YouTube is huge, powerful, and not always beautiful…kind of like love. We simply cannot avoid it. Educators may be skeptical about its content, but they use it in lessons anyway. Many teachers love YouTube, but kids live it. They have accounts, subscribe to channels they love, comment on others’ work, and publish their own videos. I observe students going directly to YouTube, not Google, to search an answer to a how-to question. When asked why, they say: “I want to see it.” And they are right – most of us are visual learners, and a good YouTube video will teach more than a thousand words of a well-prepared lecture ever will.
Right now, I am working on building a unit on explorers with our fourth grade team. I took a chance and YouTube-ed the topic. With a click of a button, more than thirteen thousand videos were at my fingertips. Yes, it took me time to find what I wanted: a video with relevant and reliable content. I discovered Colonial America, a great resource, but not necessary a video production. It’s lengthy and includes names of explorers that, according the Social Studies Georgia Performance Standards, fourth graders do not need to know. I think it would be beneficial to break down the video into smaller segments using TubeChop and show them throughout the unit. I also found Discoverin’ America, a song written by students and presented in a video format. The content is relevant, and kids who love music would definitely make a connection with this resource. I have to say that videos suggested at the end were not necessary for the eyes of elementary students; therefore, I would suggest usingSafeShare.TV to create a safe link to the video, leaving out any advertisements, comments, or suggested videos.
YouTube resources for professional learning can be easily accessed by teachers at any time anywhere. Just like other social media tools, YouTube can be a powerful place to build a personal professional network in which teachers can subscribe to channels, read and post comments, and connect with professionals around the world. About three years ago, I met Meg Ormistong, a presenter at GaETC. She had a YouTube channel, and we were invited to subscribe to it. This was my first encounter with connections on YouTube. Now I have a whole list of educators whose YouTube presentations I follow. It helps me stay connected and learn from great instructional technology leaders like Jamie Vandergrift. She has her channel directed towards professional development for her teachers. Social Media for Professional Development is a great example of her work.
One of my favorite how-to channels is ExcellsFun. I’ve never had a formal training on Excel, and it is challenging for me to create forms with formulas needed to track and analyze data in the Data Team process. This channel has helped me learn how to create sophisticated formulas, link data, and create graphs.
Sometimes, we all need a good laugh. We often go to YouTube to find and share funny videos via emails, Twitter, or Facebook. To stay focused on academics, I thought it’s a perfect time to watch State Scores Arrive at the Bunker and smile…