Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Using YouTube to Enhance Blended Learning

watch2gether.com

     Using multimedia in class is nothing new, whether it is a 2 min. clip or a full length documentary, videos & other methods have been utilized for years to get across important points to learners of all ages.  Today we stream or Blueray, perhaps DVD.  Ten years ago we used the VHS, & before that it was the reel to reel.  Ah yes, & then there are the fond memories of the BEEP, which signaled to the classroom pet it was time to change the slide.  Videos (although nice for teacher planning) can take away valuable classroom time.  Perhaps you have even opted not to show a video with valuable content due to lack of time.  

     With YouTube you can assign videos to be watched at home, but you can take it a step further with watch2gether.com.  Have your students either get together in groups to watch with a designated student leader, or lead the groups yourself & watch online together in the evening.  watch2gether allows you to view & control YouTube videos with multiple users with real time chat included.  Pause, rewind or just comment as you watch, the teacher or student leader who started the room is the one who controls while every one else can watch real-time & comment.

     Give your students ownership opportunities by assigning each student to one topic/unit during the year.  Have them be responsible to find an hours worth of relevant video or clips on that topic & organize & after hours video chat during that unit.  It is a relevant project for them, teaches them how to use YouTube in an educational way (they may have never thought of that), & it also will benefit your other students by giving them extended learning on the topic from different perspective than that of just the teacher.  

     There are many ways to think about using this Web 2.0 Tool, but here is how you use it.  Begin by going to watch2gether & entering a username for yourself.  There is no sign up or registration, this is simply the name that will show up when you chat or play videos. Hit the go button & you will be taken to a page with a unique URL which will allow you to share it with your students.

     This can be done ahead of time so that you (or a designated student) can pass the link out in class the next day.  If you have a class webpage simply create a link from your webpage to make it simple for your students.  You could also Tweet out the link with the viewing time if you use Twitter in the classroom.  Whatever the method this will allow you & your students/group the ability to all watch the same clips/videos at the same time.  Rooms (URL links) are kept for up to 7 days, but you are given the option to save your room if you want to be able to access it in the future.

     To save a room simply click save in the upper right hand corner & follow the instructions.  You enter your email address & give the room a name.  This would allow you to come back to the same room (URL link) time and again keeping you from constantly giving the students a new link or constantly updating it on your class webpage.

     Below is an example of what the room leader sees once you have begun.  Anyone else who joins sees a similar screen, but does not have video tools to play or change the video.  From here it is as easy as sitting back & watching the video.  If you have additional clips cues up in your playlist they will automatically begin when the previous clip ends.  Comment or ask questions, encourage your students to ask questions.  If your school does not block YouTube another way to use this would be to watch via this method in class.  Instead of interrupting or talking over the video you could simply type in comments on the right as students watch. For those in Reynoldsburg who ever had Jerry Anglim you can only imagine how excited he would have been to have something like this.  

     Think of more & creative ways to use this & share by leaving comments.  Hope this is another great tool you can add to your Web 2.0 Toolbelt.  Enjoy it & have a great 2013.