Cool Tool #2 – TeacherTube

I had planned to make this a regular feature on this blog, in part to get me to write more often.  Hasn’t really worked out.  I seemed to have just forgotten how tough having an infant is.

Anyway, while I haven’t been writing, I haven’t stopped reading.  Yesterday, Vicki Davis – the educational wiki queen (and I do mean that as a complement!), wrote about a new tool called TeacherTube.  Essentially, it is YouTube for teachers.  It has a similar look and feel, has a similar interface for uploading, and a similar method to embed videos on other pages.  The big difference – this site is dedicated to educational videos.  It appears that non-educational videos that are “flagged” will be removed.  I do wonder if that will become difficult to track, will we see “video spammers” try and jam up the service?

I know that many people have mixed feelings about TeacherTube in a YouTube world.  If we only place educational videos (both teacher and student produced) on TeacherTube we essentially remove them from the mainstream that YouTube has become.  However, YouTube is blocked at my school.   I can’t use it in my classroom, nor can I publish videos from my computer at school.  As an educational resource, YouTube is limited to what I do at home – where I can download videos and then bring them into school (I talked about this here a couple months ago).

Teachers definitely need to try it out.  Create, upload.  The only way to really increase the value of this resource is for all of us to contribute to it.  Here is my first upload… a video describing my Children of the Holocaust WebQuest.  Projects I should be grading right now instead of writing.

YouTube Proves It

While I don’t post a lot (time, time, time), I do read all of the blogs found on the right side of this page (plus about 30 more not published).  I really try to at least track the “conversations” in education and educational technology.  Every couple weeks I also wander around YouTube a bit, just to see what the “people” are buzzing about for the moment.

A couple weeks ago I ran across this video of a student jumping from a balcony at his school onto a large Christmas tree.  I guess the kid was suspended or maybe even expelled for endangering his life and those around him (it was a crowded area with potential for injury).  I started reading the comments (which turned into a conversation about why there was even a Christmas tree at a public school).  Finally, I looked at the video comments (where people can respond to a video with videos of their own).  This video is an interview with the “jumper” featured in the original.  The interviewer asks if the infamous stunt was a political statement (it wasn’t) and then asks if he had a video sharing site in mind when he decided to make the plunge.  Guess what, he did.  He watches YouTube every night and wanted to be a participant.
What a perfect example of Web 2.0 through the eyes of a teenager.  Whenever I talk about Web 2.0 in one of my presentations or workshops I tell them the students are already using many of these technologies and if could just harness those skills and use them for good instead of evil (not really evil in the biblical sense of course), then we could really make some progress preparing our students for the world that awaits them.  As it is, most students have absolutely no guidance online.  No one telling them how to act appropriate, no one telling them how to act professionally.  What do have is stupid people tricks.

This video has been viewed over a million times and has over 6000 comments.  I think he got what he wanted and learned a life lesson that makes his school punishment irrelevant.  And over a million people think he’s the bomb.