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Should There Be a YouTube Channel for K-12 Teaching?


I learned by reading the Core Knowledge Blog this morning that YouTube, which is owned by Google, has started an effort to put lectures by college professors online. It's called YouTube EDU. Robert Pondiscio suggests that Google should create something similar for K-12 teachers.

Update: By the way, when you click on the link for Core Knowledge Blog above, you'll get a scary message saying you've reached an "attack site." You can click on "ignore this warning" and move on to the site. I've done that and my computer hasn't blown up or anything. Pondescio told me in an e-mail that Google has blacklisted the site and he thinks the labeling is a result of computer hacking. They're working on the problem. Update Again: The problem is fixed. This just demonstrates some of the perplexing problems that can arise while one is publishing digital content!

But back to the content of this post ... here's an excerpt of the rationale for the K-12 YouTube idea:

When you think about the enormous waste of teaching capacity that takes place every day—millions of teachers preparing lessons for audiences of two dozen kids—it seems a shame not to have a mechanism to capture great teaching and distribute it broadly for all students.

It seems like the videos would be a great resource for professional development, so that new teachers could learn from experienced teachers about ways to differentiate instruction, get students engaged, etc. But I wonder how many K-12 students would actually want to tune in.

What do you think, teachers: Would a YouTube channel for K-12 teaching get a lot of Web traffic and be useful?


The usefulness of it would obviously increase as children get older. I'm not suggesting kindergartners learn to read on YouTube. As a lesson sharing reasource, it would be priceless. Let me give an example: I'm reading Jay Matthews book about KIPP. He describes various chants and songs by Harriet Ball, a teacher who mentored the KIPP founders. After the umpteenth reference to KIPP students "rolling the numbers" (a Ball innovation), I wanted to see it for myself. Alas, it's not on YouTube. I'll bet a lot of teachers would like to see things like that and possibly adopt them.

The potential for differentiation is also huge. My brighter students in the South Bronx would have benefitted enormously from a few advanced math lessons that they were ready for and I would never had the time to plan and execute well.

Every year, one of the better 5th grade teachers in my school would come to me to be reminded how to add and subtract unlike fractions. Odds are my kids parents didn't remember either. So much for helping with homework. They could go on YouTube to learn it and teach it to their kids.

In short, it's great PD, great for differentiation and as a homework helper. All that and we haven't even discussed it as a means of direct instruction.

I think that is a great idea to use technology in an appropriate manner to increase student involvement and retain their attention. Many students learn visually and will benefit from this kind of presentation. While technology is not a cure-all or panacea for all the ills in the classroom; it is a tool that if used properly that can help student improve. Great idea.

This is an incredibly useful tool. Not only is it a boon for differentiating instruction but it also enables a stop-gap when a teacher has a planned absence. Lab experiments can be demonstrated, lectures, sample problem-solving in math, how-to demonstrations on anything...the sky's the limit. Teacher's need to get over this notion that they need to create all of their lessons and that realize 99% of what they are teaching has been done already and probably better than they themselves could do. You Tube could clarify K-12 teachers by organizing videos and coming up with different kinds of rating systems. Obviously this would never replace teachers but it could potentially free a teacher from a lot of prep and allow them to concentrate on differentiating instruction and properly assessing strengths and weaknesses.

I dare say this, but how about contracting out to incredibly dynamic people like Robin Williams to teach fractions or have John Madden teach a lesson on the Battle of Gettysburg. Or have an incentive system for individuals to create entertaining lessons and market them online. The federal government could fund this endeavor. This tool enables us to maximize talent and give every student a glimpse of what good teaching looks like. It frees the classroom teacher up for facilitation.

I'm not a teacher, but it'd be great to see something like this organized by content area and grade level. Some sort of common search structure & tagging so that this stuff can be better retrieved by teachers and students.

Teacher TV (http://www.teachers.tv/) has a pretty ok organization. But YouTube (and YouTube EDU), and TeacherTube are a mess.

I feel that if a K-12 youtube site were created it would get a lot of web traffic from young and future teachers. Personally, I am a future teacher and I would use the site to view what other teacehrs are doing in their lessons. A site like this would allow me to gather information on different teaching styles which would help me become and overall better teacher. If teachers posted lessons on the site for students I do not feel many studetns would untilize the tool. Maybe if the teacher emphasizes the importance of looking at the site (especially when a student is absent from class) then maybe students would use it. Another thing is that teachers cannot relie on a site like this because not every students has constant access to a computer with internet access. I feel that a K-12 youtube site would be a great thing and people would use it, but teachers should not count on their students using it all of the time.

Discovery Education has a similar item called "United Streaming" which I use in my classroom. I describe it to my students as basically "YouTube for teachers." It is awesome! A lot of the material is useful even if the actors/actresses seem to be from the 80's or early 90's. It's great to use in the classroom for little blurbs about what you are teaching. Kids learn in all different capacities and if you have a video from the internet of what you are teaching, that is just one more way to reach your students. United Streaming requires a membership by your school and isn't accessible to kids on their own time so maybe if YouTube did create and Education version, that would be nice to be accessible by everyone!

Something very similar--but much more robust--is available in the UK. It's a separate television channel called "Teachers TV" that broadcasts thousands of videos. The videos, whose production quality is impressive, feature examples of exemplary teaching--much of it in the UK, but some in other countries like the U.S. The channel, which is accompanied by a website (www.teachers.tv), is subsidized by the UK government, and it has developed quite an audience.

A couple of months ago, we interviewed Teachers TV's CEO and creative director: http://www.publicschoolinsights.org/node/2324

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