Last month, the folks at TED announced their new education initiative. They call it "TED-Ed," and it's part of a brand new platform designed to "capture and amplify the voice of the world's greatest teachers" in the form of short, sharp, animated videos. On Wednesday, TED-Ed took a big step forward by unveiling the Beta version of its website, a crucial addition that will turn these videos from entertainment into powerful educational tools. This could be the future of education as we know it.

The TED-Ed YouTube channel has been up and running for about a month now, and has already posted over sixty fantastic videos like the one featured up top. The videos are impressive in their own right, but where TED-Ed really shines is in the customizability afforded by the website. According to the press release:

Each video featured on the site is mapped, via tagging, to traditional subjects taught in schools and comes accompanied with supplementary materials that aid a teacher or student in using or understanding the video lesson. Supplementary materials include multiple-choice questions, open-answer questions, and links to more information on the topic.

But the most innovative feature of the site is that educators can customize these elements using a new functionality called "flipping." When a video is flipped, the supplementary materials can be edited and the resulting lesson is rendered on a new and private web page. The creator of the lesson can then distribute it and track an individual student's progress as they complete the assignment.

Think Khan Academy on steroids (Salman Khan is actually one of TED-Ed's advisors), and you'll begin to have an idea of what TED-Ed is shooting for, and why it has the potential to grow into a game-changing platform for education. As of this posting, there are already over 680 customized "flips" available for viewing, and that number is growing by the minute... we can't wait to see where things go from here. [TED-Ed]