July 13, 2009

See the link for a great video teaching teens about how what they post is permanent.


Think Before You Post

Shared via AddThis


Here’s a little clip I created while playing with Dvolver


Videosharing websites allow people all over the world to view and share videos that they have created themselves, as well as commercial videos, and videos created by others. Viewing videos is as simple as opening up the homepage of one of the many videosharing websites and typing in the topic you would like to view. You also have the option of checking out the most viewed, most recent, favorite, and featured videos on most sites. To give a better sense of the enormous impact one could potentially have, YouTube, one of the biggest videosharing websites in the world,  had more than six billion videos viewed in 2009 (http://trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/217500). In her article, “Streaming Consciousness: Online Video Sharing,” Kathy Fredrick (2008) mentions that According to a 2008 Pew/Internet & American Life Project, 57% of teens said that they used videosharing websites. Imagine how much that percentage has increased today.

My journey in videosharing has been long and frustrating, which I anticipated, as I had little experience in this area. I have posted videos on Facebook before, and I enjoy checking out YouTube just as much as the next person. I do enjoy the immediacy with which I find whatever I’m looking for. Whether it’s for entertainment, or to find relevant clips to show in my classroom, YouTube has always been there for me. What I never really took into consideration before were the copyright issues. This now complicates things a little, but for the better, as I will be able to model fair use when using videosharing websites. I became excited to discover great sites like TeacherTube, SchoolTube, blipTV, and Animoto in my travels, which I think I might prefer to use in an educational context, due to the fact that they tend to target teachers and students as opposed to the general population (it seems that way to me). The part of videosharing that was slightly unfamiliar, was uploading photos to a videosharing website. I thought I might try to challenge myself further by starting up a YouTube account and uploading a video of my daughter opening a gift on her 2nd birthday – something only her mother would really be interested in. This would then be made visible to millions of viewers. The thought of this was very intimidating. Loading the video onto the computer was easy. Signing up for YouTube, however, was a little frustrating. My ability to upload video has been disabled until they verify my name. When I spoke with our tech coordinator about this, he said that Korea has been monitored very closely by YouTube because of the immense number of videos uploaded by people in Korea. So, needless to say, I will be posting a link to my YouTube video once my name has been verified. I signed up for TeacherTube but was unable to upload a video there either. As of yet, I have only been able to include links to video and upload to my media library, but I have not been able to embed video from the internet. I will be contacting wordpress to address this as I have already tried using the Help icon. I went ahead and signed up for VodPod, a sweet bookmarking service for videos.  I found this site very helpful when searching for videos that might be useful for teaching my students about privacy and identity online. I’ve shared one of those videos in this post. 

As I come across many relevant articles and read the blogs of others, I see a trend that holds true not only in North America, but in South Korea as well. Technology is invading our schools, whether teachers are prepared for it or not, and students have become consumed with this fascinating phenomenon. I have 3 questions that I find myself asking, when I think about my students and web tools.

  1. What are some of the ethical issues we and our students will face as web 2.0 tools become more sophisticated and eventually our main means of communication?
  2. What is our role, as educators/librarians, in ensuring that users are equipped with the skills necessary to make good judgments of online behavior?
  3. How can I use web 2.0 tools in my classroom/library to ensure that the needs of a variety of learners are met?

