Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stick and Spread: Educational Viral Video - Teacher Tube and NextVista

Online video has exploded in the last year and over the past month an a half, there have been several videos that have made their rounds through the Internet by going 'viral' and being the topic of conversation, which I think is necessary for 'real change' to happen in education. Will Richardson's post the other day, while disappointing in a one area, did bring my own thinking into greater focus. Like Will, I was very disappointed by the apathy of the younger teachers and their desire to include Information Literacy into the skills they are teaching in class. I knew, from my own experiences, that most new teachers were personal technology users, but they had not incorporated information literacy skills into their teaching repertoire. The teachers that are entering the system now, for the most part, missed the 'MySpace' craze and if they were involved in technology and collaboration it was probably with 'Friendster' or some other early social networking tool. It will take a few more years before we have teachers entering the system that have used online collaboration to perform 'scholarly tasks.'

Because of the 'IL (Information Literacy) gap' we need to bridge the time warp that traditionally exists between education, business and society. Where new technologies are most often picked up first by business looking for a competitive advantage, next by society as entertainment and recreational applications are created using the technology and finally by education because the cost of entry has dropped to the point where education can enter the arena using existing hardware and there is little investment on their part. This is what has happened with online video. The past few months have produced several online videos that benefit education from an instructional and political standpoint.

Michael Wesch's "The Machine is Us/ing Us" video has given a visual context to what Web 2.0 really is. The video, in a very entertaining way, defines Web 2.0 by separating form and content allowing information to be re-purposed and responded to in new and different ways. The byproduct is that people who have never met face to face become collaborators and others create a dialogue based on the material, allowing a broader community to interact with each other.

Karl Fisch's "Did You Know" video, the first 'EdTech' video that has gone viral and is becoming the rallying cry for a EdTech renaissance. Will Richardson and Scott McLeod have both blogged on this video over the past few days bringing it back into the conversation again. Karl has also blogged on his own reaction to "Did You Know" going viral.

Vicki Davis' "Technology Fear Factor" video, the first one that I have seen posted on 'Teacher Tube' is a cool film with a laptop keyboard and a Information Literacy message for teachers and students. I really liked the music... I know it is something recent, but it has that mid 1980's feel to it.

The Net neutrality video,"Humanity Lobotomy " isn't really an EdTech video, but the reason I am adding it to this list is the fact that it shows teenagers and young adults using the tools they have at their disposal to become part of the political process. The other part of this video that really impressed me was the fact that at the end of the video, there was a URL that led to a site where someone who was interested in collaborating on the video could download the Final Cut Pro file and add to the video that has been posted. This is the type of thing I wished the kids would have done when I was teaching AP American Government. The things I saw in the film: Students using video to assert their First Amendment Rights, showing how business was attempting to infringe on those rights and students taking the initiative to call members of Congress to express their position on the issue.

Well, the issue with some of these videos and education is that many schools summarily block 'YouTube' and 'Google Video.' The two newest alternatives are 'Teacher Tube' and 'Next Vista for Learning.' The new Teacher Tube site is getting a lot of attention and CTAP4 staffer, Anne Bubnic blogged on it last week. The other site, Next Vista for Learning was founded about a year ago by Rushton Hurley, a fellow Google Certified Teacher.

I am invigorated by the increased media that is being produced by teachers and is available over the Internet. The availability of this media shows teachers and students what is possible and gets more eyes on the issues and the tools and encourages more teachers and students to take part in the process. The kindling has been there for sometime, with teachers and students working on some of these issues in isolation. I know at our school, there are over 500 student created video's posted on the site. Some are serious, some are silly and every other genre in between, but the conversation has started. With outlets like TeacherTube and NextVista, there will be a few central repositories of educational videos that students and teachers can access and hopefully will not be blocked by over zealous District Information Technology Directors.

Let the conversation and collaboration begin!

1 comment:

Erin said...

Another website, that is just starting, is They are trying to focus on k-12 video sharing for both teachers and students. Although their main resources are geared towards video students and teachers, they are wanting to include videos from all teachers on all subjects. They have a Beta site up right now, but they are supposed to have a more complete site up by 8/1/2007. It's free, so it might be worth giving a try.