My latest assignment has been to learn about video sharing and how to use video sharing sites. I have had some experience with uploading to YouTube and using YouTube in the classroom. I often search the web for a video clip to launch a lesson or a unit or to illustrate a concept. While pursuing this assignment I wasn't sure what I would focus on for my blog post. I have decided to do a partial review of a few video sharing sites from an educator's perspective.
There are a plethora of video sharing sites out there. A Wikipedia article on video sharing compares over 20 sites. I checked into what were the top services. You can check out TopTenReviews for the best video sharing sites for 2012. This is a useful article in that it outlines what features you might want to look for in a sharing site. The "audience features" for finding videos combined with the kind and amount of content on the video sharing service are key criteria for making a choice that meets your needs.
Of course I am not just checking out video sharing sites in general. I want to look at sites that will serve my needs as an educator and the needs of my students. I am looking for video sharing sites that are full of easy to locate educational content (organization is key). I am also looking for a site which is easy to upload to and link to. I also want a service that is safe to use in the classroom.
YouTube is the top videosharing service in terms of amount of content and volume of users. It has a huge number of features for locating, uploading, storing and sharing content. It is the volume of content and the lack of moderators and consistent good quality tagging that can make it very time consuming to find just the right video on. There is also the whole problem of advertising and inappropriate content. I talk about that under TeacherTube. As a teacher I will always be drawn to YouTube because if I can't find what I want there I am not likely to find it elsewhere, the only is it just could take a lifetime to find.
YouTube is also very convenient to use just because Google accounts link directly to YouTube. Inside of Blogger I can make quick links to YouTube videos. A great number of camera and video devices also upload directly to Youtube without needing to use a computer as an intermediate step for uploading content.
In my investigation of educational video sharing sites I started with TeacherTube. I decided to sign up for a free account. I was a bit surprised by some of the information required to get an account such as my birthdate and gender. It is taking quite a while for my account to be confirmed. From what I have been reading there is a lot of waiting with TeacherTube. If you want to upload a video and access it a few minutes later you will likely be frustrated.
I guess the first thing that strikes me about TeacherTube is how commercial it is. Videos often start with an advertisement. It really doesn't distinguish itself from YouTube in this regard. I think as educators we need to be very careful about how much advertising and corporate sponsorship we expose students to. If you have older students, say grade four or above, you can discuss advertising at the beginning of the year before allowing students to access to these sites. The MediaSmarts site and CommonSenseMedia sites are good places to get lessons.
I think one of the powerful features of TeacherTube is the potential to search it by American Common Core Standards. It is unfortunate that it is just US Standards that can be used but even this criteria can get you connected very quickly with exactly what you need. I think searching user created tags has limitions especially when you are searching for specific content to teach in upper level sciences or mathematics. I have included a fairly boring but yet informing video about how curriculum alignments are added to uploaded resources in TeacherTube.
I really like the interface of SchoolTube. It is so much calmer and it is commercial free. It does have a lot less content. I did a search on the term "Inuit" on both on TeacherTube and SchoolTube. SchoolTube only had half a dozen and the most useful was the video below. Meanwhile TeacherTube had nearly twenty-most of which would have been appropriate to use in the classroom but I would have to contend with the ads.
I would definitely use SchoolTube as the repository for any educational videos I created for my school. It is fast and easy and I don't add commercial clutter to my content. I like the fact that all my videos can be put on single school page. When looking for educational content I will need to include TeacherTube and YouTube just because of the greater volume of content available.
ScreencastIf you are a Jing user you might want to consider using Screencast for storing and sharing all your videos. I think it is the best web based storage service in terms of it organizational features and giving you complete control of all your material. You can create folders for your videos and easily attribute one of four levels of privacy to your videos which you can assign to individual videos or to whole folders. The only down side is that the free account limits you to two gigabytes of storage. I have included the introductory video below. You don't need to watch all of it to get an idea of how user friendly it is.
Screencast is not a site on which you can search for content. In this regard it is quite different than the other services reviewed in this post.
Archive.orgThrough my readings I also became aware of Archive.org. I believe this repoistory for print, video and audio sharing is something everyone should consider. I would consider it the public broadcasting version of online storage and resource sharing. I uploaded a podcast to this site and it automatically converted it to a number of media types to make it easily accessible to all users. My critique of this resource is that the site is slow to load and the speed of uploading and retrieving of resources takes a little more patience than other resources. In fact while writing this blog the archive went offline for a while.
Archive is not only a place to store and share video but is a repository a vast amount of historical content. It relies on tagging to make resources searchable. Getting an account is easy and it was also the fastest of all the above video sharing services. There is no limit on storage, but once you have uploaded the material it is there for forever.
ConclusionThere are many video sharing resources out there. Educators have a variety of choices for the storage and sharing of their and their student's video content. I believe SchoolTube would be one of the best choices for uploading. In terms of what video sharing sites provide the best content and easiest access is more difficult to ascertain. From a student use perspective, TeacherTube is the absolute safest but it lacks in content volume. TeacherTube is more likely to get an educator connected with a classroom appropriate video in the shortest amount of time. You might not end up with as entertaining a video if you were to search YouTube but you would more likely have save some precious time for other activities. However you will need time to bypass the opening ad and be wary as to what kind of ads appear alongside the video clips.
As an elementary teacher I just avoid YouTube searches at school. If I want to mine the content of YouTube I make this a home project as I am never sure what I will get and how much time I might have to spend (a lot of it can be fun but it is time I can't get back just the same).
I have on last resource to leave you with. It is a great wiki I stumbled across about online video and video sharing tools. This wiki (Webtools4u2use) is truly a one stop shop for most of the information you will ever need as an educator about video sharing.
In a future post that I have on podcasting and screencasting I also have a section of Flipcams. I probably should have included it in this post but I had made mention of it on my podcast so I decided not to change it.