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On raising kids who are more than “hoop jumpers”: A teenage TED speaker’s mom on how she encourages her sons to innovate

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Jane Andraka has raised two remarkable sons. Luke, age 20, is studying electrical engineering at Virginia Tech. “He was always tinkering and taking things apart — wondering how they worked, wondering how they could be made better. He had ideas coming out of his brain like a firehose,” she says. Meanwhile, Jack, age 18, is a teen innovator and scientist who gained international attention when, three years ago, he created a promising method of early cancer detection. In a talk at TED2013 that’s been viewed nearly 4 million times, Jack Andraka shared the story behind the four-cent strip of paper that appears to be 400 times more sensitive in detecting pancreatic cancer than the previous standard — and that could work for ovarian and lung cancer too.

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Announcing the next TED-Ed Club Connect Week!

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The TED-Ed Club program is all about supporting and sharing student ideas and passions. In addition to creating and sharing their TED-Ed Club videos, TED-Ed Club Members also have the opportunity to spread their ideas during TED-Ed Club Connect Week, in which students around the globe digitally connect and hash out their presentation topics. We had such a blast during our last Connect Week and we cannot wait to do it again May 11th through 15th!

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Why I taught myself 20 languages — and what I learned about myself in the process

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During the past few years, I’ve been referred to in the media as “The World’s Youngest Hyperpolyglot” — a word that sounds like a rare illness. In a way it is: it describes someone who speaks a particularly large number of foreign languages, someone whose all-consuming passion for words and systems can lead them to spend many long hours alone with a grammar book.

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Advice for young writers and designers from renowned book jacket artist Chip Kidd

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Tucked into the northeast corner of the Vancouver Convention Centre, a podium was set up for the duration of TED2015. A small camera captured what happened behind it, with a panorama of Vancouver’s mountains and harbor in the distance, complete with sea planes skimming across the water. From this vantage point, classrooms around the world Skyped in to TED2015 for meet-and-greets with both new and veteran TED speakers. Second graders, middle schoolers and students applying to college came in early or stayed late after school for these Skype in the Classroom sessions, which gave the opportunity for them to ask speakers like Mark Ronson and Dan Pallotta about their personal experiences. One elementary schooler even made a very serious request to Sylvia Earle for permission to drive her submarine.

One of our favorite TED speakers, book jacket designer, Chip Kidd, spoke with a classroom in California along with one of TED’s in-house designers, Celia Berger. They had some smart tips for budding writers and designers that we thought were too good not to share.

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10 facts you should know about Vincent van Gogh

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10 facts (and a video) on the prolific genius who was born on this day in 1853. 

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TED2015 Skype in the Classroom with Dan Pallotta

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One major theme emerging at TED2015 is the power of connection to create a true and daring future. Whether it’s the link between Mars exploration and microbes, or the launch of a new StoryCorps app (illustrated by TED-Ed animators), this year’s TED conference highlights the many ways that human beings can inspire one another to greater feats — just by talking. While at TED2015, AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta (TED Talk: The way we think about charity is dead wrong) talked with students in the UCLA TOMS club during one of several Skype in the Classroom conversations worth sharing. [Click here to watch the TED2015 Skype in the Classroom conversations.] Pallotta connected with the next generation of philanthropists to discuss inspiration, ideas — and why it’s important to take one day at a time. Below, read his life advice to students.

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TEDActive 2015 TED-Ed Workshop: Educators, translators — and great ideas

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TED-Ed is TED’s education initiative. Our mission is to amplify the voices and ideas of teachers and students. One way we do that is by exploring new ideas with teachers at the annual TED-Ed workshop at TEDActive.

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20 books to read in 2015: TED-Ed Educators share their top 5 must-reads

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If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was the classic “read more books” and you haven’t so much as opened a magazine, we’re here to provide some inspiration. TED-Ed asked a few of our favorite educators to weigh in on the best books in their subject — for students, teachers and lifelong learners alike — to crack into during 2015. Here, find a list of their top 5 picks in literature, science, math and history.

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Why microbes matter: A TED-Ed Lesson and TED Talk pairing

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Your body is made up of 10 trillion human cells. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, when compared to the 100 trillion microbial cells that are in and on your body, that number looks surprisingly small. And though microbes often get a bad rap because of their associations with various diseases, recent research points to the fact that these organisms could actually be playing quite a big role in keeping us healthy. In this TED-Ed blog series, we pair short, informative TED-Ed Lessons with longer, more in-depth TED Talks on the same subject. Today, let’s meet your microbes.

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5 questions for physicist James Gillies

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James Gillies is an expert science communicator. If you want to learn more about dark matter, or find out if antimatter falls up, or explore how cosmic rays help us understand the universe, you can — he and his fellow physicists at CERN have created TED-Ed lessons to help you do just that.

TED-Ed spoke with Gillies recently about the Large Hadron Collider, what Nobel Prize-winning physicists do for lunch — and how to spark scientific inquiry in schools around the globe. Below, read an edited transcript of our conversation.

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