As part of the quest to find relevant resources for SciLinks topics, I’ve been poking around YouTube, TeacherTube, and other video sites. I’ve certainly seen the good (which are considered for a SciLinks review), the bad (poor design or lots of errors), the ugly (talking-head lectures)—and the inappropriate.
I really enjoy looking at the student-produced ones. I’m amazed by the creativity of our students and their ability to use the video technology. I suspect that many of them learned the skills on their own, but you can tell those that have had some teacher guidance, especially in the science content. Teachers often lament that students “don’t want to learn,” but seeing what some students can do with a challenging and relevant task makes me wonder about that.
Publishing student work online is a win-win situation. The “producer” learns and integrates content and media skills into a product that “consumers” (other students) can learn from. The teacher can work with the producer to make sure that the information is correct and that the product is appropriate for the intended audience. For example, I was recently made aware of an animated video created by a Florida high school student for a middle school audience: Prepare for the Science Fair by Kevin Temmer. This could be a light-hearted and engaging introduction for younger students to what could be an imposing task. (You might have a teachable moment here to clarify the word “hypothesis.” The video uses the terms “educated guess” and “prediction” which may differ from your definition.)
Of course, it’s ironic that in many schools, video sites are blocked, as are blogs (including the NSTA ones), wikis, and social media sites. I know some teachers who created a Ning site to share resources and information related to a science professional development project, but they have to use it at home! I can understand that schools don’t want students accessing inappropriate material, why are teachers denied access to teaching tools and instructional resources that could enhance student learning? Hmm.