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Brenda's Blog: You Tube

Using YouTube in the Classroom

Now that you know something about YouTube (If you dont, see my previous blog, Have You Tried YouTube?), you might be wondering how you can use it in your classroom? Is it worth your time to sift through reams of silly and sometimes inappropriate YouTube videos in the hope of finding a clip that could play an important role in your students learning process? And what if you find a video worth using in the classroom -- how do you access it when most schools have made the decision to block YouTube?


Speaking Up

What do you think? How can educators best navigate the waters between powerful learning content and unsafe Web content. How does your school or district handle the problem of YouTube and other risky tools? Join the Conversation.

Just like any emerging technology tool, YouTubes value is not a given -- it depends on how the teacher uses the video content to support and advance learning. Remember Dr Judi Harris caution, Please, let's remember: it's not about how we use the TOOLS. It's (mostly) about how we USE the tools."

Herding a class of students down to the computer lab to watch a few catchy videos has no more learning benefit than turning a class of students onto the Internet for a half hour of random surfing. The power of YouTube only is activated when the teacher has a clear idea of how a specific video clip can be used to introduce a concept or theme, instigate a discussion, or serve as a writing prompt.

To help you learn about the ins and outs of using YouTube in the classroom, Edutopias Chris ONeal has written, A Teachers Tour of YouTube. In that article, he not only points teachers to some of the educational gems found on YouTube; he also reminds readers that the ease with which we can access those videos can make the site risky for students, since the videos and accompanying comments and discussions are unfiltered and un-moderated. The article confirms the need for teachers to be vigilant about being mediators between YouTube videos and students.

In the reader comments accompanying the ONeal article, teachers share their favorite YouTube sites as well as thoughts about how those sites can be used in the classroom:


Youve found a wonderful video clip that youd like to use to introduce a unit on Endangered Species, but your school has blocked YouTube. What can you do?

Many teachers download YouTube videos at home using KeepVid or Oyoom -- sites that allow users to download FLV (flash video) files to their computers. After saving the video on their home computers, the educators use a memory stick to bring it to school and show their students. (Note: To do that, you need the free FLV Player downloaded on your school computer). For more information, check out A History Teacher blog.>


Imagine being able to access a free online educational community that shares instructional videos devoted exclusively to teaching and learning. Educator Jason Smith did more than imagine it; he enlisted the help of his younger brother, and together they turned their ideas into a reality called TeacherTube. Launched in March 2007, the overarching goal of TeacherTube is to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners" and to provide anytime, anywhere professional development, with teachers teaching teachers." In addition to providing professional development for teachers, TeacherTube provides a place to post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill."

TeacherTube -- what a great idea!

Who Is Brenda?

Brenda Dyck is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). In addition to teaching preservice teachers, Brenda is the moderator of MiddleTalk, a listserve sponsored by the National Middle School Association (NMSA). Her "HotLinks" column is a regular feature in NMSA's magazine, Middle Ground. Brenda also is a teacher-editor for MidLink magazine.

Author: Brenda Dyck
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