Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Journey into YouTube and TeacherTube

As my journey into the world of web 2.0 tools began, I felt like I was abandoned in the middle of the jungle. Not knowing where I was or where I was going there seemed to be obstacles everywhere I turned. I felt like I was going in circles with everything looking the same. I would follow link after link and see no end in sight. And then, I started to read and follow the trailfires and slowly I could see a path emerging for me to follow. I’m still in the jungle but feel that I’m slowly finding my way and understanding more. Will I ever make my way out and feel like I have the knowledge to use web 2.0 tools effectively? Where will my journey take me next?

Reflections on the process of learning about the tool:

My previous experience with YouTube has been,”Mom, come and see this.” Which means one of my children called me to view the latest music video or Hannah Montana TV episode. At school, I’ve watched a couple of technology videos downloaded by our administrators to show us at meetings. I also watched Susan Boyle sing her heart out and shock the audience. Other than those few occurrences I have never used Youtube myself.
When I first read Will Richardson’s section on YouTube I wasn’t excited about learning about this tool as he mainly talked about students producing their own videos and we are not allowed to do this at our school. I didn’t want to produce my own video to share with the world and don’t have the equipment to do so. I felt this week was going to be a waste of time for me both educationally and personally. While following the Trailfire that was set out for us I began to understand some of YouTube’s merits. I enjoyed watching how the videos were made to showcase library activities. I started to feel excited by thinking up ideas on how we could exhibit events at our school. Only to feel disappointment when I though of our privacy policy. I started to question our division’s web policy and I actually talked about it with our technology representative at school. Then I read Julia Davis and Guy Merchant’s explanation of YouTube and my outlook changed. I felt empowered by the fact that I could use YouTube in my lessons while respecting our school rules. I started to explore the site, searching topics that I am teaching right now. I found the site easy to navigate, but it definitely took time to sort through and find exactly what you want. I will be using YouTube and TeacherTube to enhance my lessons.

Discussion of the tool in terms of my own personal learning:

As far as videosharing is concerned I am far behind the times. I feel that I need to spend more time exploring YouTube and try to put a video on the website. I am not ready to do so for a couple of reasons. One, being that I don’t have any up to date video equipment but when I get some, I will use the tutorial ( to help me. The other reason is that I am not comfortable enough with this technology to share my videos with the world. In terms of me as a parent, beginning to understand YouTube has been beneficial, as my daughter loves viewing YouTube. At this time she only looks at videos that interest her but what happens when she starts to explore more and comes across material that is unsuitable for her? Now that I have become more familiar with this site I see the importance of teaching my children to “keep safe personal information, keep away from Internet strangers, and keep telling adults about everything they see on the Internet. (Panter, 2009). Sooner or later they will wander across things they should not see. I want them to know what to do when it happens.
No one in my family uses YouTube to publish videos. At this time I am not prepared to convince them otherwise. As I continue to learn more I know that I will try to make a video that doesn’t really identify my family that I can upload and share with other family members. I just tried to upload a sample video I made on Animoto a few months ago to YouTube but this can not be done, so I put it on Facebook instead.
For me, YouTube is not really a two way social participation tool yet. I enjoy reading and contemplating the comments which I have never done until this week.

Discussion of the tool in terms of teaching and learning:

YouTube and TeacherTube definitely have a place in the school even when you can not produce your own videos. I found it easy to search for videos that I could use in my grade 2 science class. Some of the pros to using these videos included seeing my students eager to see what I was going to show them. ( They were very motivated to get started in collecting their own boat building materials and wanted to build right away. These samples gave them a visual to work from that I could not have explained. ( We then discussed the video and how their boat design needed to float. Everyone was so excited to build the fastest boat so they could race theirs like in the video. Using TeacherTube and YouTube videos helps to cover more multiple intelligences and engage more learners. As Everhart(2009) states, “ YouTube is a great way to add interest, depth, and student ownership to elementary science”. Also I had two students away that day and was able to show them the video when they came back, while everyone else was working on their boat. This caused minimal distraction and everyone was able to work at their own pace. Some of the disadvantages were that I did not embed my video the first time and then had a problem with my Smartboard. I couldn’t show the video the first time I planned to. You need to have it embedded in your lesson. Of course the biggest obstacle right now for full YouTube use in our school is the policy prohibiting students to be in the video. I was thinking maybe we could video something without their faces on it, but I still need special permission to make the video. I am sharing my lessons with staff members. I have also been emailing my principal with a link to every Technology and 21st Century Learner video I have come across. She is sharing one of them at a Parent Council Meeting. I am already searching for videos for my Kindergarten class to watch and have found ( to help us discuss farms. And what about all the professional development videos such as one I shared with a new teacher on differentiated instruction? The list could go on and on and on.

