iTube? No…YouTube!

I love YouTube. I am not the type of person who uses it every day or spends hours watching different videos, but I love how easy it is to find great videos and share them with my friends. Usually, I will get to YouTube videos through Facebook or Google, but once I am there I will watch a few of the recommended videos and post them to my Facebook page. However, I do try to be selective with what I share.

According to Zwiers and Crawford in Academic Conversations, “popular modes of communication, such as video, podcasts, written texts, music, and images are mostly ‘one-way.’” (2011) They argue that these types of videos have a static message that cannot be adjusted after conversations, so to speak, with their viewers. I originally expressed my disagreement with this statement in my blog, which you can read here.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I read Prensky’s article, which states “Perhaps the thing about You Tube that is least understood by people who do not use it regularly is that it is not just one way, or one-to-many, communication; it is designed to be, and very much is, two-way…Many users post ideas and opinions, looking for feedback, and many get large numbers of responses to their clips.”

Well, well, well! Take that Zwiers and Crawford!

One trendy video topic is Sh*t (Social Groups) Say. I first saw one of these videos, “Sh*t Girls Say”, when visiting a couple of my friends. They could not stop laughing and joking about it, so they showed me the video. I thought it was funny, but I wasn’t as amused by it as they were. I didn’t think about it again until earlier this week when a friend from college posted “Sh*t Burqueños Say” on her Facebook wall. As a “Burqueña” I decided to watch the video.

I watched the video on Tuesday, and I loved it – not only because my students say this stuff all the time, but because I say it too. I linked the video to my Facebook wall, and by the next day the video had over 150,000 hits and forty-eight pages of comments. When I had first watched the video, it had less than one hundred hits. Now, according to my super-secret source, part two is in the works.

I think that one of the fallacies in Zwiers and Crawford’s argument is that they are looking at communication as being between two or more people, with one of the communicators being the original creator of the content. Their argument, simply put, is that the person who created the video, podcast, or blog must be engaged in the subsequent conversations – but this isn’t actually what happens.

Instead, the subsequent conversations occur between completely different people. The content creator (or facilitator) may chime in occasionally by responding to comments or posting a follow-up video, but most of the communication happens between the viewers. In the world of YouTube, the viewer’s respond through published means such as comments, similar videos, Facebook and Twitter shares, blog mentions, and more, but they also respond through unpublished means such as face-to-face conversations with friends, family, and co-workers.

Isn’t this what we want to happen both in and out of the classroom? The students, sparked by the teacher, drive the conversations while the teacher sits back and listens and silently assesses, only intervening when beneficial to the students. The important thing is that the students are talking about and responding to information that is read, heard, and viewed (and yes, that is a direct quote from the New Mexico ELA Content Standards).

Perhaps now I need to make a video titled “Sh*t Teachers Say.”Oh, never-mind, it already exists.

*Disclaimer*

I am not suggesting that we show these particular videos in schools. I am merely thinking about the sociological and educational implications of these videos. That said, it would be interesting to have students create a video of this nature about what characters say in a novel or story as a lesson on characterization.

You can watch some of these videos below (but keep in mind, some of them are stereotypical and offensive).

Sh*t Brides Say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut8kwaKvZc0

Sh*t New Yorkers Say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRvJylbSg7o

Sh*t People Say on Facebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVQeB_LlmRI

Sh*t Burqueños Say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IucBp1yrr7A&feature=share

Sh*t New Mexicans Don’t Say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndbjEvN8AtM&feature=related

Sh*t Teachers Say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLXfwvaBXLc

7 Responses

  1. missionteacher

    I have to say I love YouTube as a starting point for researching things or learning how to do things. Sometimes students engage better with a video – something they can see – rather than hearing or reading about it.
    But it is a good point that you make in saying that the conversation goes on long after the video is posted. Sometimes, though, the conversation gets lost in the thousands of comments on some videos. For individual classes, it may be better to post to Facebook, or a blog, wiki, where those conversations can be had in a more smaller, ‘intimate’ environment.

    • Log In to Literacy

      Absolutely. It is also important for protecting students’ privacy…but then again it would also be an awesome motivator for a student to create the next viral video.

  2. Aaron Biebert (@Biebert)

    Glad to hear you’re selective with what you share. I am honored you linked to my 8pm Warrior post. Thank you!

    As for YouTube, I love it and use it extensively. I love that you’re using it for teaching. It’s great.

    Thanks!

  3. URL

    Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog! 93675

  4. jeff ostrowick

    Been a while since I read your blog. There’s a good debate topic in this post I’m going to surreptitiously give to the debate team to plant seeds with the “powers that be”, since we have a blanket YouTube ban at my school under the pretext of bandwidth issues. Which is ironically why my BYOD approach is working.

  5. Linda

    I really love YouTube as well. I actually follow several vloggers, and I have followed some of them for a coupla/few years! I like YouTube for school work, to find out how to do something (including recipes), and entertainment. I don’t make videos – I just watch ’em! — another informative post. Thanks! 🙂

Leave a Reply