Archive for September, 2009

Exploring Video-Sharing

September 28, 2009 4 comments

Exploring Video-Sharing

Another Web 2.0 Tool

The headline to a BBC news article by Maggie Shiels reads “By 2015 more than 12 billion devices will be capable of connecting to 500 billion hours of TV and video content, says chip giant Intel.”  Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer is further quoted as saying, “People are going to feel connected to the screen in ways they haven’t in the past.”  … “We are seeing an amazing move of video to IP networks.  By 2013 90% of all IP traffic will be video; 60% of all video will be consumed by consumers over IP networks.”  (Shiels, 2009)  I found these statistics fascinating and particularly so as we explore the place of video-sharing in schools.  We have read about how Web 2.0 is affecting literacy.   How, then, will this move to video dominating our day to day affect literacy and how, do we as educators, adjust to meet these changes?

My Reflections on the Process of Learning About Video-Sharing

I have certainly watched YouTube videos but, until now, have never posted my own.  My first posting, The Three Survivors, is an animated video that a group of grade 5 students wrote and produced with minimal help from me.  Creating video projects with students and for school events is something I have done frequently.  However I have only shared them within the school community as special class-room screenings where parents or other students were invited.  In the case of videos made for a school events such as a Welcome back assembly, Christmas program, or a Remembrance Day ceremony, these too were only shown during the event.  The thought of posting student video projects on YouTube had, up until now, never crossed my mind.  As I prepared for this Web 2.0 assignment there were a few things I needed to keep in mind.  My first consideration was to choose a project for which I had permission from the students to share.  The second consideration was to choose a project that did not compromise my students’ safety.  To do that I felt that I would rather not show the students’ faces nor give their full names.  This eliminated a number of projects that I have done where students perform parts or read stories.  I also did not want to reveal in any way where the school was.   In the original The Three Survivors video there was a picture of the students and a reference to the school, both of which I edited out in preparation to post.  The final consideration was to use a video that did not use commercially produced music.  Students love adding their favorite music as part of their sound track.  Videos made for special events tend to be of action in slideshow/video montage format with little or no dialogue and usually with a music soundtrack.  For a one-time live event I have not worried about copyright (perhaps I should have) but it would certainly be a concern were I to post it on YouTube.  Once I had the video edited the way I wanted it, uploading it to YouTube was very straightforward. 

Beyond the technical aspects of producing and uploading videos to YouTube or using shared video to enhance a lesson, my learning this week has helped me appreciate the larger potential of video-sharing.  My readings have pushed me to consider ways that I could more fully use video-sharing with students not just as an information delivery system but as a tool to foster and develop skill in students to meet the reality that Intel is predicting.  I will more fully detail my learning under the section below titled Video-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning.

Video-Sharing As a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

Much like photo-sharing, the potential personal benefits of using video-sharing tools is great for those living apart from family and friends.  If one had a video camera and tended to video-document children, grandchildren, or events and trips these could then be shared with those back home or even new friends met in travel.  Similar to a blog or a photo-sharing site, viewers would be able to comment on what they see.   At present, my wife and I share only photos with our friends and family, first through our blogs and now through photobucket.  If we owned a video camera we could up-load and share video with family and friends or they could share their events with us.   As I posted my video to YouTube one of the features they offered was to tag the video geographically known as geotaggeing.  The video tag can be linked with Google Earth and a person’s world travels can be located geographically adding an additional dimension to the sharing.

Another way I recently used video-sharing was in preparation for a Habitat For Humanity project my wife and I were going on to India.  Searching YouTube we were able to find videos of similar projects people had been on and from them we were able to get a feel for what to expect.

A third way I have benefited from a form of video-sharing has been through screencasts that our district technology coordinator has made. When a new program of a new feature in a program has been implemented Ben made and sent out instructional videos to train teachers and staff on how to use them.  I have found them to be very helpful and by keeping them I can refer back to them when needed.

A final way I have used video-sharing, particularly YouTube and United Streaming, has been to help me plan units and lessons.  At times I have used them to gather valuable background information to add to my knowledge and at other time I have downloaded a relevant video to show to students.  I have even called up a video on the spot to enhance a lesson.  One example of this was during a math lesson.  One of the problems involved students estimating the next eruption of Old Faithful, the famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park.  As I looked at rows of blank faces I felt I needed a bit of help.  Few of my students have been to the United States and none of them knew of Old Faithful.  I was able to very quickly call up a time-lapse video of the geyser erupting.  It provided students with a frame of reference and gave them confidence and motivation to solve the problem.

