Technology for the Classroom: An Examination of YouTube Education
by Donna Ross
In the last installment of Technology for the Classroom, I considered the value of TED-Ed for classroom use. This issue will examine several uses of YouTube. Among people with computers and smart-phones, YouTube has become ubiquitous. Even late-night comics mine YouTube videos for humorous gems. Most students, including those at the elementary grades, have searched for YouTube videos and many have posted their own creations. However, as I watch those funny cat videos I inevitably seem to be bombarded with material that makes me question the appropriateness for a school setting. For example, I searched for a video on DNA replication and I was faced with thousands of videos, many with comments that definitely were not school-friendly. Along with some reasonable choices, I also was presented with “popular videos” that, based on the content and the number of views, caused me to despair for the future of our society. But, before despair takes over, let me share some ways to make better use of YouTube for educational purposes.
YouTubeTeachers by teachers is a new site within the educational subset of YouTube to help teachers understand how to make use of YouTube for educational purposes and to assist teachers to search more effectively for relevant videos. For example, on this page when I select “high school” and “science” I have approximately 40 topics from which I can choose. I opted for “DNA Structure.” This took me to 14 videos, all of which seemed appropriate for high school viewing, although I wouldn’t have necessarily considered the primary topic of all 14 to be DNA structure. The goal for this site is that teachers will help to determine which videos are appropriate, there will be a larger library, and the categories will become more specific and useful. Generally, if you use YouTube videos for your classroom, this seems like an excellent starting point.
YouTubeEdu is the broader subsection of YouTube dedicated to education. If you start at this page, you can get all of the general information about the education initiative. You can also see the playlist and course partners. There are university courses that can be viewed from this page. For example, there is a four-hour course on lasers and fiberoptics from MIT, over 30 hours from Stanford’s Continuing Studies program on modern physics, and a full biochemistry course from Oregon State University. At the K-12 level, there are videos from the Khan Academy, Sesame Street, Steve Spangler Science, and interviews with Neil deGrasse Tyson on SpaceLab, among others. Beginning here works well if you know who has produced the video series you would like to use in your classroom.
You may also create your own YouTube site. Some teachers have their own “channel.” They post their own videos, class notes and assignments, and links to other videos for their students. Using the YouTube editor, it is quite easy now to use a built-in camera on a computer to film and post part of your own lessons. These can be available for students to review at home, after absences, before a test, or during stations in your class.
So far, though, none of the things that I have described will completely eliminate the “related videos” and the “comments” that inevitably show up. When beginning with the education or teacher pages, the related videos tend to be fewer, but as I watched different videos, I did still see some inappropriate comments. There is a solution, but it is a school-wide approach. A school can sign up for a YouTube school network. In this instance, one person at the school has administrator privileges and sets what is visible beyond the YouTubeEdu videos. Students can only view YouTube EDU videos plus videos their own school has added. All comments and related videos are disabled and the search function is limited to YouTubeEdu videos. As a teacher with a channel on the YouTubeEdu site, remember that if your school has the network, the students won’t be able to see any inappropriate material while at school, but if they are searching for your site at home, they will have no such protection.
I know a lot of teachers search for videos on YouTube and then use a 3rd party program such as KeepVid to download the streaming video for later use. I think YouTubeTeachers and YouTubeEdu will make searching faster and more efficient. I’m still torn about the use of my own channel. I would like to hear from teachers who have experience and can compare it with using a class wiki or website. In the meantime, if you ever find yourself with too much free time, there are a lot of cat and squirrel videos waiting for you.
Donna Ross is associate professor of science education at San Diego State University and is CSTA’s 4-year college director.
by Michelle French
Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Learn More…
“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”
Responses from Readers:
Peter A’Hearn: Rush hour in little blue circle land.
by Valerie Joyner
Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator, Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology. “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” Learn More…
by Tim Williamson
Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.
The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013. All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. Learn More…