TED, TED Ed,Technology and Leadership.

Every day, very many technology tools are produced. The rapid change of these technologies can be overwhelming at times. An organizational leader needs to be aware of some of these new technologies in order to introduce the relevant ones to their organization. Jane Hart (2016) listed 200 such technological tools in 2016. Many of these tools are useful in leadership and education. For today’s blog, I shall reflect on TED and Ted Ed.

It is said that there is no force on earth as powerful as an idea whose time has come. TED is based on the premise that “ideas have the power to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world” (TED Ed, n.d.). TED is a non-partisan and non-profit organization interested in “spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful, talks (18 minutes or less)” (TED, n.d). The acronym TED stand for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED originated from a technology, entertainment and design conference in 1984. Currently, TED organizes talks (TED talks), special events in communities around the globe (TEDx), and online educational lessons (TED Ed). Thus, TED is a platform that allows people to share their world-changing ideas with the world. TED is a Web 2.0 platform as described by O’Reilly (n.d). First, because it is a platform that depends on different people contributing to it, sharing ideas, assessing its repository of knowledge and popularizing the best/better talks and educational uploads. Second, because TED is designed to be assessable in a multiple of devices as well. Third, TED and TED Ed encourage download and reuse of its resources with minimal or no restrictions. Thus, by aggregation of use and view, popularizing and sharing the better and best ideas, the ideas that can shape attitudes and world naturally emerge.

One of the most watched talks on TED is on education. TED Ed provides a platform for teachers who have very good lessons to present their lessons and make best taught lessons accessible, not just to a classroom somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but literarily accessible to the whole world or any student or teacher with access to the internet.

As a trustee of an educational institution, TED Ed provides model lessons for teachers in our institution to learn from. As a matter of fact, the principal of the school I am a trustee teaches chemistry and have found model chemistry lessons from TEDEd both helpful to him and insightful/enjoyable for students. Moreover, TED and TED Ed provide opportunities I can encourage my staff to contribute to, in an attempt to add to its shared repository of knowledge. This will continue to help the internet flatten (Friedman, 2007) the world by seeing that most knowledgeable teachers and lessons are accessible to more students. Furthermore, students from any part of the world, in any university or school, can understand concepts better from the best and most experienced professors, professionals and teachers. TED provides an avenue, for me as a leader and an educational leader, in collaboration with our Human Resource departments to provide on-going formation in leadership and education for staff in our organization. This is because TED has very insightful and cutting edge ideas on various spheres of leadership and administration from some of the most insightful and knowledgeable individuals in this field.

The disadvantage, which is indirect, that I notice, is that there are many parts of the world where access to the internet is impossible. There are many good teachers (and even non teachers) whose lessons will never make it to TED Ed. There are many good ideas, that due to access to the internet, will never be able to share with the world. Furthermore, there are many students who lack access to the internet. As a result, they will never have access to TED or TED Ed and benefit from their repository of knowledge. Thus, invariable, TED Ed continues to encourage and contribute spiky (Florida, 2005) or uneven access to the world’s repository of knowledge. Those with access to the internet and its related technology will benefit from TED and TED Ed. Also, those with access to technology and internet will be allowed to make their voices and opinions heard. As TED explains, these voices and ideas will continue to shape our global values. But the ideas of those whose voices are not heard, will be lost. Their ideas, will fail to affect the world’s values. And some of their beautiful ideas will die with them.

It has been argued that the extremism we see in the world today, and the reactions against globalization in the rise of nationalism, is the result of lopsided approach to globalization. That is, when global values are being affected by those of the few perceived “outside” values. There is a great need for the voices of the many (especially those whose voices are not heard) to be heard so that the values influencing globalization is truly global.


Florida, R. (2005). The world is spiky: Globalization has changed the economic playingfield, but hasn’t leveled it. Atlantic Monthly, 296(3), 48.

Hart, J. (2016). Top 200 tools for learning 2016: Overview. Retrieved http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/
Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
Robinson, Ken. (n.d.). Do schools kill creativity? Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

TED. (n.d.). TED: Ideas worth spreading. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization

TEDEd. (n.d.). About TED Ed. Retrieved from http://ed.ted.com/about


8 thoughts on “TED, TED Ed,Technology and Leadership.

  1. TedED is a great tool for higher education and education in general. We have several faculty members who have TedED talks that we use at all our campuses worldwide. I read today that Department of Ed released an outline of their vision for tech in higher education that will support the National Education Technology Plan (Schaffhauser, 2017). Joseph South, director of the Office of Education Technology state that technology will be “an incredible tool for equity” (p.1). His quote reminded me of Friedman’s book about how technology is changing the makeup of the world. Technology is allowing most the ability to learn things they would have never learned. TedEd has allotted my students the opportunity to hear inspiring lectures that inspire them in their quest for purpose, service, and leadership.

