Sunday, 20 September 2009

Module Five - YouTube - The Bane of a Teacher's Life? (Web 2.0)

It’s amazing how often I hear of YouTube being blocked in schools. In fact how many of the great web 2.0 tools are blocked. Often the blocking of such sites is a local issue and not a system decision.

There is no doubt in schools YouTube can cause issues. The main I am exposed to on a day to day basis is the drain on our bandwidth as students are accessing material from the site. Sometimes thisis quite legitimate as teachers refer students to a resource relevant to their studies. The problem comes though when 30 students are accessing (and therefore downloading) the same clip 30 times.

Another problem occurs when students are accessing YouTube clips while they are working. These are often music clips and whilst students may in fact be on task while they are listening to the clips it puts a strain on network resources. But banning access is NOT the answer. The answer more lies in educating students into being responsible network users. As Chris Morris recently tweeted in a conference back channel “You don’t teach children to eat correctly by locking the ‘fridge”.

We are still exploring the uses of YouTube type applications in Education. Sites provide a fantastic resource for students as they can find multiple explanations of how to complete mathematical problems. Of course teachers are now able to easily create their own versions and post to YouTube. Below is an example posted by Juliette Pantaleo from St Christophers, Holsworthy.

This sort of use of YouTube not only allows students to review a classroom explanation but it also allows parents to see the teacher’s explanation so that they can reinforce the same methods when attempting to “help” their children with homework. It also allows absent students to catch up on missed work. The next extension of this is publishing to Apple’s iTunes, maybe when a K – 12 channel is opened up for Australia.

Last year as part of the 2008 iLe@rn project, a simple but innovative use for YouTube was demonstrated whereby videos were posted by teachers to explain current assessment tasks.

We are only exploring the possibilities – but one thing that I believe is a given. YouTube and similar sites are an exciting part of the 2.0 Teacher’s arsenal!

If you are interested in further reading and examples of the use of digital storytelling this site at the University of Houston provides some great reading.