Using YouTube in the Classroom

I loved movie days in school just as much as the next person. It was interesting and engaging to me to hear someone else speak (which says a lot about the teaching style I grew up with), and the novelty was exciting.

As a teacher to a fast-paced media-based generation, I’ve noticed that many students don’t even like movie days anymore. There’s usually at least one student I have to redirect away from other technology during the film, and if I’m subbing for someone else’s class, I have no idea if that teacher tries to use the video as a teaching point or a time filler (although I’ll assert to the end of class that the teacher had some purpose in showing the film).

I like using YouTube for short clips as part of my motivation/intro. activity at the beginning of class because it helps students focus in on our class topic. However, videos really aren’t very instructive unless, like books, you frame the context and direct your students to what they should be looking for.

For instance, I used this clip for the television show, Glee, and asked students to identify the stereotypes portrayed in this 2 minute video (note: know your audience. The word “sucks” was okay in the district for the age group I was teaching at the time, but would not be acceptable at some other places). This activity segued into a journal on stereotypes and a discussion of the characters’ stereotypes in To Kill a Mockingbird and how they are eliminated as we get to know individuals on a deeper level.

What I would like to do is have students come up songs that go along with the reading they’ve done for a night or week and then (after previewing them), play them for the class to see if others agree or disagree with their interpretation of events or certain characters. I see some distinct possibilities for engaging students who love music and perhaps expanding ideas about experiencing and interpreting literature.

Do you use YouTube in your classroom? If so, how? If not, what other video sources do you like to use?


Educational Applications of Google.

I have always loved google docs (okay, now called Google Drive). In high school, it saved me from unreliable computers and storage devices. In college, my university began using Gmail for their email provider during my senior year. It was amazing! Some of my education classes began discussing using Google docs for collaboration, and my peers and I used it frequently for group projects.

In fact, the school district I student taught and long-term subbed for began implementing google accounts for all students, 6th-12th grade last year. It was nice because accounts were assigned (students did not make their own), and the school could oversee the accounts to minimize abuse. However, abuse did happen. Some middle schoolers decided to use shared power points as an avenue for bullying each other. Luckily, their teacher was well-versed in how the google suite works and was able to see what happened via draft versions.

In looking through others’ ideas and how I have used it so far, the following is a list of uses for the google suite for an English context, although many could be used in other content areas:

  • Google drive for class idea sharing on a single document (small groups add to the class list or individuals post ideas)
  • Sharing Google power points with classes (whether it’s other students projects or a reference guide distributed by the teacher)
  • Google drive for looking at versions of drafts while teaching the writing process
  • Google sites for class websites
  • Google calendar sharing; teacher can use it to update class calendars as changes occur. Also can embed in class google site for easy reference!
  • Google scholar for research papers
  • Google books for an excellent way to read a book to the class using a projector (think children’s books for mini-lesson skills. This is especially great for ESL so they can all see the words and pictures.
  • Google news for teaching students news bias, multiple perspectives on the same event, and evaluating sources.
  • Google login for Blogger– another option for student blogs/class blogs. Have to be careful about student blogs though because you can’t control their content yet are responsible for what they post. I like collaborative blogs or having students email me and I post material.
  • Google login for YouTube is wonderful if it is through a school Gmail account. These are also great opportunities to teach students about online presence, being careful about privacy settings and what they post/share with others, and how to become fluent with technology (showing them how to troubleshoot as it happens rather than fixing it without showing them).
  • Google mobile so students can access their things on all their devices and don’t have to worry about leaving flash drives , etc. at school.

How do you use the Google suite in your classroom?