YouTube & Digital Storytelling Educational Technology Tool Review #3

Description and Explanation of YouTube.com

YouTube is a user-friendly video sharing application that provides a platform for users to create their own video channel. In the past, only television networks had the ability to broadcast video content on a large scale. However, with the creation of YouTube, novice to expert video producers now have a platform to edit and share their video content with an international audience via the internet. In addition, mass access to mobile devices also allows viewers to access videos anytime and anywhere. This convenience is a new aspect of the digital age and should be maximized by educators and learners.

Optimizing YouTube in Educational Settings

YouTube has unique features that educators can optimize to share, organize and enhance videos. Each YouTube user has the option of creating a customized video channel with graphics and a theme that adhere to a specific industry in education. Therefore, educators and trainers can create a tailor-made channel page that appeals to the theme of videos and to engage viewers. In addition, YouTube has large digital storage capabilities that allow educators to share and organize an abundance of videos in one convenient location. Educators typically have a variety of courses with various learners. YouTube offers a solution for this by featuring the option to create more than one channel. Each channel can be devoted to particular themes, specific courses or specific students. Then, another layer of organization is offered by YouTube, which is the ability to create playlists on each channel. The playlists are similar to folders, since they allow you to separate and organize videos into various categories. These features are great to keep educators organized for access, sharing and grading purposes.

In addition, YouTube offers a Creator Studio, which provides educators and learners with additional features to optimize video creation. One component of the Creator Studio is YouTube’s built in analytics feature that can be extremely beneficial to educators. The analytics feature provides educators with access to robust data that can assist with instructional decisions. The data shows the number of views that a video has, the length of time that viewers watch videos, as well as the average length of time that videos are viewed. This data is particularly important to educators since it provides an overview of how learners are accessing instructional videos. For instance, in a flipped classroom setting, an educator may decide to use digital storytelling as an instructional tool. Therefore, they would need to ensure that all students are completely watching videos to be prepared for in class instruction. If students do not seem prepared, the analytics feature can help instructors to discover why, and reinforce the importance of it to students.

The Creator Studio also has a catalog of music that can be added to video to enhance digital storytelling. YouTube’s built in video editor offers the ability to merge various videos into one video. So, if an instructor creates different digital storytelling videos for a unit of study, the videos can be seamlessly merged together for instruction. Conversely, educators can remove portions of video that do not directly relate to objectives for student mastery to improve learning efficiency. In addition, the dashboard in the Creator Studio offers educators the ability to correspond with students via comments or messages. Therefore, if students have particular questions regarding instructional videos, educators can have a convenient way to provide scaffolding and guidance to students.

YouTube also offers a plethora of other features to maximize video sharing. One feature is the option to “unlist” videos for privacy purposes that may be required in some educational settings. Therefore, you can specifically share videos with viewers by providing them with an unlisted link, as opposed to random viewers finding and accessing videos via a search on the world wide web. However, some trainers may prefer the listed options as a way to market and provided online training for businesses, which will maximize views and offer limitless viewing opportunities for learners. YouTube also offers a “live” option, which is accompanied by a chat room. This is an optimal solution for world-wide collaboration of instructors and learners via video. In addition, dynamic videos that appeal to multimodal learners can be presented with graphics, text, photos and music. These features provide educators with pedagogical strategies to enhance learning acquisition of learners with a variety of learning modalities.

Digital storytelling is a dynamic and multimodal approach to traditional storytelling that has gained popularity among digital aged learners. It typically incorporates video, text, images, photos, music and a script. Digital storytelling initially began as a video that people could use to share personal narratives as opposed to writing or giving a speech. The narrative aspect of digital storytelling offered digital storytellers a platform to share their important experiences, which led to a more powerful voice and autonomy, since videos could potentially reach the masses. Over the years, digital stories have evolved and expanded to various domains of learning. As a result, instructors and learners can both use digital stories as instructional tools or as assignments for learners. YouTube offers a video sharing platform that can be leveraged by instructors and learners to share digital stories. Instructors in K-12 and higher educational settings can design videos in a digital storytelling format that can convey abstract STEM concepts, historical events, and language arts, among other options. In addition, instructors can assign learners digital storytelling projects to present knowledge in a collaborative format that adheres to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students can work in teams to present skills that they learned from a unit of study. Since, digital storytelling is in a video format, students can apply divergent thinking skills and convey concepts through writing a script, dance, art, a play, singing, music, visual photos and graphics. All of these components can engage a variety of learners. Thus, optimizing learning acquisition. Uploading these videos to YouTube, then offers another level of collaboration with other students or on a social media network. Instructors and viewers can provide feedback by “liking” a video or adding comments.

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool for corporate settings as well. Corporate trainers can use digital storytelling to create customer service training videos regarding the appropriate way to correspond with customers in the field. Adding problem and solution aspects to the digital story can further enhance mastery of objectives. In addition, computer based training in a digital storytelling format can be uploaded to YouTube. This remote video option is great tool for distance learners that need to access to pertinent trainings.

YouTube and Implementation of ISTE Standards

The ISTE Standards provide K-12 instructors and learners with a framework of skills that should be implemented to ensure that digital aged learners have optimized educational technological learning experiences. When digital storytelling is incorporated into YouTube, the majority of the ISTE Standards can be addressed in this one activity. The ISTE Standards promote writing, speaking, listening, research, digital communication, creativity, higher order critical thinking skills, innovation, safety with technology and collaboration. Incorporating digital storytelling with YouTube’s video sharing capabilities maximizes all of these standards and the application of instructors’ technological pedagogical content knowledge.

