Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tubes Infinitely More Useful than Buckets???

While I enjoy they idea of photosharing, the idea of sharing rich, dynamic, eye-catching, and entertaining video seems to hold much more promise than still images alone. While this technology does scare me as a teacher, I think its benefits far outweigh the risks...if I do my job right!!

Personal Exploration of Video Tubes

While many video sharing sites exist I figured the best use of my time would be spent on the major bandwidth player YouTube. To be honest I enjoyed this week's homework the best. What better way to learn about the media other than exploring it yourself? I spent hour after hour touring the gems that people like me are contributing to society. Move over Spielberg and Lucas! The consumer is in the game and we are creating classics ranging from:


I lost all track of time and actually forgot my purpose for the exploration (more on this later). Before I reigned myself in, I just had to find a way to catalogue my trip and to contribute to this giant soup o' fun. I signed up for an account which is the best thing I could have done. Having an account meant I could take control of my experience. As a member I can now subscribe to channels and save my favourites with a simple click. Even cooler is the fact that when I log in, a list of recommended channels and videos (based on my viewing habits!!) are the first thing I see. Sharing my videos was just as easy. A one click upload and Markvision is broadcasting.

And sharing the videos using my blog seemed far easier than my Photobucket experience. No error messages. Just a copy and paste and my blog is instantly multimedia!

Personal 'Tubing' Applications

As an individual I love to laugh and to learn. As you have figured out by my blog, I usually live in a remote area that can make this challenging. For instance, I have decided to take up guitar to help fight off the winter blah's. While books are educational, subscribing to guitar channels full of lessons by highly skilled musicians...way better!

I have found that doing my courses this year requires me to sit for hours on end. As a student, I am finding that things can become....a little boring (my teacher side abhors that term). Having video and other interesting media incorporated into my courses and available for a few minutes of distraction, can revitalize me enough to have a longer and more productive time at the computer. While this application may seem isn't. YouTube can be a life saver!

Beyond my own personal edification, the increase in bandwidth opens doors for me to stay in touch with my family as I travel and it can create new active hobbies for my son. Instead of him becoming an obesity statistic by having to sit and watch other people's inventions, he can be inspired to create, edit, and share his own. The act of creation engages his mind and his body in ways that books, audio, and passive media can't. This makes me a happy daddy as anything he is into can instantly become a learning experience and after he posts his videos, he gets feedback that can encourage him to continue in that activity.

Professional "Tubing" Applications

The application of video sharing to my job as an educator drew me into revisiting YouTube in a different way and to good old fashioned reading. Davies and Merchant (2009) poignantly stated that YouTube was not designed for schools and therefore "users need to know how to tread a path that will feel fruitful and safe" (p. 56). In my experience, students gravitate to videos online for entertainment purposes. Any chance they get they use YouTube to watch music videos and to post the fun things that they did on the weekend. Left on their own, they will likely not get anywhere close to the objectives that I feel we need to cover.

I will make the bold statement that without skilled teachers, video sharing would be a useless application within the walls of our schools. Mishra and Koehler (2009) inspired this thought by reminding me that many of the tools I use in my class weren't designed for me as a teacher:

“Technologies including standard productive or office software, blogs, wikis, and GPS systems were not designed for teachers, and as such, teachers must repurpose them for use in educational contexts. Such repurposing is possible only when the teacher knows the rules of the game and is fluent enough to know which rules to bend, which to break, and which to leave alone. This requires a deep experiential understanding, developed through training and deliberate practice...” (p. 16).

Some have taken the approach of repurposing video sharing by creating a safer alternative like TeacherTube. On this site students can find video lessons on just about any topic. Others have utilized spaces that combine basic video sharing, with live streaming video, photosharing, blogging, and wiki's to create huge professional development communities online. I participated in an hour long session on around blogging and wiki's in schools. In that hour I heard about blogging, I could type in questions that would be answered in real time, I saw recorded lessons by professors, I saw student blogging at work, and I got to experience the repurposing of Web 2.0 in action!! If it floored powerful could this be for my class.
Further exploration showed that some teachers are using YouTube to generate whole units for their students . Check out
Science is a highly visual experience (Park, 2009). My science students can record their experiments and use the video to analyze their results. If this video is shared then students can learn from each other and they can enter into deeper discussions around issues such as experimental error.

Motivation is a big problem in classes like Science but as Park (2009) put it so well:

“Thoughts that dominate the adolescent mind include “Look at me,”and “Look at what I can do.” Using this as motivation, we can encourage students to be the stars in events that display concepts in science.” (p. 34) love of video.

While safety is a huge concern (Branzburg, 2007; Richardson, 2009), there are a few things we can do to minimize risk:
1) Create a website with the pertinent videos embedded into your site. This means the students won't have to be exposed to extraneous material that may be inappropriate. Blogging makes this quite easy to do (Branzburg, 2007)

2) Utilize tools like This tool just plays the video and blanks out all other content. Click here to see it in action.

3) Download the videos from YouTube. I didn't have the chance to try these sites out but according to Branzburg (2007), sites like may be helpful with this. Creating downloadable videos would open the door for students to take lessons on their travels which would be a huge help up North where attendance is such an issue.

There are so many more applications to explore but I am out of time. Please consider taking the time and encouraging administrators to give you the time to become comfortable with video sharing and streaming video. But remember the tool is to be used. It isn't to replace highly skilled educators:

YouTube can inform, but there’s no substitute for a teacher’s selection of content, instructions, and running commentary. Teacher input adds depth, poses additional
questions, encourages students to look at details, and makes connections that align the video with school curricula and standards. (Everhart, 2009, p. 33)

Nonlinked Resources:

Branzburg, J. (Oct 2007). You can take it with you: how to integrate video segments in curriculum--without worry.(How To). Technology & Learning, 28,(3). p.40(2). Retrieved September 26, 2009, from Academic OneFile via Gale

Davies, M., & Merchant, G. (2009). Web 2.0 for schools. New York: Peter Lang.

Everhart, J.. (2009). YouTube in the Science Classroom. Science and Children, 46(9), 32-35. Retrieved September 26, 2009, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1755933371).

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009, May). Too Cool for School? No Way!. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18. Retrieved September 26, 2009, from Education Research Complete database.

Park, J. (2009, June). Video Allows Young Scientists New Ways to Be Seen. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(8), 34-35. Retrieved September 26, 2009, from Education Research Complete database.

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.