Our technology coordinator had emailed me the Ted.ed website and a brief description of what it did and I largely ignored it. It seemed like a cool thing but I never quite figured out how or when to use it. I did run a brief experiment with it with my archaeology class; they had a vaguely Roman video there which I figured would give me a good sense, but through a combination of a lack of preparedness on my part (I had forgotten about the possibility of students making accounts) and some funkiness in the video / process (all of the answers for the multiple choice questions were given to them; not sure what that was about) turned me off.

But as I was approaching manuscript week with my Medieval Lit class, in which we spend a week looking at the process of constructing Medieval manuscripts, I had a few videos that I used that I thought might work well with the Ted.ed website, so I revisited. And I’m glad I did.

With my own video (ok, a video that I used from the Getty Museum via YouTube) and my own questions, things worked much more smoothly. I also made sure to have my students make accounts before watching the video, so I could see results.

So what my students got (and I’ll admit that this was not flipped; we watched it in class because I wanted to see how it worked) was a 2.30 video on the construction of Medieval manuscripts with questions along the way about terminology and other information presented in the video. Using the bookmark feature, I also connected each question to the time in the video where the answer was given, so that if they got a question wrong they could go directly to the part of the video where the answer was.

The students enjoyed it, both the video and the questions, and I suspect enjoyed the video more because of the interactivce nature of it. So Ted.ed (after an ill-fated attempt) gets a thumbs up. It’s a cool tool that’s easy to use and can bring a level of interactivity to class. Anyone else using it?

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