Video-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning

The most common way I have seen video-sharing used in the classroom is as a tool for teachers giving a lesson.  Information videos are still a powerful way to enhance a lesson and a unit.  When I was in the classroom the video-sharing tool I used most often was United Streaming.  This is a Discovery Learning service, which, for a fee, provides educators access to a vast database of educational video material.  It is like having direct online access to a large district resource center.  A teacher can search and download videos on almost any topic and for any grade level.  I began using this service about 4 years ago when I and a few other teachers got free trial subscriptions.  It was so useful that we recommended that our school get a subscription.  The school district I am currently in also has a subscription to the service.  Another teaching tool that I hope I can include as a form of video-sharing is called video chat.  Using Google Mail or Skype Video participants are able to have an active and interactive video conference but with wireless connections the “chat” can be active and on the go.  With a webcam, a wireless laptop, and a connection to the internet a world of places and people opens up for a class to explore.  In his article You Are There, Eric Langhorst describes several virtual fieldtrips he took his students on, all from the inexpensive comfort of the classroom. (p.46-48)

Another way video-sharing can be used with students is as a research source.  Surprisingly, our district has not blocked access to YouTube so I have allowed students to use YouTube videos as one of several sources from which to gather facts.  Other sources such as TeacherTube and Educational Video Library (The buzz, p.14) provide access to approved YouTube videos to which schools are more likely to allow access.  Now that I am in the library and teaching primarily research skills I will also be able to use some of the resources on United Streaming.   Another way I hope to implement shared video as a teaching tool in the library is through screencasts.  I would like to create screencasts demonstrating the use of various research tools available on the computers.  Some possible themes could be, how to access various search engines we have available, how to narrow a search when using a search engine, how to use noodletools and many others. 

So far I have looked at how video-sharing can be useful to teachers in a classroom.  These are all good as an additional research source or as alternative to borrowing videos from the district resources centre or demonstrating a process live but they are used more as a way to provide information to students. Through the book Web2.0 For Schools, (Davies and Merchant, 2009) I have come to recognize that video-sharing can be used as a tool to promote learning and not simply as an information delivery system.  Schools and teachers can help foster three important benefits by using video-sharing with students.  The first is to use the process of viewing and producing videos to build a positive and collaborative learning community and in so doing foster a sense of belonging for students.  It has been made very clear just how important community and collaboration are to this generation and it is evident that video-sharing helps to foster this.(p.59)   A second benefit of having students involved with video-sharing was illustrated by Perklet videos (p.65).  Davies and Merchant observed the positive change in the children as they grew more confident in their abilities and as they received feedback on their videos.  I have observed similar development during public speaking events and feel that producing videos could also benefit our students in this way. The third important benefit of video-sharing is the skills set that can be developed in students. (p.68)  There are the obvious technical skills of searching for, watching, producing, editing, and uploading video.  But there are also less obvious skills that can be developed.  New literacy skills will be learned as students interact with the videos and gather meaning from them.  There is also the need to teach the very important skill of reading and consuming shared videos from a careful and critical perspective.  And finally there is the need for schools to teach elements of safety on the internet, be it using text, photo, or video. (p.67)

So now that I more fully recognize the potential of video-sharing I must ask myself how I plan to use this tool in my practice.  There are a number of ways that I could incorporate video-sharing in the library. 

1. Allow students to use shared video as a source for facts on a research project.

2. Have students create information videos as a way to present a topic they have researched.  These videos could then be posted and shared with a wide audience.  This could act as a great motivator to research, and could serve as a tool for collaborative work.

3. Encourage students to incorporate shared videos into a research presentation to illustrate a fact or point.

4. Have students write stories and present them in various ways through video such as: readers theater, animation, dramatization, storytelling.