One pedagogical strategy that can be leveraged via YouTube is incorporating higher level questioning from Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote critical thinking among learners, which is a significant component of ISTE standards. One way to facilitate this is to use YouTube’s video text feature to embed critical thinking questions throughout a digital story. Another option is to add critical thinking questions in the comment section for students to collaborate and answer the questions there. Students can also add annotations to digital stories that they produce. An instructor can provide a rubric with particular components that must be added to a digital story and students can annotate their digital stories with headings that indicate categories from the rubric. The Creator Studio and various other features of YouTube can assist in creating dynamic digital stories.

YouTube Critique & Suggestions

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool that can be leveraged in a variety of educational settings to optimize learning. The video sharing ability provides novice to expert educators the opportunity to incorporate enriching technology integration that can appeal to K-12, higher education and corporate training settings. In addition, YouTube facilitates collaboration on a broader scale for digital learners that was unimaginable prior to the digital age. YouTube is also a fun and engaging tool for digital aged learners and instructors. This helps to increase novelty in instruction and appeal to variety of multimodal learners, especially with the facilitation of digital storytelling. Therefore, YouTube in combination with digital storytelling is a best pedagogical strategy that should be implemented as frequently as possible.

YouTube provides a variety of features to enhance video production. Since educators are moving towards using YouTube for instructional purposes, perhaps adding an option to provide class participation points to specific students for viewing digital stories in their entirety would be beneficial to educators and learners. This enhancement can help YouTube to appeal to more school districts. Overall, YouTube offers a variety of exceptional video sharing components that incorporates digital literacies and engagement of digital aged learners. Therefore, it should be prioritized as instructional tool that can lead to higher student achievement.

Reference:

Support.google.com (2017) Manage Your Channel with Creator Studio.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6060318?hl=en), in

particular the ability to remix existing video content?

 

Peer Feedback Success in Online Learning

Belland, B., Camin, D., Connolly, P., Coulthard, G., Ertmer, P., Kimfong, L., Mong, C., & Richardson, J. (2007) Using peer feedback to enhance the quality of student online postings: An exploratory study. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication. pp. 412- 433.

This article explored whether peer feedback would result in higher level discussion forum postings of students in online higher educational settings. The level of participation in the discussion forums was evaluated based on the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

This study is pertinent to the field of educational technology since peer feedback in online courses has not been as highly researched as peer feedback in traditional brick and mortar settings. The peer feedback evaluated in this study explored how providing peer feedback can result in deeper levels of cognition, since synthesis and evaluation are necessary to provide constructive feedback to peers. Many educational technology researchers came to the consensus that deeper levels of cognition and in depth learning occurs through the implementation of peer feedback. Peer feedback encourages the synthesis of a variety of opinions and perspectives of content knowledge, which leads to higher levels of cognition and evaluation of feedback, which is the highest goal of learning acquisition.

The collaboration of feedback leverages critical thinking skills of the learner and the evaluator. The peer feedback in this research requires students to compare and contrast ideas, which results in further analysis of various perspectives. Peer feedback also allows students to gauge whether their perspectives concur with their peers, or cultivates deeper analysis of content to develop analyses that are similar to their peers. Deep reflection and cognition from analysis must occur for learners to feel confident in defending their initial thoughts, or adjusting their thoughts based on reasonable and valid analysis that are provided from peers. In addition, this study emphasized the importance of prompt, reliable and meaningful feedback to optimize the learning acquisition of students receiving peer feedback. The sharing of multiple perspectives of various peers and instructors helps to place students on similar levels of learning acquisition in higher educational settings and cultivates online learning communities. Prompt and constructive feedback also assists with retention and motivation of students in online settings.

Although peer feedback is considered to be a best practice in educational technology, the comfort level of students providing peer feedback to other students must be taken into consideration. Studies indicate that students must cultivate a trusting online community with peers to receive and be comfortable and flexible with feedback. Online students still consider instructor feedback from a subject matter expert to be more effective than solely relying on peer feedback to gauge their learning acquisition. Learners exhibited concern regarding the fairness and objectivity of peers that are not subject matter experts for evaluation of their postings.

This article is beneficial to the field of educational technology since it provides feedback strategies that can result in higher levels of cognition in online learning acquisition. It emphasizes the advantages of receiving feedback from peers compared to instructors, which can assist in developing effective pedagogical strategies that benefit learners, instructors, as well of the field of educational technology research.

As an educator, I have facilitated peer feedback through instructional strategies, as well as received peer feedback form colleagues. I found that implementing peer feedback is a valuable instructional tool that helps learners to achieve learning goals and gain higher levels of cognition through peer tutoring, peer reading and collaborative discussion. I have also benefitted from peer feedback in online discussion forums by having a platform to discuss issues that are important to me and education. I also learn from various educational technology perspectives from my peers that have expertise in various educational settings. Peer feedback is a viable and successful pedagogical strategy that can enhance learning acquisition for a variety of learners.

Related Article:

Ruegg, R. (2015) Differences in the uptake of peer and teacher feedback. RELC Journal. Vol. 46 pp. 131-145.