In 2009, there were 7.2 million teachers in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Imagine, then, how many lessons are being taught both nationally and internationally, but are restricted to the confines of the classroom. That thought is what drove TED to launch TED-Ed, an online collection of YouTube video lessons that goes live today.

“Right now, there’s a teacher somewhere out there delivering a mind-altering lesson and the frustrating thing is, it only reaches the students in the class,” said TED-Ed ‘catalyst’ Logan Smalley to the Washington Post. “We’re trying to figure out how to capture that lesson and pair it with professional animators to make that lesson more vivid and put it in a place where teachers all over the world can share it.”

Targeted at high school and college students, as well as “life learners,” TED-Ed has the potential to take a lesson that only 30 students got the chance to hear and offer it to the entire world. Even better? Each video is no longer than 10 minutes, meaning the lessons don’t meander or lose the attention of students.

With Khan Academy releasing their own iPad app, it’s clear we’re going to see some more changes being made in open-source education. Tie that in with iTunes U, MIT OpenCourseWare, MITx and MIT Blossoms and you’ve got a “digital classroom” that’s changing the way people obtain an education.

TED — standing for “Technology, Entertainment, Design — already maintains about 1,100 free videos, which have been viewed more than 700 million times since the site was launched in 2006, according to the Washington Post. Although the first batch of TED-Ed videos only contains about a dozen lessons, Smalley said the program will grow to about 300 within a year.

TED-Ed is currently inviting educators and animators to submit ideas for lessons. They’re also putting a call of action to students, hoping they’ll begin nominating teachers who’ve inspired them over the years.

“The TED-Ed teams hopes that anyone who’s passionate about education will help us find that teacher, capture that moment and amplify that moment the way it deserves to be amplified,” Smalley says in TED-Ed’s introductory video. Listen to hear what else he has to say in the video below —