Annie Murphy Paul: What we learn before we're born Nov. 29, 2011
Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb -- from the lilt of our native language to our soon-to-be-favorite foods.
Damon Horowitz: Philosophy in prison Nov. 28, 2011
Damon Horowitz teaches philosophy through the Prison University Project, bringing college-level classes to inmates of San Quentin State Prison. In this powerful short talk, he tells the story of an encounter with right and wrong that quickly gets personal
Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling Nov. 23, 2011
iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.
Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement Oct. 17, 2011
In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains
Geoff Mulgan: A short intro to the Studio School Sept. 27, 2011
Some kids learn by listening; others learn by doing. Geoff Mulgan gives a short introduction to the Studio School, a new kind of school in the UK where small teams of kids learn by working on projects that are, as Mulgan puts it, "for real."
Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for a lost language June 28, 2011
Rajesh Rao is fascinated by "the mother of all crossword puzzles": how to decipher the 4000-year-old Indus script. He's enlisting modern computation to try to read this lost language, the key to understanding this ancient civilization.
David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes April 11, 2011
Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set again
AnnMarie Thomas: Hands-on science with squishy circuits April 4, 2011
In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different kinds of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers.
Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ... March 18, 2011
"If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... " began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis -- from a wide- eyed teenager soaking in ve
Deb Roy: The birth of a word March 10, 2011
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn in
Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education March 9, 2011
Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teache
Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools March 4, 2011
America's school systems are funded by the 50 states. In this fiery talk, Bill Gates says that state budgets are riddled with accounting tricks that disguise the true cost of health care and pensions and weighted with worsening deficits -- with the financ
Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies Feb. 15, 2011
Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old bab
Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning Jan. 14, 2011
In her talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as we
Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster -- from scratch Jan. 12, 2011
It takes an entire civilization to build a toaster. Designer Thomas Thwaites found out the hard way, by attempting to build one from scratch: mining ore for steel, deriving plastic from oil ... it's frankly amazing he got as far as he got. A parable of ou
Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes Dec. 15, 2010
Diana Laufenberg shares 3 surprising things she has learned about teaching -- including a key insight about learning from mistakes. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)
Shimon Schocken: What a bike ride can teach you Nov. 17, 2010
Computer science professor Shimon Schocken is also an avid mountain biker. To share the life lessons he learned while riding, he began an outdoor program with Israel's juvenile inmates and was touched by both their intense difficulties and profound succes
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers Nov. 15, 2010
From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity's most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real
Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain Nov. 1, 2010
We're bringing gameplay into more aspects of our lives, spending countless hours -- and real money -- exploring virtual worlds for imaginary treasures. Why? As Tom Chatfield shows, games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and ke
Barbara Block: Tagging tuna in the deep ocean Oct. 6, 2010
Tuna are ocean athletes -- fast, far-ranging predators whose habits we're just beginning to understand. Marine biologist Barbara Block fits tuna with tracking tags (complete with transponders) that record unprecedented amounts of data about these gorgeous