YouTube is a Web 2.0 technology or social media site created in February of 2005 by three former PayPal employees and was purchased by Google in 2008 for a very large amount of money.
It is now a product of Google operating as a subsidiary. This means that when you sign up for Gmail or any other Google product, you can easily sign up YouTube using the same information upon just one click. Individuals and companies use it to network with others.
This is the way YouTube works. Individuals can view videos as either registered or unregistered users. Registered users are able to upload as many videos as they want, creating a personal channel, while unregistered users have no uploading options.
Registered users can manage their account and change their settings at anytime. Users can opt to make the videos they upload either public or private. A public video can be viewed by anyone who happens upon it in the search engine. The public does not have access to a private video.
Either way the user is provided with a link as well as an embed code for personal websites. Registered users have an option to subscribe to other channels, to share any video they are viewing on other social networking sites.
Registered users can “like” or “dislike” a video by giving it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Users can email it to family and friends, or they can make comments on the video.
The premise is the children under the age of 18 are not provided access to explicit content, but most parents and educators know that our youth, our digital natives, find ways around that rule all the time.
In the past YouTube videos were deemed inappropriate for neither secondary nor post secondary classroom use. It is still blocked by many educational institutions. This valuable Web 2.0 tool has gotten its bad name because individuals had no fear about posting videos, while responsible citizens and educators were full of apprehension.
As a result the bad stuff, the inappropriate content, the lewd videos that nobody wanted their children to see or hear were published almost every hour of every day, since its inception.
Many educators still function under the misnomer that YouTube is not appropriate for the classroom. Where some educators believe we should direct our focus, towards teaching our youth “how” to make good choices when using any Internet website.
Consequently, there are both secondary and post secondary educators who believe YouTube is an untapped and valuable educational tool. A video can help students understand a topic and engage them in sound pedagogical and anagogical lesson designs to introduce a topic or re-teach a content focus.
Including a video in the lesson design is an excellent way to leverage teaching and learning. A good exercise is to have students research, analyze, compare, and contrast a several videos on YouTube that relate to the topic at hand. An appropriate video can be included in any phase of a lecture, assignment, or project.
There are videos on almost every topic from English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, as well as most elective courses. Of course you will need to do a preliminary search to find out what is available. You’d also need to screen videos for inappropriate content, but I guarantee you will find one or two videos for each topic you teach.
YouTube is a prize for teachers; it is a very useful resource. However, YouTube is not just a source to view videos. What about guiding students to creating videos using information from lectures, lessons, readings, and assignments? It’s value have been transformed!
Imagine your students reading a complex text, analyzing it, then synthesizing the information and creating a video to display their understanding. Can you imagine how can use such a tool to evaluate your student’s learning? Can you imagine the increased value when students are given rubric so they know what you are looking for “before” they record, upload, and make public? Can you imagine the learning that will take place “as” students review notes, re-read texts, collaborate with peers, write informative drafts of scripts, include research, explore new options, write, and rewrite in preparation for recording their videos?
Again, YouTube affords students the opportunity to revolutionize learning moving it into the 21st century. Many educators don’t merely utilize it as a place to have students view useful videos. On the contrary, YouTube is now being utilized to supplement all content areas, create project-based learning artifacts, and build writing skills.
The world around us drastically changing, and fast; and YouTube plays a large part of that change is a reflection of that change. It’s time for a meeting of the minds. It’s time for educators to form think tanks and engage in conversations and collaborations about how to change perceptions and foster educational connections of this valuable educational tool.
It’s time for educators to join forces in not only creating content for educational use in all content areas but to guide our students in helping to facilitate that change. What better way than to include in it lesson plans and artifact requirements; crafting clearly defined and well developed rubrics?
There is already a wealth of videos available in all content areas on many topics, as educators’ worldwide have begun this revolution. As per CCSS, teachers are to facilitate the synthesizing of knowledge. YouTube, Google Apps, and other Web 2.0 tools provide easy access to venues for students assemble information, summarize it, analyze, and create new and useful things in all content areas.
Now it is time for reflection. What would happen if only 4 out of every 10 educators from each content area leads their students and teaches them how to use YouTube and other social media responsibly, would join in this current transformation of Web 2.0 technologies?
It’s here, it’s growing, it’s changing, and it’s common core. Why not be a part of it? If you haven’t already experienced it, imagine how excited your students are, or will be, about learning with the inclusion of this easily accessible technology.