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Must watch Ted Talks for Teens article by True North Homeschool Academy with Discussion Questions

Have an outside-the-box thinker and learner in your midst? Embrace the ability to use alternative forms of teaching to inspire learning with these must watch Ted Talks for Teens.

Ted Talks are video or podcast episodes by experts who bring a subject or topic to life. We are free to disagree, discuss, and dive-deeper as we watch or listen, and that's the beauty of the format.

So, let's dig in.

The ABC List of Must Watch Ted Talks for Teens

We'll take an A, B, C approach, with a caveat; we aren't recommending commericals or embedded ads. And we aren't necessarily in 100% agreement with these Ted Talks, but they are worth watching. Parents may want to preview videos and listens to podcasts first. These videos are suggested for teens 16+.

Understanding How to Approach Ted Talks for Teens

Many of the ideas on Ted Talk are revolutionary. They may ruffle your political or scientific feathers. The recommendation of your teen being 16+ is given because of the controversial nature of some Ted Talks.

AI Ted Talks

3 myths about the future of work (and why they're not true)

Description: “Will machines replace humans?” This question is on the mind of anyone with a job to lose. Daniel Susskind confronts this question and three misconceptions we have about our automated future, suggesting we ask something else: How will we distribute wealth in a world when there will be less — or even no — work?

Discussion: Define and explain distribution of wealth. How does the distribution of wealth have an impact on innovation and the creation of new jobs? Do you think we'll arrive at a world with less or no work?

How we'll earn money in a future without jobs

Description: Machines that can think, learn and adapt are coming — and that could mean that we humans will end up with significant unemployment. What should we do about it? In a straightforward talk about a controversial idea, futurist Martin Ford makes the case for separating income from traditional work and instituting a universal basic income.

Discussion: How can we research the ideas and world view of Martin Ford to verify, accept, or reject them? Discuss and debate the idea of a universal basic income. Can we know his world view?

How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution

Description: “The actual path of a raindrop as it goes down the valley is unpredictable, but the general direction is inevitable,” says digital visionary Kevin Kelly — and technology is much the same, driven by patterns that are surprising but inevitable. Over the next 20 years, he says, our penchant for making things smarter and smarter will have a profound impact on nearly everything we do. Kelly explores three trends in AI we need to understand in order to embrace it and steer its development. “The most popular AI product 20 years from now that everyone uses has not been invented yet,” Kelly says. “That means that you're not late.”

Discussion: Discuss was AI will potentially alter our future. Do you agree or disagree with Kevin Kelly? What were the three trends? How can we prepare for a future with AI? Can we ascertain his world view?

Best of the Web Ted Talk

Smash Fear, Learn Anything

Description: From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What's the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

Discussion: How can fear be our friend? What can fear teach us about ourselves? How can fear propel us to learn anything?

Learning from Dirty Jobs

Description: Mike Rowe, the host of “Dirty Jobs,” tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Listen for his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it's been unjustifiably degraded in society today.

Discussion: Describe the horror and beauty of hard work. How has the Ted Talk given you new insight or appreciation for dirty jobs?

What it takes to do extreme astrophysics

Description: All over the planet, giant telescopes and detectors are looking (and listening) for clues to the workings of the universe. At the INK Conference, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy tours us around these amazing installations, taking us to some of the most remote and silent places on Earth.

Discussion: How has the discussion of dark matter changed your perception of the universe? Anil Ananthaswamy challenges us to preserve places of silence for study and observation. Share how we could do this.


On technology and faith

Description: Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology's power to improve lives and change the world — but says the end of evil, suffering and death will come only after the world accepts Christ. A legendary talk from TED's archives.

Discussion: How does Rev. Billy Graham's Ted Talk challenge you to think about how science and faith come to different conclusions about what ends evil, suffering, and death?

A life of purpose

Description: Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book's wild success. He explains his belief that God's intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good.

Discussion: What talents do you have or need to cultivate in order to influence our world for good? What level of living do you want to embrace? How is leadership stewardship?

Did any of these Ted Talks Inspire You?

Comment and let me know what you think. Did I miss any Ted Talks you would include?

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