Jan 25th, 2010. Just opened the trail fire, seared my eyeballs, and went to bed. The high of posting on photo sharing was followed closely by the realization that I had to do it all over again. Sort of like, Hotel California, you can check in but never leave. Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in. You get the idea?
My memories of video sharing involve a Friday afternoon in the 80's, spotting a huge film canister on my teacher's desk. The "A.V." kid would go and retrieve the projector. The teacher would break into a sweat as the kids watched the threading of the heavily man-handled film. "Does anyone have scissors?" We did; child friendly scissors. Friendly because all they cut was tissue paper. Needless to say the film was 'trimmed'. After a few attempts, another teacher would come in to assist. Finally, the blinds were drawn the dusty portable carpet breathed a sigh of relief that there was no popcorn involved.
Film back then was exciting. Not because of the information but because we could watch things backwards when the film was rewound. Imagine the laughter of watching a film of the Quebec Carnival backwards as the once chewed snowy toffee comes back out of a boy's mouth. Hilarious!
Now fast forward from Beta, VHS and on to YouTube.
Video killed the Celebrity Star (Reflections on Learning the Tool)
The topic of video sharing has brought down many a celebrity. But if Paris can do it…Good for her! I on the other hand was excited to start but again unsure of my subject matter. The first thing I did was sign up on YouTube. Imagine my delight to discover the possibilities of customizing your own home page. How many home pages do I need? Is this how celebrities feel with the multitude of homes?
Similar to Flickr, I assumed that these sites were just a dumping ground for videos. But much to my surprise, they have a community of their own. My first YouTube experience last year was to look up We are the World and Tears are Not Enough. Why? Because I enjoy watching 'the husband' squirm and think, " 'E-Harmony' not a match!"
Logged into YouTube, I sat there, waiting for the Web 2.0 fairy to create some magic. I am not sure if I am comfortable with being a member of YouTube. This may sound snobby, but Flickr feels more academic, close-knit, goal driven, more my style. Perhaps there is a noticeable shift in quality. Really YouTube feels like a being in a Junior High hallway, should I even be here? Whatever the feeling, I did search for other video sharing sites and found them. Teacher Tube is a collection of educational videos. Immediately I felt that the community was tighter and more along the same wavelength. Sort of like the option classes in high school. I was impressed by the variety of teacher materials. The other one, Watchknow.org, was created as of October 2009. I appreciated the indexing and the ability to search quickly for what was needed. The sliding age scale helps to refine the targeted age group. The site administrator admits that not all videos are indexed this way but that it should get better. I was not blocked from this site at work but was only able to get one video to upload. Still not sure why that was, at home there was no trouble. The third video sharing site is Discovery Education Streaming. I have had experience with this one from prior years in the classroom. The benefits were a vast array of videos, especially science and health. The challenges were the subscription fee and the videos had to be carefully matched to curricular outcomes.
Playtime! So I had to get in touch with my Inner YouTube. I wanted to create a video to share. What would be the subject? Not a tree, in the winter, they freeze on camera. I chose my cat. I have a weird cat. He must lie down to drink. No arthritis. I think he has mommy issues. I set up an amateur looking Photo shoot. The children said, "Mom, why is the lamp over there." "What's a photo shoot!" I said, "Watch out…stay over there" "This is for a course!"
The cat participated and I got the action shots. Now to upload! The Blackberry is out of memory, the digital camera is full. So I used 'the husband's' deluxe camera that takes close up pictures of dust. Uploading was interesting…well it's called a Canon Rebel because it will rebel…just well, because. Picasa and Moviemaker were also experiencing some 'tantrums and tiaras', so at a loss I signed up at ANIMOTO, a lovely video creation site. What fun? My husband spent the rest of the evening trying to ignore me but giving in when he heard the incredibly Euro trash music that comes for free on ANIMOTO. The 1-2-3 process was a miracle.
I had fun! Free does mean budget. Only 30 seconds in length. You can add text to separate frames. But the font size, shape and color cannot be altered. There is no preview button. So it is difficult to know if all the slides will show until you view it. The product is much better looking than a slideshow. Once you start it is difficult to stop. I would actually consider a subscription.
As a parent I loved it for the video creation possibilities, perhaps working with my children to create neat little vignettes with their toys etc. As for my social networks, I have always shared photos. This week was my first time sharing a video. In addition to last week's discussion about long distance connections with relatives, videos serve this purpose too. Here is my first product Mac , uploaded on YouTube. Note limited views. All mine. No ratings. No shirt. No shoes. NO DICE.
