YouTube is your friend

Often, when a question comes up, one of the expressions we use is "Google is your friend" meaning that you can find the answer by searching on Google. In yesterday's post by Clouducation "For these kids, YouTube is Google…", the author comments that this generation is turning to YouTube to learn "how" to do things.

What I found interesting is that this is exactly what I've been teaching in the Advance Microsoft Word for Technical Writers course I used to teach. The message to my students was, if you don't know how to do something, try looking it up on YouTube. Now, for some of the complex things they needed to do, the videos did not exist – so I created them – they now exist on YouTube 😉  Some of my most viewed video clips (about 9000 views) are the video clips on Microsoft Word tutorials. BTW – my all time most watch video clip relates to using my iPad to make margin notes using iAnnotate (over 35,000 views). 

This weekend, when I wanted to create a picture-in-picture type presentation with some in-class video that I took and the slides, I found myself using YouTube to find some decent how-to videos. Without YouTube I would never have figured out the crazy not intuitive interface that is Adobe Premiere. One quick YouTube video and I was set. I agree completely with the Clouducation author, that YouTube provides great way to learn complicated tasks.

On a side note, the other application that I use along with YouTube is MySpeed – this little gem of an app allow me to watch the video as fast or slow as I like. I often find that I can watch the clips at 1.5 or double speed and learn what I need in half the time. 

Now that I'm teaching Emerging Technologies, I find myself thinking more about digital literacies. One important digital literacy is to know first that when you are learning a new technology, the YouTube is often a really useful resource. Another digital literacy is how to effectively search YouTube and filter for the most useful tutorials. YouTube isn't just about cats doing stupid things, it is a useful educational resource. Now I just need to think up a fun learning activity involving YouTube … maybe a scavenger hunt!

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