Friday, August 24

TeacherTube - Teach the World?


"TeacherTube was officially launched on March 6, 2007. Their goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. They seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.

TeacherTube was the idea of Jason Smith, a 14-year veteran educator. Jason has been a teacher, coach, campus administrator and district administrator in public schools. He asked the question, "Why can't teachers, students, and schools utilize the power of the read/write web for learning?" To overcome barriers, he decided to just create a site and get started trying to help...
With TeacherTube, community members can:
  • Upload, tag and share videos worldwide.
  • Upload Support Files to attach your educational Actvities, Assessments, Lesson Plans, Notes, and Other file formats to your video.
  • Browse hundreds of videos uploaded by community members.
  • Find, join and create video groups to connect with people who have similar interests.
  • Customize the experience by subscribing to member videos, saving favorites, and creating playlists.
  • Integrate TeacherTube videos on websites using video embeds or APIs.
  • Make videos public or private - users can elect to broadcast their videos publicly or share them privately with those they invite.

Most importantly, TeacherTube community members are a major part of the evolution of the site. Members are encouraged to not only upload educationally relevant videos, but also to make constructive comments and use the rating system to show appreciation for videos of value to one as an educator or learner. Users also have the ability to preserve the integrity of the site by flagging inappropriate videos. TeacherTube staff review flagged sites and will remove any inappropriate posts. With more collegial commentary and discussion through messaging and responses, the quality of this resource will only increase ...more"

(An excellent video (PowerPoint style) by Karl Fisch that helps raise awareness of the issues of globalization in our newly connected world first raised in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat. Explore and Learn!)

I did explore TeacherTube a few months back when it was first launched (How could I not with all the hype flying around!), but I was far from impressed back then with the quantity and quality of video content. However, this is expected as it takes time to evolve a community built repository. Today, you can find an amazing amount of content on this site, so the quantity factor is certainly there (perhaps not in particular areas, but in general). Though, my worry or obsession is looking for (I mean finding!) the quality stuff, and believe here is a grey area difficult to achieve, based on what we see in YouTube, Yahoo, MSN and Google Video (At least what I have experienced with my subjective lens). Although, it uses multiple methods (ratings, favorites, comments, most viewed, groups, channels, etc.) to filter out the poor stuff from the quality, Can we really trust the wisdom of the crowds? Experts opinion Vs Wisdom of the Community, which one do you prefer? If we can have access to both groups' reflections easily, now that would be great! Coming to think of it, how do we distinguish between an expert and a non-expert? Please, help me out here!

Interestingly, there is gentle note on the site's banner saying "Keep it SAFE! Flag all Inappropriate Videos (Is this a serious problem already?)." In addition, they should perhaps add "Keep it easy to find relevant videos, flag all inappropriate tags." Yes, I like Folksonomies, but there must be some effective ways to ensure that the tags really represent (at least closely to) the content of the videos to ensure better 'Findability'. Perhaps, there should be limits to the amount of tags for each video, or a kind of 'tags ranking approach' faciliting a better search. Hmmm, yeah if it gets more complicated, no one will bother uploading, so one needs to find a middle ground I suppose.

Overall, if you have a good Internet line (preferably broadband) then TeacherTube can teach you some important lessons (if you are able to find them), but if you are stuck with a dial-up connection perhaps you should stick to Wikipedia or some other inspiring and relevant text-oriented knowledge repository.

Finally and importantly, we should not only consume (or re-construct in our mind and reflect) knowledge at sites like TeacherTube, but also participate in contributing, collaborating (with the community) and creating new knowledge, so perhaps it is time for us to share a video or two on TeacherTube :)


Meng Her said...

thanks mr. zaid... im 1 of your ex critical thinking student.

Can i link to your blog for my reading ?

Unknown said...

Dear Meng Her,

Of course you can (YES) :)

Also, I hope you get your studies sorted out (read your blog), and if you ask me I would recommend that you come to KJ to finish of your programme (and then perhaps further your studies in England if wanted). Coming to KJ might be a blessing in disguise as you will have better facilities and closer access to your course leaders.

Finally, hopefully things work out for you.

Warm Regards,


Meng Her said...

Thanks mr.Zaid for your advice.

I will using this semester break to think carefully about my prob and your suggestion too.

Lastly, Selamat Hari Raya and happy holiday.