Humpty Dumpty sat on the Wall, Humpty Dumpty YouTubed His Fall! (Discussion of the Tool in terms of my own personal learning)
YouTube does seem to be a good place to share quick videos but I think I would do a lot more work in preparing a video to share with my colleagues. I think the personal and the professional are very different. If teachers decide to record their own presentations, an added benefit mentioned by Young (2008), is that the quality of the presentation actually improves. Just think back to those first year teacher evaluations, or perhaps not.
YouTube is perfect for learning. The amount of "How-to's" makes it a one stop shop for instructions. The multitude of perspectives also allow for content to be differentiated in terms of ability. This summer I looked up knitting videos. If you have ever tried to knit using those freaky drawings in books you will relate to my joy of have a 'video' granny seemingly sharing the rocking chair with me. I can say that YouTube changed my life and provided me with knitting lessons that actually made sense. A fingerless glove in an hour; totally true!
People at work send me videos. This one, the Muppets: Ringing of the Bells makes me laugh. Don't we all have an inner Animal? Who can forget the Paul Pott's audition video? Without video sharing, that might have been a last minute edition to the evening news.
Again I felt that creativity is difficult at the start. I find the pressure each week to create something of my own. I am beginning to understand that the tools add a new dimension to what is already there but just not discovered. The images of my cat were nothing in isolation but with the addition of text, music photo manipulation, meaning was created. I do have more of an issue with privacy in regards to sharing online. I think that I would be more comfortable showcasing my art than my family.
I learned that I could be using video sharing more. When you look at the world it makes you want to yell, " I Screen! You Screen! We all Screen for I Screens!" Have you seen screens? Well I am sure you have like the time you were blinded by a mall sign and nearly drove off a cliff or distracted by the 'dolled up' up van next to you with the DVD implants. Screens are one of the ways children are receiving information and we need to get on top of this. Videos are much more layered and multidimensional than images. I do believe that pictures are worth a thousand words. But videos have to be at least 1001. Music changes the tone and the added effects of writing also can create new and altered meanings. Are we as parents and educators ready for this?
Also, mentioned on WatchKnow, ratings are important to video sharing sites. The rating feature is encouraged and heavily influences what is viewed. I admit to this bias as well. When I see that a video received poor ratings I am likely to choose a different one. Similarly I am influenced by the number of views the video received. Those with high ratings and views are profiled on the home page. The social community determines what gets viewed. Thus the demographics play a huge role in determining how these sites are used. Perhaps there should be YouTubeY , YouTubeX, YouTubeBoomer and YouTubeSilver to account for the span in generations.
Finally, one of my favorite video sharing sites is TED; inspiration on daily basis and wonderful discussion starters. You cannot add to this site unless you are accepted by a board of prestigious people. However, it would be amazing to have students create their own 20 minute video presentation on a defining moment in their lives.
There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe, She Video Shared, You Can, Too! (Discussion on the tool in terms of Teaching and Learning.)
The opportunity to use videos for education is a huge discussion, bringing with it a multitude of concerns. It depends how video sharing is used. Is it teacher directed, vetted and viewed or are the student's in the driver's seat? Richardson (2009) provided my favorite quote on the subject, " YouTube is already having an enormous disruptive effect on our society, and it's also becoming a place where more and more of our students go to publish the artifacts of their lives" (p. 119). An intense quote about the equally debatable celebrations and challenges of video sharing.
Perhaps one of the big benefits to video sharing is its flexibility for education. Trier (2007) discusses this in terms of 'time and space shifting'. 'Time shifting' allows students to access teacher specified videos from anywhere they have an internet connection and similarly 'space shifting' refers to the fact that students do not have to be in the school building. A great example of this is Wallwisher. This is essentially a virtual bulletin board. The access can be real time in a lab or from a student's home computer. Here is an example that I posted. Sir Ken Robinson is one of my favorite speakers on creativity. I thought that having students view a quote, image, or video and then have them respond on a virtual stickie. (If you are reading this, please leave a comment on my Wallwisher). Of course after I worked through this process I found a link to these additional ideas. This approach to gathering student responses is more motivating and informative. In addition students are privy to read what other students are thinking. Also weighing on Wallwisher is the blog, On
an E-Journey with Generation Y. Here are list of additional features and limitations.
