YouTube for the classroom

Numerous teaching and learning blogs announced the big news today that YouTube is beginning to offer an education-only site of videos appropriate for use in the classroom. This site will  1) disable all comments (so there will be no distraction from other viewers’ inappropriate comments), 2) offer only related videos on topic as suggestions of similar videos (no content will be suggested that can distract students from learning), and 3) “beef up” its K-12 content, much of which will be aligned to the Common Core Standards.

In addition YouTube also reported partnering with education content-creators by investing in 100 channels that will produce original material exclusive to YouTube. This material will not be available on other video sites.

Schools need to sign up to access this service in order to receive an authentication key that will allow them to modify the YouTube URL address for the videos.

Additional advantages of this initiative include:

  • School network settings can now allow teachers and students the ability to access hundreds of thousands of free educational and learning videos while still filtering access to the general YouTube site.
  • School administrators and teachers can log in to watch any video in order to customize the content available in their school.
  • Hundreds of playlists of videos  organized by subject and grade have been developed by YouTube. These playlists can help teachers spend less time searching for the “right” video.
  • In addition, teachers can create their own playlists of videos that are viewable only within their school’s network.
  • Students cannot log in to the general YouTube site. They can only watch YouTube EDU videos plus videos their school has added.
  • All comments and related videos are disabled. Search features are limited to YouTube EDU videos.
 Some useful resources:

Video presentation on this initiative

YouTube for school

YouTube.com/education

YouTube’s Teacher’s channel – to learn how to use videos in the classroom

YouTube playlists

TED education channel

Suggestions of other videos from education organizations can also be found here.

 

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Acknowledging certain limitations of the iPad in the classroom

Here are two articles written by the same author attempting to answer the questions: Will iPads replace backpacks? and Will the iPad replace the simplicity and convenience of paper products for higher-level learning tasks?

I like how Ledesma addresses both questions and highlights numerous advantages in using an iPad. For example:

  • An iPad is great tool for research on the Internet and other consumption of web-based media.
  • Most desktop computing can be completed using an iPad.
  • It is possible to access and/or synchronize your files through the iPad.
  • Real-time communication (chat, email, voice) is possible with the iPad.

However, he does acknowledge that there are limitations in screen size and in the ability to access multiple sources easily when using the iPad for certain work.

“Unfortunately, higher-level work, which requires deeper analysis and simultaneous access between multiple sources, may be more than what a single device and small screen can handle.” (2010)

“Technology should make the learning process easier, not harder or more complicated.” (2011)

So, it may seem that students will continue to use their backpacks as they carry around their books, pens and paper which will still be needed for the more academic, higher-order learning tasks.

“Enjoy the iPads for what they are best at, and let’s stop trying to force them to replace tools that they shouldn’t.” (2011)

Reference:

Ledesma, P. (2010, Sept. 14). Schooled on my iPad. Accessed through Education Week Teacher, Nov. 15, 2011.

Ledesma, P. (2011, Nov. 14). iPads in schools: Replacing backpacks? Accessed through Education Week Teacher, Nov. 15, 2011.

The 100 best Web 2.0 classroom tools

I came across this list of the 100 best Web 2.0 classroom tools as voted by teachers in the field. There are some really good resources in this list, many of which I had never heard before. Some of the tools might be less appropriate for the classroom (i.e. PayPal?), and there are many that may one day become indispensable. What is nice is that each tool is linked to its host site for further exploration.

It is interesting how I found this site, as I was researching Glogster and this list was linked to the site . Glogster is an online poster maker. What is attractive about “glogs” is that students can include text, audio, video, pictures, and more to make the poster quite interactive. In this way, glogs can further engage kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners. In some ways Glogster is a more robust companion to Wordle, which focuses only on beautiful ‘word clouds’.

 

Some ideas on teaching with an iPad

In this Edutopia blog post, the Johnson (2011) muses over what he would do if he had 30 iPads in his classroom. He focuses on two important aspects: using the iPad to engage kinesthetic learners and helping students connect beyond the classroom (access the Internet anywhere, share and collaborate with others, challenge students in creative ways, etc.).

He highlights the potential of an iPad in that it may be a tool that will transform instructional practice. He does warn, though,  “without good software, the Ipad is an expensive door stop, paper weight or frisbee. Fortunately, a dilligent person can find a lot of free stuff to get started.”

What is particularly helpful are the series of moderated comments by other teachers and how they are using iPads and various apps in their teaching. There are a lot of good ideas to consider.

Reference:

Johnson, B. (2011, Oct. 31) Teaching and learning: Using iPads in the classroom. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011 through Edutopia.

Social learning network in the classroom

I received an update today regarding Learning Space, which is a social networking site for classrooms. They currently boast over 700 000 classrooms in 200 countries in their global community which are all connected for collaborative projects and shared resources. There appear to be a number of benefits in Learning Space, such as a teacher/school’s ability to set privacy and safety settings to manage student interaction, organize grouping functions for classes or projects, and access to blogs, wikis, forums, etc.  The Global Community may be a good resource to follow and/or investigate further, especially for collaborative project-based learning that take on a more global focus.

Reference:

Noonoo, D. (2011; Sept. 29). ePal’s social learning network has global reach. Accessed October 4, 2011 through thejournal.com.

Questions to ask when choosing a K-12 learning platform

The Getting Smart blog that I follow released a list of 10 essential questions to consider when choosing the right platform for teaching in either an online or blended format. These are important questions to remember. The point that struck out for me was consideration #6, namely that “kids see their computers as places where the park and store their data. But they drive around on their Smartphones and tablets all day.” From this perspective, mobile access should an important consideration to remember.

The blog referenced A Guide to K-12 Open Source Learning Management Systems options from THE Journal. This guide provides a nice review of options behind Moodle, Sakai, Canvas,  ATutor, OLAT, and Google CloudCourse as open access options for schools, an important consideration for a smaller Christian high school on a limited budget.

Creating ‘talking photos’ in the classroom

I came across fotobabble today, which is an application that allows you to embed comments directly to your photos in order to share both photo and story with others. They call this a “talking photo.” As they mention on their website, “Fotobabble brings the power and emotion of human voice to social media.” It makes photos “more engaging and personal by adding the energy and emotion of human voice.”

Immediately, I started thinking about some instructional possibilities for fotobabble, such as projects, adding visuals to assignments and digital storytelling. This may be a great tool.