A Tale of Two Tubes - Video Sharing in the Classroom


photo by largeprime
photo by largeprime

photo by largeprime
Teachers have been using video to supplement classroom instruction for decades. Online video sharing is big business, and it makes classroom video use cheaper, more convenient, and more customized, as long as you can find quality content amidst the junk. Like other Web 2.0 tools, video sharing sites enable users (for better or worse) to easily publish content to the web. YouTube, the most popular video sharing site on the web, currently garners about 200 million visitors a day.

As you explore YouTube and its "education-oriented" companion, TeacherTube, you will encounter many familiar Web 2.0 features, such as RSS feeds, user comments/ratings, groups, and, of course, tags. Like many resource-rich websites, much of the content on YouTube is not school appropriate. The comments are unfiltered, so even a perfectly benign and educational video can have reams of inane text posted below it. But there is a wealth of "good" stuff on YouTube, so it's definitely worth a look. (Plus, now that you know how to EMBED, you can present JUST the video content you choose to students, without visiting the YouTube site directly! See the HELP Video!)

And, yes, copyright questions abound.

Discovery Exercise

PART 1: YouTube Scavenger Hunt
If YouTube is blocked at your school, you will probably need to do this at home. To bring YouTube content to your classroom in a blocked setting, you can use the free Zamzar service to download and convert a video for offline use. (Zamzar Quick Reference)

Your challenge is to find four videos:
  • Find two videos that relate to your teaching content and/or professional learning interests.
  • Find one video that teaches you "how to" do something -- ride a bike, knit a sweater, bake a pie -- whatever you like. (Will Richardson recently told us that you can find out how to do most anything technological by searching YouTube!)
  • Find one video that's just fun, nostalgic or interesting to you.

PART 2: Explore TeacherTube (YouTube "alternative" for Education)
TeacherTube, launched in March 2007, aims to provide a "more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners" to share instructional videos and student media projects. TeacherTube currently offers free unlimited uploading of educational video. TeacherTube relies on its user community to keep the site student-safe by flagging inappropriate content. (Personal disclaimer: While I love the idea of TeacherTube, its frequent site slowness and barrage of advertising bug me.

Please check out TeacherTube with an eye for PRODUCING content. Possibly the most powerful potential for video sharing to support teaching and learning is to contribute original content -- make your students into teachers! What types of projects might you or your students contribute to TeacherTube?