In our Digital Storytelling PD session this week, my colleagues and I used a PREZI. This provides for a more dynamic and flexible presentation than the usual linear aspects of a PowerPoint. Our tech consultant, Rob M., created this one. It includes four video links along with text. The teachers also were lent Notebook computers to practice on and preloaded USB's with preselected images and audio. Following the presentation we sent the participants the link to the PREZI. Now they can have many other glances at it and perhaps share with their staff. Of course, the big issue with Professional Development is access. As Will Richardson mentions in his Weblogg-ed article "'continual, collaborative, on the job' learning isn't very convenient for professional developers or for teachers in classrooms. It means re-thinking what learning looks like." Web 2.0 tools have a lot to offer for providing ongoing supportive professional development accessed on site or at home.
Mullen and Wedwick (2008) describe an example where a teacher had students gather YouTube videos, to represent a theme the class was studying. For example, nostalgia can be defined by having students gather videos that represent the shows they watched as children. Davis and Merchant (2009) stress the importance of vetting content by having teachers gather videos to post on their YouTube account and allow students to view them there. If there is not already a school site block on YouTube, I would consider it unwise for students to have free access to YouTube. Although guiding them through as a whole class would be a valuable alternative.
Viewing and Creation are two different sides of the video coin. (I have no idea if this coin actually exists but it sounded good.) Media literacy provides a huge issue in regards to what students understand and learn from. Media Literacy sites such as these provide opportunities for teachers to capitalize on what they know to be true. A classic video for me is the House Hippo. (I actually would have liked one of these and was devastated at the final reveal.) Davies and Merchant (2009) stress the importance of teachers providing instruction in how to deal with videos that have unpleasant messages, even if they tend to encounter these surfing at home. Essentially topics do tend to travel back and forth from home to school regardless of where videos or images were viewed.
In addition Ohler (2009) refers to a "shift from text centrism to media collage" (p10). Students today are not just deciphering meaning from text but many combinations of images and words. Teachers need to decide what best fits the content areas they are presenting. As teachers we do not need to be ultra tech savvy, but we do need to facilitate understanding for our students. Ohler (2009) asserts, "It is more important for instructors to learn how to articulate the nature of quality in the new-media domain and to help students express themselves clearly, regardless of the media used" (p.31). As mentioned in my previous posts, Web 2.0. tools are meant to facilitate the learning that is already happening. Successful integration of new tech tools is impeded when teachers view them as unnecessary add-ons or just 'cute' activities.
Digital storytelling is part of our Content Literacy AISI initiative. Strassman and O'Connell (2007) suggest that combining images and writing on the computer, increases motivation due to the possibility of enhancing the experience for the viewer. Of course, a key to any tool is availability. The teachers have been given introductions to ANIMOTO and StoryBird. These are both online video creation tools. But like in the previous posts the issues of blocking and basic internet connections can be an issue. Moviemaker is on all of our district computers, this makes is a great option for students to use.
Whatever video creation tool students use, the undeniable fact, as Richardson (2009) points out, students and teachers can share their work with a wider audience. Web 2.0 tools enhance creativity, communication and collaboration. Besides being fun, video sharing in the classroom is becoming a respected addition to instructional practices without being relegated to Friday afternoons or a time when the A.V. man shines in his black leather vest. If you need any more proof check out this amazing top 10 list of reasons to use YouTube in the classroom.
There is so much to discuss with video sharing. The layers and the depth of involvement for teachers and students is a learning continuum. Over time the medium will become second nature. In closing, here is a link to my ANIMOTO of my video sharing process this week. Enjoy! Remember to take time and enjoy the View.
Non Linked Resources
Davies, J. & Merchant, G. (2009). Web 2.0 for schools: Learning and social participation. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Ohler, J. (2009). New-media literacies. Academe, 95(3), 30-33. Retrieved from ERIC database
Ohler, J. (2009). Orchestrating the media collage. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 8-13. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Mullen, R., & Wedwick, L. (2008). Avoiding the digital abyss: Getting started in the classroom with youtube, digital stories, and blogs. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 8266-69. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Strassman, B., & O'Connell, T. (2007). Authoring with video. Reading Teacher, 61(4), 330-333. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Trier, J. (2007). "Cool" engagements with youtube: Part 1. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(5), 408-412. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Young, J. (2008). YouTube professors scholars as online video stars. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 73(9), 14-16. Retrieved from ERIC database.