9 TED talks you need to see on Digital Learning Day

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There are plenty of ways to celebrate Digital Learning Day, but perhaps one of the most entertaining is to watch a TED Talk. While it was no easy feat choosing just nine favorites, we think these are so good that you'll want to watch them more than once.

1. The happy secret to better work, Shawn Achor

While it likely wasn't intended as a stand-up comedy routine, Shawn Achor's talk on “The happy secret to better work” will leave your sides aching. And it's all too perfect, given that the whole point of this talk is how happiness can actually inspire productivity, which is exactly what Achor accomplishes with his entertaining presence. Expect a sudden surge in energy after this one.

2. The game that can give you 10 extra years of life, Jane McGonigal

If you've ever needed the perfect excuse to grab the controller, you'll find it in Jane McGonigal's talk. Perhaps one of the most eye-opening moments here is the clinical-based discovery that showed just 30 minutes of online game play per day was enough to create dramatic boosts in mood and long term increases in happiness.

3. The power of introverts, Susan Cain

Being an introvert is tough during a time of open office floor plans and personal branding. Thankfully, Susan Cain clears up many of the negative ideas associated with introverts, and talks about the hidden strengths of folks who prefer to recharge alone. She also makes an excellent point when discussing the introvert-extrovert spectrum, and references a number of successful introverts, some of which might even surprise you.

4. The power of vulnerability, Brene Brown

When most of us think of vulnerability, we see it as a potential weakness. Brene Brown shows us how, when expressed appropriately, vulnerability can actually be a major strength.

5. I listen to color, Neil Harbisson

Believe it or not, the title here is a literal one. Neil Harbisson, who is completely colorblind, uses technology that allows him to hear different colors. He explains how his brain works with the technology to allow him to distinguish between various colors, and how it's changed his perception of everything from faces and music to art and food. Even more than that, Harbisson's "electronic eye" can see colors that the human eye cannot.

6. The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn, Jeremy Howard

Deep learning may not be anything new, but its progression is one worth noting. In a nutshell, deep learning is an algorithm inspired by how our brains work. It's an almost eerie way for machines to learn without much help from us humans. Jeremy Howard explains the potentially life-saving benefits of this wildly intelligent technology, while also pointing out some big threats it may pose within the next five years.

7. We are all cyborgs now, Amber Case

In less than eight minutes, cyborg anthropologist (talk about a sweet job title) Amber Case explains how our smartphones are essentially wormholes, transporting us in mere seconds from Point A to Point B. While this idea may seem rather obvious at its surface, Case takes it a step further when she touches on the consequences of dedicating too much time to our external brains, and not enough for self-reflection.

8. Elon Musk: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity

Elon Musk believes that we're not far from a time when all modes of transport will be fully electric. In this interview with TED curator Chris Anderson, Musk gives us an inside look at how he's working to make that happen.

9. Connected, but alone? Sherry Turkle

Cultural analyst Sherry Turkle makes the case that we're allowing our technology to take us places where we don't want to go. She discusses how, in a time of instant connection and communication, we're more disconnected than ever; that we're “alone together.”

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Contributor

Stacy Warden

Stacy is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog and has worked in publishing since the dawn of the iPhone. Currently, Stacy deals in tech and education--a combination that she finds absolutely fascinating. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.