Over the last several months, YouTube has silently added some great features for educators which I hope helps to sway some of the site’s detractors. For those of you who might not know, there are many school districts that block students and teachers from using YouTube in their classrooms. I find this really disappointing, and honestly, a little draconian. YouTube is an amazing, instructional tool. While I don’t see much educational value in the stupid boy stunt videos and Lady Gaga impersonators that seem to overpopulate the site, I also appreciate the treasure trove of tutorials and instructional aides that YouTube offers. Now, with the addition of several new features, YouTube is becoming a place where our students can learn, create and participate in a worldwide forum.
With YouTube Create, the site now offers greater connectivity with other sites so that students can more easily create and share their works. With a click, YouTube users can now access Stupeflix Video Editor, Xtranormal and GoAnimate. While YouTube has offered its own video editor for a while, with YouTube Create, users can now create their own videos online by using these second party sites. The really cool part is that even though the sites are separate from YouTube, the tools are integrated into the YouTube landscape so that there is seamless functionality. Wondering how you could use YouTube Create with your students? Consider giving your students a video project as an assessment instead of assigning them a paper or giving them an exam. You could even let them choose which of the sites they want to use to create and share their work.
I’m sure this feature was developed as a result of the number of violators were uploading copyright material. The impressive part is that YouTube is taking a proactive approach and providing instruction for users to help them understand and follow copyright restrictions. The YouTube Copyright School provides a series of tutorials and videos that explain the basics of copyright law, infringement and public domain. At the end of the last tutorial, users are presented with a quiz which assesses their understanding of the topic. Although I’ve heard that YouTube is requiring the tutorials as a means of remediating copyright offenders on their site, the tutorials would also be a great instructional aide for educators who want to give some copyright background for students as they develop their own multimedia projects.