Web 2.0: audiovisual gets a makeover

April 2, 2008

Teachers at all levels are considering how to enhance learning with the aggregation of Web 2.0 (W2) applications and services available online. Collaboration has grown beyond static listservers and blast emails. A March 26 2008 article in the Wall Street Journal (not your common source for news on education) makes clear how teaching is changing for educators who have embraced W2.
Educators are knocking off YouTube with their own sites like TeacherTube (free for schools and created by a Texas school superintendent) and SchoolTube. Teachers post their own video products on TT for others to examine and use. Students post the videos they create on ST.
Naysayers caution about “time-consuming” vetting in order to eliminate inappropriate, inaccurate or sub-standard efforts.
SchoolTube, also no cost, was created as a venue for high school journalism students to post their own video reports. Submissions now include videos on a range of historical topics. WSJ reports 2,500 schools have registered at ST.
Naysayers express concerns about accuracy. A similar critique has been directed at Wikipedia which resulted in the hugely popular site being generally accepted as an insufficient academic reference. While this policy certainly makes sense it does miss the point about collaboration being at the heart of W2 applications and platforms. The response from the collaborative sites is to have site users self-regulate content. Like Wikipedia. This is not a simple matter.
OK, enough big picture. What can these sites do for me?
Getting on TeacherTube is easy enough. Go to the link and start searching. While you don’t have to sign up I did anyway. With the login you can elect to receive the newsletter.
I need to learn more about Photoshop, in particular how to blend two images. I searched the TT videos database, screened a couple that had “problems” (fuzzy images, poor sound recording), then found exactly what I wanted with excellent production values and 3.5 minutes run time.
The SchoolTube site requires a login to search their database. Identifying myself as an educator routes me to the moderator login path. This is a higher level of user ID than I actually want. As a moderator I can upload my own videos and monitor others’ videos (i.e., students). I am not and left those requests for info blank. I am advised it could be 2 days before I am screened and receive my login.
I recently finished the Bergreen book Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu. If I were a high school teacher I would love to create a W2 module based on the book. I searched TeacherTube and found this 5 minute slide show.
I am a health professions educator with a special interest in integrative medicine. A controversial topic concerns the origins of Chinese Medicine. Are they wholly Chinese? Or is Five Element Theory derived from medieval astrological beliefs? The answer relies in part on the history of the Silk Road. The above video provides the most rudimentary introduction to the long history of economic and cultural exchange that trafficked along the Silk Road. In 5 minutes a lot of basic information my acupuncture students could be attained.
Or I can create my own product. What an idea!

Leave a Reply