5. Ask students to prepare and create screencasts about a computer skill they want to teach.

6. Incorporate lessons skills and ideas for the safe use of the internet.

7. Encourage students to watch, learn from, and comment on videos that are shared with them.

8.  Develop students’ ability to think critically about what they see and read on the internet.

9. Produce screencasts to provide instruction on various computer-based research tools.

10.  Share the potential of this tool with my staff and then encourage and support them in its use.

For all the great benefits to video-sharing there are two main areas of caution.  The first is ensuring the safety of students.  In situations where students are accessing videos on line it is important to first ensure that parents have given consent for students to participate in the project.  Second it is important that students be taught to use their critical thinking skills when they encounter unacceptable content.  Safety is also a concern when students are creating and sharing their own work.  Davies and Merchant lay out some good basic precautions that can be taken when a video is being made and shared by students. 1. Do not use students surnames nor distinctive first names.  2. Edit out any landmarks or other references to location that could be used to track and locate the students. 3. Have only people that have agreed to be in the shared video visible in it. (p.67)

The second area of caution in video-sharing is copyright infringements.  I have noticed that music and clips of films or TV programs are often used in a video posted on YouTube.  Although YouTube does some monitoring of the content that is posted onto their site they are not legally liable for any copyright infringement that may take place but rather it is the person or persons who posted the video who could be sued. (Dodge, 2006)  Beyond the liability issue, however, we must consider the ethical lessons being taught to students.  As with print material students need to be made aware of copyright issues with Web 2.0 tools and we as, teachers, should be practicing and encouraging ethical behavior.

The common threads of community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy interchange of ideas have continued to be front and center with this Web 2.0 tool, video-sharing.  In my research I have found projects where video-sharing is used in ways that incorporate these important elements.  Video-sharing has provided another dimension to the research work students will be doing with me as a teacher-librarian and it has given me something new to offer when collaborating with my teachers.  Video-sharing will also be a great way to motivate and inspire students and teachers to collaborate and share ideas. 

 “We are seeing an amazing move of video to IP networks.  By 2013 90% of all IP traffic will be video; 60% of all video will be consumed by consumers over IP networks.”

It was this statement from Justin Rattner that initiated my investigations.  If this prediction by Intel is indeed correct, then it is incumbent upon us as teachers to prepare ourselves and our students for this amazing shift.



The buzz Access YouTube at school. (2009, August). School Library Journal, 55(08), 14.

Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2009). Youtube as a verb …itube? Wetube? Theytube?… In Web 2.0 for schools (pp. 54-68). New York: Peter Lang.

Dodge, D. (2006, April 5). The legal issues around YouTube [Web log message]. Retrieved from Don Dodge on the next big thing:‌the_next_big_thing/‌2006/‌04/‌the_legal_issue.html

Langhorst, E. (2009, June). You are there No budget for travel? Try video chat. School Library Journal, 55(06), 46-48.

Richardson, W. (2009). Screencasting. In Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed., pp. 122-124). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Shiels, M. (2009, September 25). Future is tv-shaped, says Intel [Newsgroup message]. Retrieved from‌mpapps/‌pagetools/‌print/‌‌2/‌hi/‌technology/‌827200

Categories: Uncategorized

Exploring Photo-Sharing

September 16, 2009 2 comments

My Reflections on the Process of Learning About Photo-Sharing

As I went through the process of setting up my various accounts, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader, I could readily perceive their usefulness to me both personally and professionally.  With just a bit of playing and adjusting at the beginning I began getting ideas on how to use them.  My experience, so far, with Photo-Sharing has not been as straight forward.  In my readings I discovered that Photo-Sharing was a great way of storing and backing up personal digital pictures, useful for organizing those pictures, and a great way of sharing those pictures with others.  I also read about ways that teachers are using Photo-Sharing in their classrooms.  To put all this information into practice I first tried to sign up for Flickr, the service that was most talked about.  I found, however, that you first needed a Yahoo account.  As I have so many accounts and so many passwords to keep track of I decided to try Photobucket first.  Although signing up was very easy, I have had difficulty since then.  Up-loading photos has been a long slow process as has the tagging and labeling of all of them.  I have had more success performing searches on topics and regions.  By entering a key word, photos that relate to that word, pop up.  Using it in this way, I came to understand the usefulness of labeling and tagging in specific and detailed ways.  Being a visual person, I love photography and visual images and I am drawn to the ideas I have read about in terms of photo-sharing.  I hope that with further exploration, and perhaps finding someone who knows and uses the service, I can fully use what it has to offer.

