Thursday, September 22, 2011 Helping teachers use YouTube to engage and educate their students

James Sanders, a middle school history teacher at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, talks about a very interesting tactic involving the use of YouTube in his middle school classes. Obviously, there are positive and negative aspects to using video technology in a class, which Sanders understands, but he finds many more positive aspects than negative ones. He is now teaming up with the people at YouTube to create a tool to use YouTube as an educational tool. I agree with him when he says, "What was the one tool I found most useful as a teacher and most engaging for my students? YouTube." As a student myself, I have experienced extremely boring class lectures where the teacher simply talks the whole time and the students are almost falling asleep. However, when a teacher shows a video from YouTube, it immediately gauges my attention. Most students prefer visual learning than auditory learning, that is, lecturing. The problem, in my eyes, that teachers have with showing their class numerous YouTube videos like Sanders does is that the teacher does not feel in control of the class and simply takes a back seat to the creators of each video. The videos may contain certain elements that the teacher does not want to present to the class. Also, if the students were told to watch videos individually during class, teachers may fear that the students are roaming on other websites using the Internet or other YouTube videos that are off-subject. A simple solution to this is a tool that my computer science teacher used last year that can monitor what each student is doing on their own computers on his main computer. Internet is a very addicting thing, which YouTube video-watching has notoriously backed-up. Despite that side of the argument, Sanders and the people at YouTube point out, "Award-winning teacher trainers Jim Sill and Ramsey Musallam led workshops on “Finding your inner Spielberg” and “FlipTeaching,” and I taught about using YouTube as a powerful educational tool." when they organized the YouTube Teacher's Studio, a workshop for teachers from around the world to train them on using YouTube in the classroom. In my opinion, this new teacher's studio is and will be an incredibly efficient tool in filtering the best and most educational videos for teachers to utilize in their efforts at engaging their students in the material. Sanders explains, "There are lesson plan suggestions, highlights of great educational content on YouTube, and training on how to film your own educational videos." I think that if teachers learned how to make their own videos, and even possibly using clips of other videos in making their own, students would be much more attentive. Overall, I believe that technology is a wonderful thing to incorporate in classrooms. It is time-efficient, organized, and attractive. Students like to watch things, and if teachers get to create or manage the videos that they show their class, education may make a giant step in a positive direction in that students will be more excited to learn.

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