Monday, August 20, 2012

How and When to Show a TED Talk

This post - How and When to Show a TED Talk - emerged from a conversation on Twitter between myself and one of my favorite Tweeps, Eric Castro (eecastro), who teaches in California. Rarely a week goes by that I don't bookmark at least one item he passes along, and frequently I seem to read two or three links that he suggests a day.

As you'll see below, Eric mentioned using a TED Talk on day one, and, well, I'll let Eric take it from here (cross-posted from

How and When to Show a TED Talk

I wouldn't say that we show a lot of TED Talks to our AP Psych students, but (a) Yosup and I do watch a lot of them for ourselves, and (b) we do show some to students.

Jon Ronson, who is a documentary filmaker and author, wrote The Psychopath Test: A journey through the madness industry, gave a TED Talk on his experiences with the question of sanity. Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test is 18-minutes long:

I would go so far as to say that this one video could serve as the introduction to our AP Psychology class. Either explicitly or implicitly, there is every single topic that we address in the course in this one video. But do I show it? And if so, when?

Part of me wants to lead off with this; use it as a teaser, use it as a draw. But, it's 18-minutes — an eternity for 17-year olds.

I mentioned this dilemma via Twitter, and you can see the dialogue that ensued between me and a Psych teacher in Durham, NC:

I'm not positive how I'll fit this into my 40-minute opening class, but I'm leaning toward teasing — just foreshadowing the questions and issues it raises — the video, asking students to take a position on the central question of the video ("Is there a definitive line that separates crazy from sane"), assigning students to watch the video for homework, and then having a discussion around the video during part of our next class (which will be an 80-minute period).

Thanks, Eric!
--posted by Steve


Peggy said...

I would love to hear how your 1st day experiment works, Eric. Will you please post an update for us?

Cindi Tripken said...

Loved this TED - May not be a first day episode but a great intro to DISORDERS. Thanx!!

kintzle1723 said...

We do something similar in our class on the 1st day. We show the 5 minute talk about “Not eating the Marshmallow” and relate it to the importance of self-control and discipline inside and outside of school. The “marshmallow” that we use to illustrate this point is their cell phones. We allow them to put them on their desk but they cannot use it or touch it during our discussion of self-control. It leads to some pretty awesome discussion on day 1, and really sets the stage for the rest of the class.

Steve Jones said...

I love the idea of the cellphones from kintzle1723 above. I like the marshmallow test but sometimes wonder if kids can connect to it. Heck, I don't even like marshmallows, so I would always pass it! But the cellphone application is brilliant - thanks for sharing it.