 According to Howard Gardner, the issues that children and adults deal with when using technology today are identity, ownership, privacy, community, and trustworthiness. With this worldwide accessibility to video sharing, the issues I feel are most immediate in my teaching context are appropriateness of content and ownership. Video sharing site creators attempted to be proactive by creating terms of service that condemn any profanity, pornography, criminal behaviors, and violations of Copyright laws. YouTube claims to have made expectations for site use clear and that they have made flagging inappropriate content easy by ensuring that users see a link on every page. Facebook also states that copyright holders are expected to report copyright violations. Personally, I don’t believe that the YouTube creators were prepared for the extent to which its website would be used worldwide. This has become obvious with the vast amount of inappropriate content being uploaded and the fact that schools and even countries  like China, Morocco, Thailand, Turkey, Pakistan,  have felt it necessary to block YouTube (http://trailfire.com/joannedegroot/marks/217500) due to offensive material, despite its terms of use policy. In response to several copyright lawsuits, YouTube introduced the ten minute video limit rule and it also uses a database, similar to Creative Commons, to check videos for copyrighted items. All videosharing sites have similar policies, but some are so widely used that it is nearly impossible to ensure that videos infringing terms of use are removed.  While there are reporting policies in place, from personal experience, most people will quickly close the window rather than report it, especially if it has popped up in a classroom context.

If encountering inappropriate content is inevitable, how can we as educators and librarians equip students with the skills they need to deal with this content in an appropriate way? This is a question I have faced in my classroom. When students point out an inappropriate advertisement or see that the next YouTube clip, while it fell under my search term, is inappropriate, do I quickly change to a new window, or do I turn it into a teaching moment and talk to students about how to deal with this situation appropriately.  The KeepSafe.org  website offers tips for parents and educators on how to help children deal with inappropriate content. This site encourages communication and discussions about how to identify inappropriate content and what children can do when faced with something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Children can be very resourceful and intuitive. When empowered to believe that they can make the internet safer, I believe children will make the choice to do so. As educators and librarians, it is our job to empower our children by discussing their videosharing experiences with them and collaboratively figuring out what we can do to protect our selves while using web 2.0 tools on the internet.

 I see great potential for videosharing in my classroom and library. As long as teachers and librarians have clearly identified objectives and curricular connections, and the web 2.0 tool will serve to enhance the students’ learning, I say, “Go for it!” Some of the many uses for videosharing in the classroom and library include sharing plays and reader’s theatre, digital storytelling, using video to accompany a writing project, critically viewing videos for elements identified by the teacher.  Sites like Animoto and Dvolver give students the opportunity to create animation if they are camera shy. What a great way to demonstrate a new concept in Science or Math. TeacherTube provides opportunities for students to express their opinions and views on world issues or to present projects and share these with other students across the world. Sites such as YouTube and TeacherTube provide copyright tips which would be useful in teaching students about fair use and copyright laws. Having students create and upload their videos would be an excellent way to have them exercise their ownership rights, as was suggested by Lamb and Johnson (2007) in their article, “Video and the Web, part 2: sharing and social networking.” With regards to enhancing student learning, Cast.org, Teaching Every Student promotes what they call the Universal Design for Learning. Their website provides audio, video, and text resources offering ways to use technology and web 2.0 tools in order to assess students’ ability levels, address student need, and offer students a variety of ways to express themselves based on their strengths.

Videosharing most definitely has its place in our information literacy standards and benchmarks here at S.I.S. In Grades K-5, students are expected to use media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings. They are also expected to contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community, which is addressed by the fact that video sharing is a very social web tool. And finally, they are expected to respect the intellectual property rights of creators and producers, which they do by becoming creators and producers themselves.

Videosharing involves many of the same ethical issues that photosharing does. While videosharing sites provide user guidelines and policies, it is up to the users to behave responsibly online. These expectations must be enforced by teachers and parents, and society as a whole. As adults, we are responsible for monitoring kids’ online behavior, discussing internet safety, and providing students with the skills they need to act appropriately on the internet. With these tools in place, videosharing plays a valuable role in education.


One comment

  1. Thanks, Natasha. You raise a really important point about the value of using videosharing in schools as one way to incorporate visual and information literacy skills. The technology skills students would gain from also creating and editing their videos, when combined with the information literacy skills they require to create something meaningful and relevant to curriculum makes this tool a fantastic resource for teachers and students. Of course, as you rightly point out, using Youtube or other videosharing sites with students also raises issues related to ethical information use and copyright issues–both important things to talk to students about as we attempt to help our students become responsible digital citizens.

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