Thursday, May 16, 2013

Developing Communication Skills With YouTube & iPad Videos

Ginger Gregory is the Gifted Resource Teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Yukon, and currently has 117 videos on her classroom YouTube channel. Ginger has used the six iPads in her classroom and her free, district-provided YouTube channel (since our district participates in the Google Apps for Education program) to help her students develop oral communication skills, oral fluency, as well as digital literacy skills this semester. In the following six minute video, Mrs. Gregory and eight of her students explain what they have learned as a result of their assignments this year using iPad videos and YouTube.


It's exciting to hear about these positive ways Lakeview students and teachers are not only meeting the new Common Core State Standards, which include requirements for students to both use and create information in multimedia formats, but also how students are having opportunities to discuss and practice the responsible use of digital media tools like YouTube. Mrs. Gregory is doing a great job finding ways to not only engage students through technology, but also prepare students to make good choices with technology tools. This "digital literacy" training and practice is more important than ever in our hyper-connected world. Way to go, Mrs. Gregory and Lakeview Elementary students!

While Yukon Schools also participates in the free "YouTube for Schools" filtering program which limits student access at school to only "approved" YouTube videos, it's very important to prepare students to make good digital choices when they access the Internet OFF the school network. This happens regularly when students use cell phones with data plans or go online at home or other places where Internet content is not filtered.

As of April 30, 2013, teachers and staff in Yukon Public Schools had created 24 different YouTube channels. YPS has over 500 certified teachers, but most do not yet have YouTube channels. YPS teachers were first able to create district-administered YouTube channels a year ago, in the spring of 2012. Teachers like Mrs. Gregory who are exploring the use of YouTube for educational purposes are blazing an important trail as digital learning pioneers for other educators around our district, throughout Oklahoma, and around the world.

If you're interested in seeing other creative ways Yukon teachers are using YouTube to share student work and "flip their classrooms," check out the channels of high school trigonometry teacher Jim Drummond (25 videos, math problem tutorials), 7th grade geography teacher Phillip Ward (42 videos, student "paper-slide video" reports about Africa), 6th grade social studies teacher Kayleen Browning (6 videos, student skits about ancient Rome), and professional development coordinator Adam Zodrow (7 videos: screencasts about Common Core, TLE and more). If you're interested in creating a free YouTube channel, check out these instructions on the YPS Instructional FAQs site.

Many thanks to Jake Heister, who taught a wonderful professional development workshop earlier this semester at Canadian Valley Technology Center about instructional uses of YouTube, which Mrs. Gregory attended.

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