Friday, March 2, 2012

Digital Learning- Youtube in Classrooms

Growing up in the 90’s, there weren’t a lot of audio visual aids in schools to supplement learning. Educational videos played on the VCR were restricted to nursery rhymes and basic counting.

Cut to the present- Youtube makes a grand entry into classrooms giving students access to a plethora of information from around the world.
Take Youtube Edu for instance. It hosts hundreds of videos from several universities that include lectures, research and speeches by world famous personalities. Often online lectures are part of the university coursework and one can gain access to such material from leading institutions like Stanford, MIT or the Indian Institute of Technology.

Teachers too seem to find it a great way to further explain a subject. Youtube for Schools draws material from Youtube Edu, giving access to school teachers to create educational playlists. Children can watch these videos minus the distraction of cartoons, music or adult content unsuitable for their age. Teachers can also save plenty of search time on Youtube Teachers where educational videos are segregated according to subject and grade levels. By streamlining what children can view online, it provides a safe and vibrant learning atmosphere.

One may record a math or science lecture and upload it on Youtube for the students to review at a later time. If you’re learning about say the ancient Harappa or Greek civilization, a video can help explain better than a textbook. Even those who may not otherwise fare well have been found to respond better to audio visual content and do better than before. You could also prescribe videos for students to watch at home and use the time in school to answer doubts and questions. Whether it’s Show and Tell, class presentations or even guest lectures- Youtube is a creative, fun way to learn. And best of all, it’s free.

I wonder though how feasible this movement would be in India where basic infrastructure needs to catch up let alone internet access in every class. Although a few select schools might be taking baby steps towards a digitized classroom, do you think such a model would work well in the Indian context?

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