Again, it comes to me that different tools are more appropriate for learning at different levels (I mean school, high school, college, lifelong learning, etc.) This week we address several Web 2.0 tools where content is not text, though comments take place.

The last of them is going to be YouTube according to Professor Wesch, from Kansas State University. He actually has put my thinking to the test.

Flickr

Applications with Flickr seem to be quite useful to foster creativity among the youngsters, as Bubbling Comic Dialogue or Digital Storytelling. Others seem to be appealing, like Exploring Geography Through Flickr. Finally there are also practical learning applications like taking photographs of various architectural elements.

However, I would like to highlight the last consideration made by Jennifer Chu and Erik Van Dusen in their article. They add that “Flickr’s user generated content can cause problems in terms of questionable and sensitive photos being accessed by students. (…) There is no guarantee.” I have had to face problems like this with YouTube in a 12 years old classroom. This is something that provokes in me a feeling of repulsion. Because of this I were working during two years in filtering. I really wanted to provide each classroom with WIFI, but I wanted to give parents all the guarantees that if his son is induced to consume inappropriate content, it will never be due to introduction of technology into classroom. Summing up this point, the school is responsible of this during the class and with school platforms. This is a serious responsibility which cannot be withdrawn nor taken as something funny.

Podcasting

I had knew some years ago about University of Bath, which had a weekly multidisciplinary lectures and they offered the collection of podcasts by RSS feed.

More than to that, I got used to BBC Radio podcasts. They have a great podcasting website where they have at your disposal lots of podcasts perfectly organized by genres, radio stations, etc. I have a mobile app called PodCatcher with the RSS feed of several radio programs, so that I can easily access to the content and download it to my mobile.

Coming back to the beginning, I guess that this kind of technology can be more useful in adult learning context, such as colleges. I have also found interesting several podcasts I have heard about teaching technologies.

As I see, the main point about podcasts, said with words taken from H. Harris and S. Park article, is that their “capability  to transfer digital material to other portable devices provides an ‘anytime, anywhere’ media experience.” This, combined with RSS and mobile applications like PodCatcher, made them a great tool.

I know very little about MOOCs, but I dare say that podcasts with RSS must be really useful in that context. Also, they seem to be quite suitable for informal learning.

A last point: for learning, the possibility of re-play whenever I want and whatever I want is something that I find useful. This can also be said in reference to the next topic.

YouTube

This is actually the great topic this week, to me at least. I have watched the videos embeeded in YouTube project at http://mediatedcultures.net/youtube.htm, by Dr. Wesch. The Presentation at the Library of Congress on June 23rd 2008 concentrate great part of the thinking explained in that site. It is a quite well elaborated presentation.

Although the mentioned presentation is the core of this part, let me start with a different project: The Khan Academy. Here I have embedded a TED conference where the founder of this project explains how he got started and their goals. I think that you would like it.

Something he says is a really good point in favor of video content: their cousins told him that they preferred him on YouTube than in person, just because they manage the class if it is recorded. They can repeat as many times as necessary, and go back when they recall something associated with what they have just heard.

I have had this very experience when working on M. Wesch’s lecture at the Library of Congress. Despite I don’t know how I could have been there, I have enjoyed pressing the pause button to make my annotations. This is something that always have hurried me, that teachers never stop when someone is writing something down.

What is more, with YouTube (or equivalent) lessons and the current devices -mobiles and tablets- we have here what was said about podcasting: all this provides an ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning experience. Again, it seems to me that this is a great tool for MOOCs and other contexts related to informal learning. In addition, there are many tools for things like screen recording and video editing.

A break: It may be in one of the first entries that I said something like technology will enter into classroom with or without the teacher, due to the students. What was my surprise when a few days ago I received an email from one of my pupils with a link to a video he has made.
But Professor Wesch goes further. For him, YouTube is not merely a learning technology. I think he makes a point when he says that our culture has made us individualist, independent and has also immersed us into a world of commercialization. I would sum up this three points with one word: loneliness.

While hearing him saying these things I recalled some news of something that happened in summer several years ago, in an European country: due to high temperatures some old people died but no familiars turned up. As news told, all the country was ashamed for this.

Going on with the lecture, Wesch talks of a cultural inversion. The mentioned characteristics make us long for community, relationship and authenticity. I totally agree with him. I would sum up this three notes with one word: Home.

Apart from it -as I see-, YouTube let me share lots of things like knowledge, interests, experiences, values… Recalling what was said two weeks ago when discussing about blogs, I can contact with like-minded people and participate in communities. But I don’t think I could turn YouTube into something like my own home. With all the respect to anyone who thinks different, I would never share on YouTube anything which belongs to the sphere of my intimacy or privacy.

Wesch touches an important aspect which is the pursuit of audience in YouTube, with cases like lonelygirl15. As I see, far from being an experiment where “she is no more real or fictitious than the portions of our personalities that we choose to show (or hide)”, it is a success due to the use of feelings in a similar way that scriptwriters do. Who doesn’t like a good story? This also lead me to think that Wesch focuses on YouTubers, but this is only a part -the anthropological one, I guess he would say- of YouTube.

It is said that YouTube brings us new forms of community and self-understanding -something that might be a good definition for home. Identity is frequently changed to plural and all of them are similarly real or fictitious, up to the point of not distinguishing reality from fiction: “Which you is the real you?” Thus, in a parallel way, we are provided with feelings for personal consumption, hope not commercialization.

I am profoundly realist, in such a way that I don’t share these last points of view with professor Wesch.

At the beginning of this part, I have used a video to show how I understand the immense possibilities of YouTube as a learning tool. Let me finish with another video taken from YouTube that fits perfectly well with my thinking. Hope you like it!

Media Content for Learning
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3 thoughts on “Media Content for Learning

  • October 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm
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    I hadn’t thought about the context as much as you did; you make a great point when you acknowledged that podcasts as they’re used to share information can often be best utilized by higher education and life-long learners.

    You made a good point about the ability to pause a video to take notes; but you can’t ask a video questions. This to me makes video a great supplement to a live lesson, but it isn’t a completely equal substitute.

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  • October 21, 2013 at 11:54 am
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    Nice post! You raise some great points about the tools this week, and I like the addition of YouTube to the discussion.

    I would like to mention some thoughts on filtering content for students. I, too, have dealt with issues in middle school classrooms where the filters are not able to catch everything. Even though is more prep, I think that the instructors always need to preview content or, in the case of Flickr, pull off the pictures that might be best used for a project. Sometimes the students do need to look for their own content to support a project. My thought on that is that we need to teach them what to do when they come across inappropriate content. Basically, close it right away. When they are at home or in another location, they may have open access to the internet and they should know how to deal with items that are not appropriate. It is a tough issue and one that may never have a clear-cut answer.

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  • October 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm
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    I think you raise a lot of good points about the use of a lot of these technologies being more adapted to informal/adult learning contexts, where responsible adults can make decisions about what to use and how. I also found your commentary on Michael Wesch’s take on Youtube interesting — you touch upon a topic that has many people worried — I saw this TED talk by Sherry Turkle a while ago that resonates with the video you uploaded. http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html

    It is a very complex issue and it’s good for all of us to approach it thoughtfully and consciously in an effort to reinvent our social engagement and belonging. Thanks for raising the issue!

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