The Reflection Pool

YouTube – Underappreciated by Educators?

Last year, I listened to Alec Couros at Connect 2013 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Alec is a well-known University of Regina professor who is at the forefront of connected learning. He spoke about “Disrupting Learning” and how our connectedness to everything should be changing schooling.

He talked a lot about YouTube.  Now, I’m pretty sure everyone reading this post has used YouTube, if only for the crazy cat videos. Alec’s point was that we don’t leverage YouTube to transform learning. We don’t explore all the possibilities. In the time since the conference, I haven’t seen many educators using YouTube consistently for learning (as opposed to showing a video to keep kids compliant). I’ve thought of a few basic examples, but I would love to know more.

Photo Credit: redsoul300 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: redsoul300 via Compfight cc

Teachers could find a provocation for their latest inquiry about Canadian/American relations and the War of 1812 Why not go visit Rick Mercer at YouTube?

Do you want an inspiring video about life? Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address fits the bill – from YouTube.

Maybe you and your colleagues need a good laugh or a wake up call. Bad Substitute Teacher can help.

Best of all, you can make your own videos! For example, our district has a channel:  HWDSBtv. All kinds of video is posted there. You can easily create your own channel and then upload videos. Not sure how? I bet some of your students or staff would be more than happy to help. Videos don’t have to be anything fancy – you can record a message for your staff, students or community on your webcam and upload it with the push of a button on your own channel.  I’d love to see some examples of this to share with colleagues.

What do you think? Is YouTube a disruptor or a distraction?

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9 thoughts on “YouTube – Underappreciated by Educators?

  1. Sue, thanks for getting me thinking (again)! I do love to use YouTube to upload videos and/or podcasts of students sharing their work. I’ve recently started using HWDSBTv, and love the fact that it strips away the YouTube ads. I know that the ESL teacher at our school is using HWDSBTv to share videos of his students reading and/or discussing their reading. It’s great that parents can view these at home and further the discussions with their children.

    YouTube videos have provided some great provocations for inquiries! I’ll admit that I pin many of them on our class Pinterest Boards for students to access for research. Students are starting to suggest other YouTube videos to pin as well, which provides an awesome opportunity for them to share their resources with classmates.

    I love that our Board has opened up YouTube. It does provide some wonderful opportunities for classroom use. I’d be very interested in hearing how others use it or what they think about doing so. Your post made me realize just how much I do use it (something I never really thought of before). Thank you!


    1. Thanks as always to Aviva, who has inspired me over and over with ideas for using YouTube in the classroom!

  2. The ads on youtube are discouraging me from using it like I used to. The last year I’ve seen one to many Calvin Klein bra commercials with my 6 year olds. Even the videos that come up around the video when it ends sometimes are not appropriate viewing. I try to always download to get ad free but with inquiry based learning this isn’t always possible as there isn’t as much planning ahead. Just my 2 cents!

  3. I should also say my kids love to see themselves on youtube but I’m thrilled about the hwdsb tv. Seems safer to me!

  4. We use YouTube regularly in @FawcettsClass and love it!

    YouTube is the easiest & quickest tool I know for sharing videos & voice memos created using iOS devices. Some of our uploads are videos; others are just sound recordings. Our videos are an important communication piece for parents, a review tool for students, a way to share ideas with other educators…just a really important window into our classroom. YouTube gives students in our class an authentic audience. When our learning is shared on our blog or via Twitter, hopefully that engages others students, educators and classes. Some of the videos become part of a database that can be used by future classes, too.

    Our channel videos include these & more:

    – students sharing information about their learning
    science building
    science experiments –
    – student self-assessment
    – students taking on a leadership role in sharing information with other classes (e.g. Day of Pink
    – review of concepts for students to refer to when working in class or at home
    building with popsicle sticks:
    – instructions for students when there is an occasional teacher in the classroom
    – a tool for students to self-assess their daily efforts with respect to organizing & caring for our classroom environment
    – a tool for students to use to self-assess their learning in music (e.g. Recorders
    – a tool for sharing visits by classroom guests
    parent/chiropractor teaching us about skeletal system:
    author/artist Evan Monday Q & A session following a presentation and video of Evan Monday creating a drawing before our very eyes!
    – a review tool for students involved in our school musical when working on their parts at home
    – celebration (Olympics)

    Videos are included in our daily blog and blog posts links are emailed to parents, staff and admin, and also tweeted. YouTube is fantastic!

    1. p.s. I forgot to include that @FawcettsClass created a video about how raising minimum wage to a Living Wage (or even a Participation Wage) can benefit communities. The video was a whole class effort connected to our learning about Living Wage, following a visit and learning from HWDSB Trustee Alex Johstone and Tom Cooper from the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. The video has privacy settings attached so cannot be shared here; however, students were very excited when asked if their video could be shared at a community event last year involving the all new All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus Talk about an authentic audience for students!

      1. Michelle, thanks so much for your comprehensive response. You certainly don’t undervalue YouTube! I will take some time to check out the links you have shared.

  5. youTube is definitely a great asset. I’ve been using it for years for content and uploading lessons. Some apps like SockPuppets I’ve had to upload on youTube before embedding on my class website because it is the descriptive feedback piece that has been very valuable for the students when they comment on each other’s work. I still remember an art video our class did a couple of years ago and the AGH somehow found it and asked to upload on their site. When I told my Grade 2 class, the looks on their faces was priceless! The other great thing about posting on youTube is that lessons or student work can be revisited by the students over and over again, as opposed to the students trying to retrieve information via memory. In Grade 2, the latter can be very difficult and most often after a lesson, I’d say at least half the class will re-visit a lesson to help them complete tasks. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Gurdeep – I appreciate the comment. I checked out your YouTube channel and there are some really neat videos created by your students. Thanks for sharing with me.

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