National education agency on YouTube, Blip and GoogleVids
My employer, "the main organisation for the development and support of the Scottish curriculum", has this week launched its own YouTube channel.
OK, it only took a few minutes to do, but the will to do this in the first place, coming from Scotland's national education agency, should be a powerful message to all education authorities around the world: you can and you should be looking at how all technologies might provide an opportunity for learning and teacher development.
We've had GoogleVideo clips since last September, although most of the material is for proof of concept and is from the East Lothian area. We've also just opened a Blip.TV channel which should be more accessible in schools and which, I think, has a nicer interface than anything else - just need to fill that one up a bit. Once again, we're avoiding that big project, big launch thing. We just hope that we can get some even more interesting video out there over the next year - it's not like events such as the Learning Festival don't provide enough ;-) When we've got that we might make a little bit of a song and dance about it (we'll video the song and dance, of course).
The advent of TeacherTube should mean that we get in there, too, and we probably will. But part of me also thinks we should be engaging with 'real' tools first and foremost, not slightly phony 'safe' schooly curricular ones, where the quality of content is just as debatable as on non-schooly versions and doesn't seem to be kid-friendly. Judy's got a resounding silence to people who use it successfully in lessons, and I don't think it's really helping answer the real question: do teachers know how to exploit video online in a safe way? The answer, as Leon Cych hints, is probably not: how many of those kids in the videos have written sign-off from their parents, as East Lothian teachers have now been empowered to do? In the 21st century informal learning, not the formal stuff, will become the way the vast majority of lifelong learners will get their fix. Is creating a new silo of information which is deemed more valuable because of its 'safeness' worthwhile?
Clearly I don't think so, and, for once, we've got a public organisation making a very public statement on its intentions and desires with new technology: use what the kids use, use what engages them, and educate them about it in school.
In the time it takes Local Authorities to get this you can still capture YouTube videos from home to 'takeaway' into school. And innovative teachers like Neil Winton are realising that if you can't beat 'em with cool (and still highly useful and entertaining) school trip blogs, then join 'em in their Bebo pages as they discuss what happened on the trip. The discussion is on the same thing, just in a different place.
Meanwhile, what kind of videos would you find of interest from your (inter)national education provider? More of the same? I'd hope that we might also have some new ideas to bring to you through the box, but maybe the next big idea is from you. And, yes, we will see you on Bebo soon ;-)