Davis,J. , & Merchant, G. (2009). Web 2.0 for Schools Learning and Social Participation. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Everhart, Jerry. "YouTube in the science classroom: tips on incorporating this popular video file-sharing website into your science lessons." Science and Children. 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009 from accessmylibrary:

Panter, S. “Teaching Elementary Kids to be Safe on the Internet.” Library Media Connection. 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009 from

Richardson, W., (2009). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. United States: Corwin.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photosharing - The Journey Continues

Reflections on the process of learning about photosharing:

Every week I spend reading and exploring the required web 2.0 tool I feel a kind of apprehension and excitement. This was true for this week’s tool, photosharing. I assumed that it meant that I share my photos with the world. I never had the desire to share my photos with people I did not know. After watching the video, Photosharing in Plain English, ( I began to understand there is so much more to this tool. While reading Will Richardson’s book, I decided to explore Flickr. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to join Flickr and follow all the directions. I still have an underlying fear of having my children’s faces on the web. I chose to upload some photos where my family is not in the pictures. I did make these pictures public which is a big step for me.

Discussion of photosharing in terms of my own personal learning:

I am beginning to realize, I am underestimating the impact web 2.0 tools could have on my life. My photos of my children are my most prized possessions. I would hate to lose them. In discovering Flickr’s many attributes the most appealing to me as a parent is the back up feature. I would never have to worry about my photos again. I could upload all my photos and choose which ones are family viewed and which ones could be made public. I could easily share entire holiday photo collections with family and friends who I have persuaded to use Flickr.
After uploading some of my photos I began to explore other people’s work. I got caught up in looking at their albums. The breathtaking photography made me want to do more with scenery, because most of my photos over the last thirteen years have been about my kids and telling their life story. As the fall colors immerge, I am going to take my camera out and try to capture some of Nature’s beauty.
I could learn more about photography by viewing and engaging in comments. I would enjoy the social participation that this would give me. Given more time, I can easily see myself becoming an active member of the public photosharing world.

Discussion of photosharing in terms of teaching and learning:

The good old days of collecting pictures from calendars and postcards to use as discussion prompts and picture collections are long gone. Flickr can be integrated into the classroom at any level to do this and so much more. In my Kindergarten class we have started talking about the seasons and were able to use Flickr and the smartboard to make a Venn diagram comparing Fall with other seasons. The students loved all the pictures and were impressed by the slideshow I showed them in the end. I will share this activity with my Kindergarten Action Group at our divisional meeting. I know some of the more technological keeners will try to expand on what I share. In my grade one fine arts class I have planned to integrate Flickr photos into our discussion of line. After exploring photos we will comment on some of them. I am also going to have my students take photos depicting line and we will upload them and follow the comments. The photosharing social implications for this activity will only compound as we continue to add photos for other art elements. Sharing these lessons with my school colleagues will encourage some of them to try Flickr. For some I will need to show them how using Flickr as a public site will help their students become better 21st century learners. They will need to change their way of thinking to embrace this Web 2.0 tool as I am starting to. I agree with Wesley Fryer, “the possibilities of open content in a school setting are truly exciting. But to embrace this concept requires a whole other mind-set on the part of educators.” I know my feelings have certainly changed this week. Again I ask myself, where will this technological journey lead me over the next few days?

Fryer, Wesley. (2006). "In praise of open content.(TECHNOLOGY Up CLOSE)." School Library Journal.. Retrieved September 17, 2009 from accessmylibrary:

Richardson, W., (2009). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. United States: Corwin.