YouTube (www.youtube.com) is an online website where people can freely upload and share their videos with others over the Internet. YouTube's very catchy slogan is “Broadcast Yourself” – and that is exactly what millions and millions of people all around the globe are doing. Even in the early days (July 2006) YouTube stated that over 100 million videos were watched each day on their site. And in the month of January 2008 alone, almost 79 million users viewed over three billion videos on YouTube!
YouTube is a global phenomenon and videos are posted in virtually every language. The YouTube site itself is currently available in 12 languages including English, Spanish, French, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Japanese and Italian. Considering its extreme popularity, it is amazing to think that YouTube was only launched in December 2005!
For the most part, YouTube videos are purely for fun; however, they can also be used for educational and other more serious purposes. For example, YouTube music videos were made during the recent US election campaign to engage young people in the political process. As well, a wide variety of teaching resources are available through YouTube (i.e. math or English tutorials). YouTube can also be effectively used for promotions and marketing. And to use a more commonplace example, recently the son of a GO researcher learned how to tie his tie for a family wedding by following the online tutorial on a YouTube video!
To give you a good sense of YouTube, just watch this two-minute video (on YouTube of course!) called “What is YouTube?”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2PbdIzAVKs.
You do not need to register with YouTube to view most videos; however those wanting to post videos must register with the site. People who upload videos to YouTube can either post them as public, or restrict viewing to a select group. YouTube has strict controls and regulations on the types of videos that are posted; for example, no “R” rated videos are allowed on YouTube. Near each video is a link that allows users to flag a video for inappropriate content. YouTube staff will then view the video and decide whether to remove it or not.
Below each video there is a place where you can comment on the video, share it with others, rate it, or add it to your favourites list. You can also see how often the video has been viewed. As well, YouTube has a section of its site where people can discuss videos or link to blog sites about the videos.
The YouTube site has a handy search feature. Entering the key word “literacy” resulted in over 7,000 hits! The key words “adult literacy” returned a more manageable 273 videos. You can also search by which videos were “most highly ranked”, “most viewed” and “most discussed”.
You can embed YouTube videos on your website; however, do check to make sure that the video you are embedding does not have copyright restrictions. To learn the specifics of how to upload a video to YouTube on your own, just click here: www.youtube.com/t/howto_makevideo.
For more information on YouTube, please visit its website at: www.youtube.com.
Technology in Action
The YMCA Career Development and Learning Centre (located in Burlington, Ontario) prepared a very engaging YouTube video to promote its literacy and employment services called “Get a Job!” See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I3WGQmRH6w.
The Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County in New York State have prepared two YouTube videos; one of an adult student, one of a tutor:
- “Becoming a Tutor”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ_f8Hk_nGw
- “A Student's View”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUxqXgCT9hs
Otis College (USA) has created a professionally designed and helpful YouTube video to teach students about information literacy and how to correctly identify their sources for class papers at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-2hziLTSyU.
Additional Resources about YouTube
As part of their Learning 2.0 Initiative, the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina offers an informative podcast called “You too can YouTube” : http://plcmclearning.blogspot.com/2006/09/20-you-too-can-youtube.html.
Educause Learning Initiative has written a very helpful overview of YouTube called: “Seven Things You Should Know About YouTube”: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7018.pdf. Topics covered include: what is YouTube?; what are the implications for teaching and learning?; and where is it going?
To learn more about ways you could use YouTube in education, check out this online article by Lindsay Oishi in “School CIO” called: “YouTube's Educational Potential: How online videos can jumpstart teaching and learning” available at: www.slideshare.net/cfbloke/youtube-for-fun-and-education.