.

Title Design by Kozmonot Animation Studio

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via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/02/14/a-brief-history-of-african-american-social-dance-in-ted-ed-gifs/

Should every kid learn to love computer science?

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The short answer is yes. Here’s why.

In the Lego Movie, the protagonists are “master builders” — enlightened blockheads with a superior understanding of how the tiny pieces of their plastic world fit together. This special knowledge allows our mini heroes to, for example, solve a thorny plot problem by taking a car apart and reconfiguring its pieces to build a rocket. The moral of the story? Knowledge is power, and power can be taught.

In the real world, innovative builders are easy to find. They often share two tendencies: 1) a solid belief in their own ability to create change in their environment, and 2) a basic understanding of how code works. The question is: How might we empower the next generation of problem-solvers? Here’s one suggestion:

Teach computer science skills — to all students — starting at an early age. “The kids of today tap, swipe and pinch their way through the world. But unless we give them tools to build with computers, we are raising only consumers instead of creators,” says programmer Linda Liukas [TED Talk: A delightful way to teach kids about computers.]

There’s a huge demand for programmers in the workforce“Everyone deserves a chance at learning about technology innovation,” says Kimberly Lane, a teacher in Texas. Yet the benefits of teaching every kid to love computer science goes beyond future career opportunities. “We live and breathe technology everyday,” says Lane. “If the current generation doesn’t leave a lasting legacy of technology inventions, what will happen to the generations to come?”

Teaching computer skills to everyone has a ripple effect, too. Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, notes that when girls learn programming skills, they become change agents in their communities. “If you look at the projects they create in our programs, you can see that they’re thinking about how they solve the most urgent problems in their communities,” she says. “For instance, two of our Midwestern Clubs students designed a technical approach to detecting lead levels in water.” Meanwhile in Seattle, some summer program students designed a mobile app that shows LGBTQ+ community members where to find safe spaces near them in the event of harmful situations. “That’s what we mean when we say girls becomes change agents,” says Saujani. “They use technology to make their communities a better place.”

To find 5 places where any kid can learn how to code, read this.

For more teaching resources, sign up here for the weekly TED-Ed Newsletter.

Art credit: iStock

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/02/09/should-every-kid-learn-to-love-computer-science/

Black History Month: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture classroom resources

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“I, too, am America,” wrote Langston Hughes in 1927. Like James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and August Wilson, Hughes was one of the great American writers of the 20th century. At the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, his powerful poetry invites you to explore American history through the African American lens. Here are 3 digital ways to look at some the 33,000 historical artifacts contained in the museum:

Download the museum’s mobile app for iOS and Android here. The app offers 5 ways to engage students of all ages — from brief stories about some of the museum’s special objects, to augmented reality experiences. For an audio tour of objects in this exhibit, text the word “lens” (not case sensitive) to 56512.

Find a National History Day project idea here and examine primary sources for your project here. Sorted by state, these ideas are available for all students to adapt and use. Learn more about National History Day resources here and here.

Explore the museum’s collection by topic, here. Some great resources to check out include conversation startersmultiple perspectives, and tips for planning a museum-related event in your area.

Black history is American history. To learn more about it, go here.

Art credit: Painting of Langston Hughes by Artist Winold Reiss, National Portrait Gallery

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via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/02/07/black-history-month-smithsonian-national-museum-of-african-american-history-and-culture-classroom-resources/

TED-Ed Weekend 2017: Save the date!

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You asked; we listened: TED-ED WEEKEND WILL RETURN!

So, mark your calendars for JUNE 17, 2017.​

​For those of you who haven’t heard, TED-Ed Weekend (TEW)​ is designed to bring the voices of TED-Ed Club Members to the TED stage in New York City. This event is just like the official TED conference, except for one thing: the audience, session leaders and speakers are all members of TED-Ed Clubs.


Couldn’t make it to the first TED-Ed Weekend? Here’s your chance! All active TED-Ed Club Members are eligible to attend, and applications will open soon. Stay tuned for more information.

Everyone ​had a great time during the first ever TED-Ed Weekend, and the next one is bound to be even more epic.

We can’t wait for more TED-Ed Club Members from around the world to join us here at TED HQ​. Save the date — you won’t want to miss this!

~The TED-Ed Team

Email us at tededweekends@ted.com with any questions.

To learn more about the TED-Ed Clubs program or to create your own club, visit TED-Ed Clubs.

via TED-Ed Blog http://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/02/02/ted-ed-weekend-2017-save-the-date/