6 ways to use TED-Ed Clubs in and out of school


Think TED-Ed Clubs only operate during school hours? Think again. TED-Ed Clubs come in all shapes and sizes. From the classroom, to the internet, and everything in between, here are 6 unique ways to use the TED-Ed Clubs model:

1. Host your Club at a local library
Clubs don’t necessarily have to meet at a school. Seek out community organizations like your local library to host your Club. Aimee Vann of the Ouray Public Library in Colorado adopted TED-Ed Clubs in her library’s public programming, and it’s thrived ever since. “The library setting is great because all of the library resources are at a student’s fingertips,” says Vann. “Students are not only learning about their TED topic, they are learning important library literacy skills they will be able to use in the future.”

2. Turn your passion for theater into a Club
If your school has a theater program, why not use the Clubs curriculum to supplement it? That’s what theater teacher Isabel Moraes did with her students in Casablanca, Morocco. Isabel’s theater students were very interested in learning about public speaking and body awareness. Isabel also wanted to find a way to show her students that they can make an impact in the world — so when she found TED-Ed Clubs, it was a perfect fit for her class. As a Club Leader, she tailored the Clubs program to complement her students’ passion for theater: “We focus a lot on stage presence, purposeful gestures on stage, and audience involvement,” says Isabel. Now that students are structuring their talks, “we are also discussing the similarities to play scripts and how we can use elements of drama to make a talk even more effective,” she adds.

3. Lead a virtual Club for homeschooled students
Believe it or not, not every Club meets face-to-face. You can run a TED-Ed Club right from your computer. For example, School of the Minds TED-Ed Club allows homeschooled students from all over the country to come together and discuss their ideas. Led by Carissa Leventis-Cox, School of the Minds is one of several virtual TED-Ed Clubs. Currently there are a number of active Club Members in School of the Minds, including kids from California, Illinois, New Jersey, Nebraska and South Carolina. How do they communicate? “Facebook with the students, via posts, comments, and videos,” Carissa explains. She adds: “I like the video component because students start to feel comfortable being in front of a camera.”

4. Try a student mentoring structure in your Club
Try implementing a mentoring structure with your Club that allows students to learn from each other. In this model, older students are able to develop key leadership skills, while younger students go through the TED-ED Clubs curriculum with the support of more experienced students. “The older students in the club serve as group leaders when the students split up into smaller groups to discuss the talks,” says Club Leader Erin Tarr of Champaign, Illinois, who combined her TED-Ed Club with Be the Benchmark, a teen mentoring club. “These smaller groups then form a stronger bond, and are also encouraged to share their high/lows of the week and keep the mentors informed about the details of their life.”

5. Start a Club to improve your English skills
Is English your second language? Start a TED-Ed Club to practice English while developing and sharing your ideas. Many English language schools have integrated the Clubs program into their studies to sharpen their language skills. For example, Bojana Golubovic of Nis, Serbia leads The American Corner Nis TED-Ed Club. “Students have their explorations in English, as well as preparing and giving speeches. English is a language they learn at school, two days a week,” says Bojana. “With TED-Ed Clubs workshops, they are developing speaking and writing skills in non-native language. They are also learning about American culture and how to appreciate cultural perspectives through language.”

6. Organize a community TEDx event with your Club
Suzan Brandt, a technology specialist at Mountain Brook Junior High in Birmingham, Alabama, took her Club to the next level by starting a TEDx event in the community. She’s taken the TED-Ed Clubs program and turned it into a pipeline for students preparing to present talks at their local TEDx event. “Our goal of the MBJH TED-Ed Club is for everyone to submit a TED-Ed talk and be ready to present at TEDxYouth@MBJH. In addition to TED-Ed Club members serving as speakers, we have invited other youth from neighboring schools to speak as well. We include adult speakers who are from our community or who have an idea to share that will benefit the audience, which includes youth, families, and community members.”

Ready to start your own TED-Ed Club? Apply here today!

Author bio: Victoria Tripsas is an intern at TED-Ed. Art credit: iStock.

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