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What Is TED?

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I have a dear friend who has become confined to her home because of an illness. When I suggested she might find some intellectual stimulation listening to TED talks, she said, "Oh, I love TED!"

She listens all the time. Bring up almost any topic at the dinner table, and she's got something fascinating to add to the conversation. Much of it she learned at TED.

What's TED? It's a non-profit devoted to ideas worth sharing. It's mission: spreading ideas. Starting in 1984, the company gathered idea experts, thinkers and doers, every year from around the world at a conference in Long Beach, California, and gave them 18-minute slots to share something fascinating about technology, entertainment, or design.

Every lecture was taped, and you can find them all at ted.com, where they're organized by newest releases, date filmed, most viewed, most emailed this week, most comments, most popular, or by rating: jaw-dropping, courageous, ingenious, fascinating, inspiring, beautiful, funny, or informative. You've gotta love that kind of filing system.

Since 1984, the events and the talks have expanded to include business, science, and global issues, which is just about anything, and you can select subtitles in myriad languages.

In addition to listening to TED Talks, you can now get involved with TED in all kinds of ways. We've got a list for you: TED Inspires Lifelong Learning

Be sure to check out how you can customize TED Talks for your own lesson plans!

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