Monday, February 4, 2008

Let's Get Serious Now!

YouTube is open to a wide range of users. Some are eager to share their own personal lives and viewpoints. Others want to meet new people and interact online through watching and sharing videos.
I was somewhat dismayed at the subject matter of some of the clips. Security and appropriateness of material became a concern of mine. Do young people have access to the questionable material? The short answer is yes, due to the fact that you can sign in and lie about your age when setting up an account. What are the implications for schools? I know that in Calgary, the public high schools can access YouTube and close monitoring is not always occurring. The filter levels at the Elementary level and Junior High level prevent students from accessing YouTube in the school setting. A teacher can override the security level for a student for educational purposes but that rarely occurs.
The implications for teaching and learning are varied and valuable. On the Educase Learning Initiative website,( an article written in September 2006 examined the role of YouTube at the school level. According to this article,and I would believe the majority would agree, YouTube enhances students' visual literacy through viewing videos and through discussions. The article goes on to say that the application itself enourages experimentation with new media which develops a deeper understanding of the subject and the tools used to create the content. Students are exposed to new insights and skills which link them to a variety of online communities. As well, it discusses the fact that YouTube as a social network is replacing passive learning with active participation, where everyone has a voice, anyone can contribute and a network of learners form around content and support one another in learning. The potential to use YouTube as a teaching/learning tool is great but there needs to be a plan in place to ensure that students are able to critically analyze material for appropriateness and know how to effectively utilize it and apply it to their learning and education.

Another video-sharing service was discussed in a few other blogs called TeacherTube. According to their website, the goal of Teacher Tube is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. Their aim is to provide an educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.
I had heard of it and decided to take a look at what it had to offer. I found it easy to navigate and decided that for the elementary level it had alot of potential. So much so that I set up an account with them too. I decided to take a look at some science topics and chose one on machines called 'Screws are Amazing Machines'.Grade Two students would be highly entertained and develop a better understanding of screws by time this musical video was done! Researching applicable topics to the curriculum would be more straightforward and age appropriate when using TeacherTube.
The possibilities are endless and I intend to go to school tommorrow, check to see that I can access TeacherTube and start some students exploring for applicable video clips on time, and the calendar.

Video sharing is a part of the world of our 21st Century learners and we need to take advantage of this tool to access information and support student learning.


Val said...

Hi Cindy:
I agree there is a lot of inappropriate stuff on YouTube. I particularily don't like all the videos scrolling up that are 'currently being viewed' on the home page. You are bound to get at least one, if not many scantily clad women or other inapprpriate sites for elementary students.

When I have used YouTube with the students I have the exact URL of the site that I put on the white board. The kids are good at going to it directly saving a lot of hassel.

Two key points come to mind that you mentioned and has been our major focus this topic. Teaching critical thinking is key, how to make smart choices when choosing sites, and having a plan ahead of time that has specific learning outcomes.

I am treading into this water gently with specific sites for specific purposes. Great observations.

Glad you enjoyed the Pay Attention - Digital Learners video. I too think it will be great one to show staff at our next inservice day.

Katie said...

Hi Cindy,
I had never heard of TeacherTube before this class and I only had a limited amount of time to look around, but I plan on doing some more indepth snooping this week! I signed up for an account as well... there is a really good video by a teacher who does a rap song about perimiters!! Very brave, but really fun.

Arlene said...

Hi Cindy, I found inappropriate content on some other video sharing sites but it didn't come up in YouTube. I know it's there but I was looking for pretty specific things and I didn't come across it. As Val mentioned, it could come up on the homepage if is is currently being watched which is unfortunate. Arlene

Ronda said...

Hi Cindy,

I was impressed by TeacherTube, as well! I found that although TeacherTube was a more reliable source for appropriate videos, it did not always provide a wide variety for all themes and subjects I would be interested in using for lessons. For example, there were minimal videos which related to Hamlet or Macbeth. However, YouTube contained many videos which could be classroom-friendly. The only stipulation: they need to be screened carefully. Both can have a place in visual literacy.