ESL Creative Learning

English Private Institute

How are humans and animals similar? Two students across an ocean discuss (TED-Ed Blog)


​​As we begin to round out the spring semester of TED-Ed Clubs, we have seen students present on topics that run the gamut from beatboxing to dark matter to neuroscience and beyond. The breadth and diversity of the topics chosen illustrates the imagination and individuality of these young presenters. Sometimes, though, the most exciting connections are made when we realize that two students across the world have had their curiosity sparked by the same idea. This was the case when 16-year old Marianna Yianni from Lakatamia, Cyprus and 13 year-old Katherine Malone from Birmingham, Alabama both chose to research and present on animals — specifically, how they relate to human beings. TED-Ed facilitated an across-the-ocean conversation between these two students (and their teachers Eva Poyiatzi and Dylan Ferniany), which covered animals, crafting presentations and mice with human ears.


Marianna, who will be presenting on the similarities between humans and animals, kicked off the conversation by asking Katherine what she has been researching. Katherine replied (as if it were the simplest topic in the world) that she was looking into whether or not it could be possible to mutate humans with animal DNA to produce human-animal hybrids. An edited version of their conversation follows:


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TED-Ed Club Member spotlight: Georgia Loui (TED-Ed Blog)


TED-Ed Club’s mission of bringing presentation literacy to students around the globe has resulted in participation from some pretty outstanding students. These students have interests they are passionate to learn more about, ideas they want to spread, and the courage to speak in front of their peers. Some even go a step further, taking a leadership role within their clubs or pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones. In this TED-Ed Club Member spotlight, we highlight one student, Georgia Loui, that has gone above and beyond as a TED-Ed Club Member.

Georgia Loui joined the TED-Ed Club at her school, ESL Creative Learning, excited and intrigued but without a clear idea of what exactly to expect. She found TED Talks and TED-Ed Lessons inspirational and motivating, but the idea of public speaking was something that made her nervous. Even as someone who plays the piano for an audience, the idea of speaking publicly was coupled with the fear of forgetting something or making a mistake.

However, Georgia didn’t let those worries keep her from doing something that exhilarated her. She put aside any hesitations and began attending club meetings, finding herself immediately drawn in by a variety of creative and fun activities — from performing a theatrical piece to experimenting with stop-motion animation. Georgia recalls, “It was a lot of fun, and for me, it was something new.”

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Modern day pen pals: TED-Ed Club virtual meet and greet(TED-Ed Blog)

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Five students in Hilliard, Ohio squeeze together  in front of a camera phone during a mid-morning break. About 6,000 miles away, the sun has already gone down in Nicosia, Cyprus, as another group of students similarly gather in front of a projection screen. As the two schools connect with one another, they make a few quick introductions before plunging into the topic at hand — their big ideas.

This conversation was part of the first TED-Ed Club meet and greet in which two TED-Ed Clubs — Hilliard Weaver Middle School’s club in Ohio and ESL Creative Learning’s club in Cyprus — met each other for the first time over video conference. TED-Ed hosted the meet and greet, which explored the two schools’ motivations for starting their clubs, the topics they’re most excited about right now, and the fears assigned to public speaking.

Why did you start a TED-Ed Club?

Hilliard Weaver Middle School’s TED-Ed Club:

“We saw the promo video, and not even a day later, we decided that this was an area of need in our school. We didn’t have something like this. There’s a speaking competition, and a couple of these guys are in it and did very well, but there’s not an area that promotes public speaking skills and presentation skills and really allows kids to explore whatever it is they want.”

ESL Creative Learning’s TED-Ed Club:

“We’ve been using TED-Ed videos and TED Talks regularly in class, and I believe that it will take their presentation skills to the next level — especially for the younger students. I also think it will help because we are a school where English is a second language, and that’s another burden for us. We have to do the [presentations] using English as a main language, and that’s already a challenge for the students. This is another way for them to learn the language and use it in a meaningful and motivating way.”


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