YouTube & me

7 Feb

Before this class, I did not use YouTube. I am a stubborn person and when I make up my mind about something, there is no changing it. Vegetables? Didn’t eat them until I was 18. I just didn’t want to, so it didn’t happen. YouTube was only good for seeing animals riding on other animals and funny baby videos.

Since I had absolutely no experience with video sharing, I was really nervous going into this week. It took me way more than the predicted 12 hours to complete my weekly learning.

In Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (2010), Will Richardson identifies that there are questions about YouTube’s content and its application for education. I feel that since YouTube is a social media tool that our students are using, I should  focus my learning this week on using YouTube.
I started reading and viewing a lot! Strickland‘s (n.d.) simple but comprehensive explanation of YouTube allowed me to understand, not just how to use YouTube, but also a general overview of the company’s history and business practices (an important component when you want to understand the educational appropriateness of a program).
To fully experience YouTube, I had to become a creator of YouTube content. In the recesses of my hard drive I had footage of my dog attacking my parents’ sprinklers last summer. I have always wanted to be able to share the video with my friends and family, so, even though the content is not educational, it is personally applicable to my life (and teachers know that the best type of learning is personally relevant learning).

Then it was time. I could no longer remain a videohogger. I had to become a videosharer. Creating a YouTube account was relatively easy and before I knew it, my video (created on Windows Live Movie Maker) was up and ready for viewing. I initially chose to make my video private and embedded it into my blog.

This gave me my next lesson! When you embed video, you end up with an advertisement on the top. This was an unexpected snaffu. Thankfully I know about where you can create a new url for a YouTube video, devoid of unfortunate advertising. However, in order to use these programs, the video needs to be made public. Argh.

This caused me to reflect on how important it is to talk to kids about video privacy.  It would be beneficial for the teacher to have information letters and a parent information night on the topic, especially if many Web 2.0 programs are going to be used throughout the year. Internet safety and privacy settings would need to be a decision made by the students and their parents after discussion.
One YouTube function full of educational possibilities is video annotation. Text boxes, speech bubbles and highlights can enable students explain their work. YouTube Help provides clear and easy instructions to help you add, edit and publish annotations ( Or, for fun, at the end of video creation, students could create a “Making Of” version where they explain the process for the viewer. Here is my annotated YouTube video:

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Once students are comfortable with annotations, they can learn to make interactive YouTube videos (like a Choose Your Own Adventure book!). It is more complex because it needs extra planning, multiple video clips and linked annotations. It takes significantly more work than a regular video but it would be a great extension for students who need an extra challenge. (Below is an informative introduction to creating an interactive video.)

While doing research, I fell in love with this video of a kitten riding on a turtle (how can you not?!).

Upon reflection, I realized that I loved the music just as much as the video, so I set out to learn how to add music to my production. According to Stephanie Damm (, once potentially copyrighted music is added, or once you make use of YouTube’s AudioSwap program, your video will automatically have ads attached. That is the last thing teachers want attached to anything to that students produce! Since I want to use YouTube in an educational setting, I had to find another way to add my audio.

I researched Creative Commons music and found quite a few sites that support and offer usable music (ccMixterJamendoMagnatuneSimuzeBeatPickCASH MusicSectionZOpsoundPodsafe AudioAudioFarmInternet Archive’s Netlabels Collection; list from Legal Music for Videos). Using AudioFarm, I found a song called Funky House (Samples Remix) by FunkyVibe that was licensed for use. By signing in with my Twitter account I could download the audio to my computer. Perfect! To avoid having  advertising added to my video, I went back to Windows Live Movie Maker, added the music and adjusting the timing and volume level.
After some more research I found another way to use YouTube in our school. This year I have been working to update the video collection in our high school library. One of the teachers is in love with a mitosis VHS but the video has finally called it quits. I am on the hunt for a suitable replacement, but in the meantime I thought she could use YouTube videos. But I remember being a full-time teacher and barely having enough time to photocopy, you could forget searching all over YouTube for the perfect videos and then trying to open each one on the computer. Following the instructions provided by Lowensohn (2009), I created a YouTube playlist of mitosis videos. The teacher can access one link and have four videos to teach with.

This has been busy week, so, to relax, here’s a video from the Top 20 YouTube and Video Memes of All Time (Parr, 2009). Enjoy.


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