Channel 21st Century Classroom

7 10 2009

Was it only four short years ago that the world was introduced to what is now the most popular media viewing platform, YouTube?  Indeed, it is hard to imagine what life was like before all the emails being sent from friend to friend with the latest laugh reel on YouTube.  With an endless number af channels to choose from and a production staff from all corners of the world, YouTube is reshaping the media’s world in unimaginable ways.  MTV’s early days could easily be compared to YouTube’s own introduction to the media world.  Both have reshaped the media industry.  However, only YouTube is giving teachers a resource worth using in the classroom.

Teachers are now finding just the exact teachable short clip to full documentary to use with students.  In the past month I have shown numerous clips from YouTube channels.  My students are seeing short five minute clips to help effect the lesson or they are watching hour long pieces that would normally cost me countless dollars to purchase the films.  In the past I might have to search out for licensing rights and public relations folks to access major corporate films.  Now, I can access many Discovery Channel, National Geographic, or PBS series’ to bring in to the classroom.  Every subject across every lesson plan can be enhanced through a simple YouTube search.  Students are even finding ways to spread their message through YouTube.

As students learn to develope and play with new media they are excited to publish their own work.  YouTube is giving students public access channels which in the past might mean huge corporate funding or extensive grant writing.  Today, we can implement student news media networks for free and from any computer.  For my students, this means active engagement in their own learning.  Alternative media is allowing students to network within the school and even throughout the community.  With a small cheap video camera and simple editing tools, students are engaged in the uploading process of YouTube in addition to the countless pieces they watch.

Leadership students in my class are utilizing both YouTube and Facebook to spread the word about homecoming this year.  Here is the first YouTube my students deigned, constructed, and shared with the school and the community.  My role was simply a consultant and advisor.  The rest of the work is their own creation.

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