Photo-Sharing As a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

One of the great benefits of living and working internationally is the opportunity to travel and see many amazing places.  As a result, we have a couple thousand pictures on our home computer from our travels.  Needless to say, photo-sharing has the potential to be very helpful to us.  The first benefit would be to use Photobucket or Flickr as a place to back up and even store our photos thus freeing up space on our hard drive.  One of the drawbacks to living internationally is being far away from family and friends.  A great benefit of photo-sharing tools is in sharing photos and experiences with those back home or even new friends we meet in our travels and, much like a blog, they can comment on what they see.  Once downloaded to a photo-sharing site for back-up purposes, photos can be edited (to a limited extent), and organized into albums and then captions can be added.  Picasa Web Albums seems to be particularly good at editing and organizing photo collections.   At present we share photos with our friends and family through our blogs.  If we wanted to maintain these blogs we could easily upload pictures from our photo-sharing site to our blog site.  There is now even the ability to up-load and share video in this way.   One of the features in Flickr that I read about is the ability to tag photos geographically known as geotaggeing.  These photos can be linked with Google Earth and a person’s world travels can be located geographically.  I’m not sure exactly how this works but it would be very instructional for those viewing the pictures. 

Photo-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning

Some common threads running through all the Web 2.0 tools we have been exploring is the idea of community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy interchange of ideas.  In my research I have found projects where photo-sharing is used in ways that incorporates these important elements. 

Photo-sharing has provided another dimension to the research work students will be doing with me as a teacher-librarian.  Geography, history, current events, social history, and any other topic students might be researching could benefit greatly by incorporating photo-sharing into it.  Students could use a Photo-Sharing site to search for relevant photos which they could incorporate into their research projects and presentations.  Within some photo-sharing programs there is the ability to create slide shows with annotation to go with it.  Although I have not used it, Geotagging, linked with Google Earth, seems to be a powerful way to add to geography or history projects.  Presentations could be created on the photo-sharing site and conversation could take place through the comments left.

One of my goals in the library with elementary students is to take our reading and our book studies and create stories of our own.  Using photo-sharing could be a great way to motivate and inspire students to collaborate and share ideas.  Although I have used photos and drawings to help students tell their stories, photo-sharing could be another place to either assemble pictures they have taken themselves or to find pictures to create their stories.  A site called Teachers of Merit  has a number of examples of projects that would add a new depth to a student’s learning.  My favorite example on this site is a project called Flat Bobby (cousin of Flat Stanley).  They call it “blog plus Flickr” (the photos are linked to Flicker) and it incorporates writing and research about people and places.  This project involves students locating places geographically and thus being introduced to other cultures.   Students could then share their finished project with others who were involved in the project no matter their location.  In a similar way students could create a photo journal of a vacation they took and share it through Flickr.  Students in our school tend to travel to some very culturally and historically rich places on their vacations.  Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, India, Syria, Oman, Turkey, Lebanon, plus Europe and Africa are all within easy reach from here.  If these photo journals are posted it could spark feedback and conversation with students in other countries who are interested in the area visited.  Geography, mapping, history, and current events are all part of these highly motivating projects. 

Another way to use photo-sharing to create a sense of global community and to foster collaboration is by linking books to the contexts they are written in.  I will be reading Greg Mortenson’s and David Relin’s book Three Cups of Tea (2009)which has been adapted for young readers by Sarah Thomson. As the book takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I did a search on Flickr to look for pictures that may help students get an understanding of the place and culture within which the book is set.  Although I was not yet able to find anything useful about Pakistan I did find some great photos by Janchan on Flickr, set in Afghanistan.  Through this experience, students may even be able to meet students in one of the schools Mortenson was instrumental in building.  At the very least students would be introduced to other cultures.

I saw many other possible uses of photo-sharing including putting Hotspots in a photo, adding photos to MovieMaker, using VoiceThread to add comments to a slide show, or Flickr Toys to a create graphic presentation and many others I have yet to learn about.  As interesting as all these tools are, I feel that it is important to recognize that they are simply tools to engage students, to foster and build community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy sharing of ideas.  Nevertheless, I feel that photo-sharing is a worthwhile tool to allow this creative learning to take place.


Thomson, S. L. (2009). Three cups of tea adapted for young readers.

      New Yourk: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hello world!

September 6, 2009 2 comments

Welcome to my first steps in the blogging world.  I expect there will be many additons and changes in the weeks and months ahead as I explore Web 2.0.  Join in and let’s all blogging!

Categories: Uncategorized