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Thursday, November 13, 2008

20+ Educational Alternatives to YouTube

Earlier today, because of their new monetization scheme, I said goodbye to YouTube. Therefore, I thought it would appropriate to share some alternatives to YouTube that teachers and students might want to explore. In some cases, I've reviewed some of these services in the past and have linked to those reviews as well as to the website itself.

1,2,3. This list cannot be started and would be totally incomplete if I did not start by mentioning Teacher Tube, Teachers.tv, and iTunes U. My blog posts on the three services are here, here, and here respectively.

4. Viddler
is a service that I enjoy using because of its integrated in-video commenting system. Read my review here.

5. How Stuff Works is a video site that I spent hours exploring in September because I was sucked in by the quality of the content. My blog post about it is here.

6,7. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel both offer a lot of content similar to and, in some cases, identical to that which is found on their respective television networks.

8,9 Vimeo and Blip.tv are two user generated content video sites that have gained some traction over the last year. My reviews of these services are available here and here respectively.

10 Dot Sub
is full of user generated content that is subtitled into many different languages. I have a hearing impaired student this year that uses Dot Sub quite a bit.

11. If you're looking for current news content you may want to consider subscribing to the Reuters Video RSS feed.

12, 13. Along the lines of news videos, all of the major US Networks offer most of their nightly news as online videos. For news videos that are kid-friendly try CNN Student News. If you're interested in showing your students the inner workings of Congressional proceedings, visit the C-Span video library.

14. Hulu
, a joint venture of NBC and News Corps, offers high quality video of television shows, movies, and old news broadcasts. You can read my review of Hulu here.

15, 16, 17, 18. For videos directly intended for use in the classroom visit the Kids Know It Network, The Futures Channel, Science Tube, and Math-A-Tube.

19, 20 TED and Big Think offer intellectual discussions and presentations about a wide variety of social, political, scientific, and economic topics.

21. Snag Films is a great place to watch full length documentaries from producers like National Geographic for free. My review of Snag Films is here.

22. Finally, Google Video serves a lot of results from YouTube, but you will also find non-YouTube videos in the mix that you can use in the classroom.

What have I missed? Which websites do you rely on for educational video content? Please leave a comment and I'll add your suggestion to the list.

Update
In the last week this post became the most popular post I've ever written. Seven new items have been added to the list bringing the total to 30. Please visit the additions to the list here.

Twingr - Create Your Own Microblogging Community

Twingr is a new service that allows you to create your own microblogging service. Think of it as creating your own private Twitter service. Much like Twitter, messages on Twingr are limited to 140 characters. As with free blogging services, like Blogger, you choose the first part of your Twingr url and it is assigned the Twingr extension. For instance, I set up a Twinger account at freetech4teachers.twingr.com. Twingr could be a useful service for professional learning networks to communicate with without the annoyance of spam followers as is found on Twitter. (Granted, you can remove those spam followers but if you have 400+ followers it is time consuming to sort them out).

Watch the video introduction to Twingr below.


Applications for Education
Microblogging services are easy tools for students to use to create content on the Internet. A service like Twingr, Twitter, or Youth Twitter is a good way for students to share ideas with each other in creation of a larger project. Last December when I began using Twitter I wrote this:
Twitter is a program that allows students to create miniature blogs in a format that most teenagers are familiar with, instant messaging. Twitter limits each entry to 140 characters (about the length of this writing so far) before the entry is saved and made viewable to others. Other Twitter users, "Twits," can then respond to the original twit. This is a great way to get reluctant writers or students who are having trouble getting ideas for creative writing to brainstorm with each other.
Since last December I've shared other ideas for using microblogging services in the classroom or for professional development you read those thoughts here or here.

Twingr could be a great platform for holding online discussions about a news topic or story idea with students. As the creator of a Twingr network you, as the teacher and network administrator, can control who can or cannot see what your students are writing.

If you're still unsure what microblogging is or how to use it, take a few minutes to watch this explanation from Common Craft.

Goodbye YouTube - It Was Nice Knowing You

Yesterday, YouTube announced that they are now selling video placements in search results. They call it "sponsoring" a video. What it means is that if you want to promote your video to as many people as possible, for a nominal fee you can have your video at the top of YouTube search results.

Applications for Education
I didn't think anything of this announcement from YouTube until I read an article written by Erick Schonfeld on TechCrunch about the topic. Schonfeld pointed out that it is only a matter of time before there are videos of "questionable morals" at the top of generic search terms. For an example of this go over to YouTube and search with the term "sports" or "science."

Most of the teachers I talk with tell me that YouTube is blocked by their school district's filters. The school I work in does not block YouTube. For those of us who do have access to YouTube now I fear that the addition of more "questionable content" on YouTube will lead to YouTube being bocked by our filters. For those of us who have advocated for access to YouTube in our schools, I fear that this announcement from Google weakens our arguments. So YouTube, it was nice knowing you, I hope we meet again.

Fortunately, there are many other good video sharing sites that teachers can access. Some of these services are Teachers.tv, Teacher Tube, Viddler, and Blip.tv.

If there is a video on YouTube that you just have to use, you can always try one of the methods I've suggested here.

OLPC Give One Get One - And a Look at the Technology

The OLPC "get one, give one" program is restarting on Monday, November 17. Last year the program was successful in generating the production of 150,000 XO Laptops. This year the G1G1 program is being run through Amazon. Despite the recent installation of Windows XP on some XO laptops, the XO laptops sold through the G1G1 program will boot Linux Sugar only.

If you're interested in the wireless technology used in the XO laptop, check out this video of Robert Scoble interviewing Michall Blestas from OLPC.


(If you're reading this in a RSS reader, you may have to visit the blog directly to watch the video).