    Schaffhauser, D. (2017, January 19). Department of Ed outlines a vision for tech in higher education. Retrieved from https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/01/19/department-of-ed-outlines-vision-for-tech-in-higher-education.aspx


    • SONeal,
      Thanks for the link to Schauffer’s (2017) article. I agree that technology has the capacity to make quality education more accessible especially to the marginalized segments of the society and the world. I, like your students, find TED talks quite motivating. Educators can do a lot with it, if they come to understand its varied potentials. These talks and model lessons can be utilized for training purposes, encourage learning or to inspire discussions. There has to be deliberate effort and investment to ensure that the huge benefits of technology education reach those that are most in need. It will have to be a deliberate effort, I think, between educational institutions, governments, and the technology industry to make this happen.



      Schaffhauser, D. (2017, January 19). Department of ed. Outlines vision for tech in higher education. Campus Technology. Retrieved from https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/01/19/department-of-ed-outlines-vision-for-tech-in-higher-education.aspx


  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the overview of TED. I must admit that I have never been a fan of TED talks though I am not knowledgeable about TED Ed so my criticisms are focused more on the general talks since TED Ed may be doing great and wonderful things. I have always felt TED talks were speaking down to me and they have the feeling of a Tony Robbins infomercial but that is my perspective. With the mood lighting and the wireless microphones, I get the impression of attending a religious revival or megachurch and yes, I have observed both firsthand. While the information being shared is usually great, I wish there was more give and take with the audiences. To meet the collaborative nature of Web 2.0 applications, perhaps if TED talks were given to smaller audiences in a town hall style of presentation that encouraged the exchanging of ideas would better meet the definitions of O’Reilly’s (2005) next generation business model. Do the TED Ed presentations encourage observations/criticisms from audience members or commenters? Ben Hammer


    O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a//web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html


  3. Dear Hammer,
    You are correct that the TED talks can feel so one sided almost like and infomercials. From what I can gather though, TED, through TEDx, does encourage participation, interaction, conversations and feedbacks from participants, communities and persons from across the globe. TEDx website explains that “TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences” (TEDx, n.d.). During TEDx events, there are life TED talks, and viewing of TED videos. These generate discussions/conversations and ideas. Although the recorded presentations cannot exceed 18 minutes, the TEDx events last several hours and there can be breakout and workshop discussions, interactions and conversations after the presentations (though these are not recorded). I believe that there are real time feedbacks since conversations and discussions are involved.

    On your question, TED Ed does allow room for questions, discussion and learning through its online forum. Kindly see this lesson on multiple intelligences by Soffe (2017) and how the discussion actually encouraged further learning beyond the initial lesson created by Soffe.



    Soffe, E. (Lesson Creator). (2017, January 9). 8 intelligences: Are you a jack of all trade or a master of one? TED Ed lessons worth sharing. Podcast retrieved from http://ed.ted.com/featured/ovmAclG8/discussions/so-what-do-you-think-do-you-dabble-in-many-intelligences-or-are-you-a-master-of-one

    TED. (n.d.). TEDx Program. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program


  4. I really like how you related the TED concept to the ideas of the world being either flat or spiky. Indeed a TED talk cannot benefit an audience without Internet access, even if the talk is meant for that audience. What do you think is the future of Internet penetration, particularly in developing countries, and what would it mean for healthcare delivery?


  5. Mark,
    Developing nations do not have the same percentage of their populations in internet penetration as their developed counterparts. Developed nations have more in terms of percentage of their population that use the internet. However, many developing nations are improving their internet penetrations tremendously. Currently, data shows that there are actually more internet users in India and Nigeria than in developed nations like France and the UK (Williams, 2016). The amount of internet penetration continues to grow in these developing nations. Thus, there is a lot of prospect in the use of internet for educational purposes in developing countries.

    I cannot speak for all developing nations, but, there are signs that internet, communication technology and technology are being used for health care delivery in developing nations. More patients and doctors are using the internet to research for appropriate treatments and drugs, thanks to the growing internet technology trend in developing nations. Kenya, through its mobile telecommunications, is currently exploring ways of using mobile technology to improve health-care delivery through safer and easier payment for treatment (Mobile technology, n.d.). Telemedicine is enhancing health care delivery in Rwanda (Asaba, 2016), and drones are being used to deliver needed bloods for transfusion and other essential medical supplies to rural areas in Rwanda (Simmons, 2016). I have just mentioned these to show that there are huge potentials in this area of using technology for health-care delivery in developing nations. A lot more needs to be done to ensure that technology helps bridge the gap in health care delivery especially in developing nations. Governments, ICT companies, non-profit and for-profit organizations need to work collaboratively to make this happen more rapidly and to bridge the huge need gap.

    Thanks again Mark for your question.



    Asaba, S. (2016, June 20). Telemedicine: The future of healthcare. The New Times. Retrieved from http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-06-20/200943/

    Mobile technology. (n.d.). Eudevdays.eu. Retrieved from https://eudevdays.eu/sessions/mobile-technology-democratising-health-care-africa

    Simmons, D. (2016, October 14). Rwanda begins Zipline commercial drone delivery. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37646474

    Williams, B. (2016, November 17). Internet usage: Nigeria ranks 1st in Africa, 8th globally, says digitXplus. CFAtech.ng. Retrieved from https://cfatech.ng/internet-usage-nigeria-ranks-1st-in-africa-8th-globally-says-digitxplus/


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