An eighth grade version of TED talks is becoming a great motivator for students completing the persuasive speaking requirement at their middle school. Cooperative Middle School, the student created verson of TED talks is known as ED talks. “We didn’t have to do a boring essay that was long and really formatted. We could be really fluid around it and have a lot of freedom,” said Clarissa Gowing. “It was my own topic and I was interested in it, so it was easier talking about it. I don’t love public speaking. I think being able to choose the topic and only going in front of a small group of my peers really helped.”

Teachers heard many of the same topics in prior years, which is why the ED talk approach was such a radical change.  Eighth grade English teacher Melissa Tobey proposed to have the students start their own version of TED Talks three years ago.

“It just kind of sparked the idea of making the persuasive speech more kid-friendly and 21st century,” Tobey said.

The top eight talks were selected by the students, and were presented before the whole eighth grade.  It was a recognition of the project more than a competition.  Teachers found that students were familiar with TED talks and much more interested in creating them than in the previous assignments. Students became experts on topics, and speak without notes.

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