You can do a lot with YouTube

As with any vacation, it is the perfect time for me to take up the home projects I have been putting off all year.  While I am not as excited as my wife to get these projects completed, I do feel that home repairs should be done right.  So, this past week, as I prepared to texture the new walls in my bedroom, I looked up on YouTube how to use the power sprayer and how to mix the joint compound to the right consistency.  I remember thinking, ” man this is so much easier than I thought,” and the walls came out perfect.  So I started thinking, if I can do this, why can’t my students do the same thing?  So came my thought of students using YouTube to learn a skill, craft, or new technique to teach to other students.

Each year, I assign a “How To” speech to my sophomores as we review the technical documents standards in English.  So far, the results are the same with ninety percent of my students giving a speech on how to make brownies and about ten percent doing something that is actually unique and interesting.  So, this year, I am going to tell the kids they need to find something on YouTube, learn it, and then teach the skill to the class.  This will create variety, still involves choice, and will hopefully be a more engaging endeavor as students do not have to listen to ten people in a row who made brownies.

There are some potential roadblocks to my idea that people have brought up, first and foremost being that YouTube is blocked at school.  Finding the video does not need to be an in school project, students can do the research at home.  This brings up issue number two, what if students do not have computer access at home?  My feeling is this, if kids can afford to have cell phones, then someone in their family has internet.  If kids still protest, refer them to http://www.ehow.com or to the Do It Yourself network online, which they should be able to access at school, to find an article on a skill.  Ideally, YouTube is better as it is more visual, but this will eliminate excuses if the kids can find an article instead of a video.

As always, in the end, either by picture or by finished product, have the kids demonstrate that they actually completed the task.  That is to say, I will have the kids create a ppt or some other type of visual aid for their speech, whatever the kids want to use.  Within that visual aid, the kids should be able to show that they attempted the skill and understand how it works.  For example, if the skill is a card trick, the visual aid could be the cards as the student teaches the trick to the class.

The last element is teaching.  There is a difference between teaching and showing, and I want the students’ to teach the class and not just show them how something is done.  As educators, we know all to well that anyone can show you something, but not everyone can teach you how to do the task yourself.  I’m curious to hear what you do with YouTube, as there are many great videos out there waiting to be discovered and used in the classroom.  For information on how to download videos from YouTube, you can refer to one of the earlier blogs on this site.

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~ by cadaleaders on January 4, 2010.

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