The Next Major Teaching Tool

By Ethan Ottemiller ’12

Over the past few decades, conventional teaching tools and styles have changed in dramatic fashion. Schools have switched from blackboards and chalk to white boards with dry erase markers – and in some places, from thick textbooks for every single subject to laptops that place a vast world of current, up-to-date information at students’ fingertips.

Today, one of the latest developments in the education world is the growing use of YouTube, the popular video sharing website that allows users to upload and share videos of their own. Most people, however, do not typically use the site as an informational database. The first thing that many people associate YouTube with is an easy, convenient way to view music videos, television or clips from movies. Nevertheless, it is becoming very evident that it has much more potential than that. Many incredibly talented people have been discovered through YouTube, but more significantly, it is now beginning to make a name for itself as an extremely convenient and versatile tool for many to take advantage of inside and outside of the classroom.

Since YouTube’s establishment in 2005, its popularity has flourished unlike any other website. In March of 2010, YouTube recorded that over 24 hours of video were being uploaded every minute and that it exceeds more than 2 billion views per day. The founders, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim made this possible with constant improvement on the site’s design and programming.

Users now can upload videos with ease, despite the specifications of the camera they are using. YouTube is compatible now with high-definition (1080p) as well as 3-D, not to mention they have allowed accessibility to live streaming sporting events and reports. On February of 2010, they streamed a live interview with President Obama. In addition to the site’s technological innovation, soon movies and television shows will be viewable thanks to the company’s partnerships with every major U.S. network broadcaster and film studio.

Inside of the classroom, the sites uses have continued to expand beyond all expectations. Educators from all over have begun to use instructional videos for medical purposes, foreign languages, and in some instances exam aids. However, users more often than not make use of the informational videos available for their own beneficial gain. Many of the users online have subscribed to YouTube for one purpose, exposing and relaying information for others to learn. These informational videos range from installation instructions to maintenance techniques and even simple “how to” videos.

Kirk Isakson, the Director of Multimedia Services here at Pacific Lutheran University, has acquired much knowledge from YouTube’s informational resources. Being the Director of Multimedia Services for over 25 years now, Professor Isakson has seen substantial technological advances in media production equipment. Regardless, he has been able to over come numerous conflicts with equipment as well as other difficulties through research, trial, and error. Since the discovery of YouTube though, Isakson has been able to adjust to the learning curve in a much easier fashion.

From a video production standpoint, Kirk takes advantage of outside user comments to develop and critique his work. “It’s a great way to edit a piece together, and then have someone instantaneously watch it and critique. I may be working with someone who is from a completely different state and the only way we can exchange input is through YouTube. From there we can collaborate to discuss what final touches need to be made so that we can render and format our projects” Isakson said.

Despite Kirk’s success in his career, and the amount of knowledge he has gained from the YouTube’s users, he does believe that there is a downside to the site’s design. When searching for information on any topic, there always seems to be an excess of results related to the search. Professor Isakson believes that there is too much repetition throughout the site. Kirk stated, “The only downside when trying to find useful information is that there are too many sources to choose from. And more importantly, most of the sources provide terrible quality”. He still considers the site however to be extremely beneficial and uses it as a resource quite often.

Nic Delikat, a recent graduate Pacific Lutheran University and aspiring video editor, has been using YouTube for promotion of his own projects as well as an educational device for some time. Over the past year, Nic has completed several music videos for artists in the northwest and California. To progress in his editing techniques, he uses YouTube regularly to gain insight on new software.

“During my internship senior year, I had to make a short video for the human resources department with animation. At that time, I had no idea as to how or where I would start with the project so I immediately resorted to YouTube… Viewing information in a step by step process was the fastest way for me to learn how to use animation” –Nic Delikat

YouTube is a site comprised entirely of user-uploaded content, meaning that large amount of it might not be reliable, verifiable or appropriate. However, YouTube can still be considered a worthy teaching aid. Like every other form of educational tool, though, it is a double-edged sword

Check out Nic Delikat’s music video for “These Songs” by Rockwell Powers and DJ Phinisey as well as links to his other projects.

Categories: Student Life

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