As teachers, we’re already on board with the concept of life-long learning. Many of us are exploring Web 2.0 tools that maybe we’ve heard of but never explored or taught with in our classrooms. Blogging about this week’s topic, video sharing, is going to go in several directions, depending on how we see videos being used in the classroom.
One of the first things I considered when thinking about video sharing was You Tube. Who hasn’t played a You Tube clip in a lesson that had particular relevance to the topic being taught? Who hasn’t gone to You Tube to find out how to do something like create a wiki or use a social bookmarking tool like Diigo? Access to online videos has radically changed the way we access information supporting “just in time” learning. There are of course issues such as the depth of information available – is it detailed enough? Is it relevant? Who created it? And so on.
Videos in our classrooms can serve various functions. They can inspire and motivate, instruct and be a representation of student learning. With general searching, examples of videos are fairly easy to find. Here is an example of a video that inspires:
This is an example of a video that instructs us how to use the social bookmarking tool Diigo:
This Teacher Tube clip demonstrates instruction:
Here is a sample of a student using video:
While You Tube is the popular video sharing site, Teacher Tube is the educational counterpart providing a space for students and teachers to share videos. Creating an account is a simple procedure and is required for use of the site involving more than just surfing content.
If students are using video to present the product of their learning, then assessment can be ongoing throughout the process as well as summative, when the finished product is presented to the teacher, class, and wider world if it is posted to a video sharing website. Peer evaluation can be valuable at this point with students watching for elements such as voice, camera work, content, and how the video engaged its audience. There is tremendous learning potential with this tool for audience and creators alike.
Safety is a top priority and students also need to know what the expectations are when creating videos. Protecting personal information would need to be in the forefront of their minds whether they are interviewing, presenting, broadcasting or touring their community to highlight significant landmarks. There is divide between those teachers who are comfortable teaching in this online environment and those who are not. As William Kist says, “ What does ‘in loco parentis’ look like in this new arena of social networking?” (p.117) We have responsibility to our students to keep them safe while preparing them for life. When they leave school, many are living in, creating in and contributing to the social web. We have a job to do to prepare them for this environment and with that we need to broaden our own experience and comfort with Web 2.0 tools that are seemingly second nature to so many kids.
Susan Brooks-Young in her book entitled, Teaching with the Tools Kids Really Use, (2010) discusses some of the hurdles educators face in using videos in school. As she states, “the primary issues seem to centre on privacy, safety, bullying, copyright infringement, and, recently, child pornography concerns.” (p. 79) Education of all stakeholders, students, parents, teachers and administrators, is key to addressing these concerns and keeping the lines of communication open so that issues can be addressed.
Before this topic, I was only somewhat aware of photo sharing and video streaming with tools such as Flickr and uStream. I had seen Animoto and tried it at home but not in the classroom. Having seen some wonderful examples of student video productions, I can now see how it could be used in an elementary school. Student identity can remain protected while narration and animation serve to communicate student learning.
In Alberta at learnAlberta.ca there is access to the Online Reference Centre, a collection of carefully chosen high quality databases that provide not only images and text but web links and videos for teacher and students use. These video clips can be accessed for student inquiry or for instructional purposes. It’s a powerful resource that is regularly updated and assessed for relevance and applicability to the Alberta curriculum.
I was indirectly introduced last summer to George Couros, a principal in Alberta whose blog about Identity Day at his school inspired me to consider how such an activity would look in my school. Every person, adult and child, in his school, chose how they were going to present a personal inquiry. If I were presenting something about myself, I might use the Animoto video I created, Summer Memories 2010, available at the top of this page. I tried to have some fun with this while I learned how to use it. I would like all teachers to see the possibilities in these online tools and learning and sharing as we are on this course, is one way to start overcoming the fear that is so often a barrier to the world in which todays students already live. The statistic shared by Will Richardson in Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (2010) should spur us on if we’re at all on the fence as to whether we should join our students in using YouTube.com. Hold on to your hats because at the time of publication, “over 20 hours of videos are being uploaded to YouTube every minute, which translates to almost four years’ worth of video uploaded each day (tinyurl.com/p464gl). (p. 121) Incredible indeed!
Couros, George. (2010). http://georgecouros.ca/blog/
Brooks-Young, S. (2010) Teaching with the Tools Kids Really Use. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Kist, W. (2010). The Socially Networked Classroom, Teaching in the New Media Age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.