Friday, April 16, 2010

You Tube as Homework

Individual opinions and views differ greatly on using technology in the classroom. The bottom line should be if it is an effective learning tool, use it.

In one of my classes, a recent homework assignment was to watch a You Tube video and use a graphic organizer consisting of images, relating to the video, to take notes. As a student this was a welcomed change from writing papers and piecing together presentations. The graphic organizer helped structure the main points of the video and focus my attention on the key topics my teacher wanted me to learn.

Using this type of assignment has many benefits and some shortcomings. I would love to use this type of homework with my students for everything. It is an effective teaching/learning method and applicable in a variety of subjects. Students would be more willing to watch a video and take notes rather than do a worksheet or read a chapter out of their textbook. This type of exercise also utilizes many aspects of language and learning styles. The student sees and hears the video simultaneously, the video probably has more effective imagery than most textbooks, the student writes what they hear, and sees a single image for each main point, a powerful memory enhancer.

The shortcomings of this type of homework are the same as any that ask students to use the internet. What if the student does not have a computer at home? What if the student does not have internet at home? What if the student stumbles upon unsuitable material while online? These "what ifs" seem to dominate the rational for teachers not to even try to use a variety of technology in their teaching. My concern would not fall under the "what ifs" for the younger students. My thinking goes to communicating this type of assignment to the parents, since they would have to supervise the elementary students while on the computer. The younger students would love to do this type of homework but parents or care givers maybe reluctant. If the teacher is lucky, clear, has effectively taught students how to complete this type of assignment independently and effectively communicated with parents, You Tube could be a regular and effective teaching strategy. Who would have guessed it, not me!

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