Tuesday, February 26, 2013

YouTube is open, now what?

(Here is an example of using YouTube. I post these quick animations to relay a message, announement, or piece of information.)

YouTube is open. So now what do we do? The question is one that we must now ask and answer since the school board ordered YouTube and other streaming sites to be open. I was surprised, a little shocked, and very happy to hear about this new development. The school board is scoring some major points in my book lately with the building copy limit raised to 1,500 copies per month, and now opening YouTube. I don't know who to thank for this, surely it's not me because I'm simply a lowly teacher and what do I know? When I do find out who is responsible for opening YouTube, I shall give them a big hug. I have always thought YouTube should be open. So now that it is, what do we do? Here is a list of things to think about with the opening of YouTube: 

1. It's open, use it! It's a great resource for teaching. It is loaded with interesting, engaging, thought-provoking, meaningful videos. Remember when we had discovery education? For the most part, that was a real bore-fest. With Youtube, you can find all sorts of interesting, helpful video clips to help your kids learn. (Afterall, isn't that the point?) Type in your subject matter, content, or topic and see what you can find.

2. Strengthening the case for teacher websites. Now that Youtube is open, it is even more important to have your own website for school that is used for more than just lesson plans. With Youtube, find some good videos for what you are teaching about and post them on your website. This can be done with any website. Most of the teachers at BVMS use frontpage or blogger. With any website host, you can either provide a link or embed the video player right on the page. Students could watch these videos in school, study hall, etc. 

3. Significant increase in monitoring your students. We all know students are sneaky and clever. Whether its bullying when there's no teacher around or texting in their pocket, students are good at getting away with stuff. You must not let your students be roaming the internet freely. You must be walking around watching what they are doing. Check to see how many browsers they have open at the bottom of the screen. Check to see what tabs they have open. Constantly be watching, especially early on as the students will no doubt be excited Youtube is open and wanting to use it. In my class, whenever my students are using my netbooks, I have them turn their desk around so I can see the screens from my podium. 

4. YouTube video settings. When you find a video you like and want to use/post to your website, customize the settings to your liking. I would recommend NOT clicking the "show suggested videos when the video finishes."  When a YouTube video finishes, it always gives suggested videos related to what you just finished watching. Sometimes, this produces some videos that you wouldn't want your students to watch. Not checking the box will NOT provide the suggested videos, thus keeping the video player to only the video you want viewed. 

5. Internet Citizenship. Talk to the students about using the Internet in a safe way, appropriate way. Explain to them the risks of inappropriate use and consequences they might face. Talk to them about not taking advantage of the privilege we now all have. We wouldn't want to lose it. Make sure your students log in with their profile so if something bad is used, we can track it. Do not allow them to use "media" for the username and password. 

6. Video Projects. Are your students making a video? Are they doing a presentation you want to record? Student projects are a great thing to put on YouTube because it allows you to watch and share them easily. However, when doing this, I would recommend listing the video as "private to only those with the link." This keeps them off the public search, which I feel more comfortable with. Check to make sure students are not listed on the "no media" list and/or get permission. More about uploading and settings could be discussed at a later time. 

7. Flipped Classroom. Perhaps this is a good time to try "flipping" your classroom. Flipping the Classroom is a big undertaking but you can start small and just give a basic flip a try. Record yourself explaining a concept or teaching about a topic and post it to your website for students to view on their own. That way, they are ready to do the work when they get to your classroom. Flip: School work at home, homework at school. (It's flipped.) Having YouTube open would help this be a easy process because once again your students can now watch it at school with ease.

Final Thoughts: Enjoy having YouTube open. Think creatively and come up with ways to use it to help your students learn. It's got a lot out there, start sifting through the videos and find some stuff to help your curriculum. 

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