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The Rise of the ‘Youtuber’ and Why Teachers Should Take Notice

by Kelly Walsh on November 10, 2015

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Short Form Video is BIG and Getting Bigger. Is Education Putting the Format to Good Use?

So, do you know what a YouTuber is? Can you name a few? Your students can probably name lots of their favorites.

In some ways, the YouTuber is sort of a modern equivalent to the 70’s or 80’s teen idol or TV Star. “Back in the day” everyone from the likes of David Cassidy to Molly Ringwald rose to fame largely because of exposure through the popular video formats available then: television and movies. Today, a new generation of young stars are being launched through exposure on one of today’s most popular video outlets: YouTube.

The rise of the YouTuber goes hand in hand with the massive and still growing popularity of short form video. The term “short form video” generally applies to videos that last anywhere from a few seconds to no more than 10 minutes.

So What Does This Mean for Education?

Short form video is actually a pretty natural fit with education. Take the widely popular Khan Academy tutorials. The vast majority of them are under 10 minutes (hmm, maybe that had some influence on why they are so popular?).

A common recommendation when using videos as course materials is to keep it short (not all educators adhere to this necessarily). Keeping video clip length manageable and effective is one reason that many lecture capture solutions automatically “chapterize” content, breaking it into sections. Some research has proven that short videos are more effective as learning tools – with retention (and completion) falling off quickly once videos exceed 10 minutes.

So one lesson from this is … keep videos short, and they are likely to be more effective as learning tools. Of course, not all videos must be short – this is just a rule of thumb that is supported by findings like this.

Mobile video consumption is growing and growing – kids are very comfortable with this medium. Why shouldn’t educators put this format to use? Isn’t it much more functional to have learning content available on demand anytime, anywhere, than to keep it chained to the classroom chair?

Who doesn’t think learning anytime, anywhere is a good thing? Of course, this isn’t to say by any means that all learning should take place via video – it absolutely should not, but video should be a vital component of today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms. And by the way … keep it short.

 

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded EmergingEdTech.com. He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by kwalshmusic.com and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ron Abate November 10, 2015 at 12:59 pm

I agree with the content of this article. I would like to stress the importance of making videos interactive by briefly quizzing the student. Knowing that an assessment follows the video changes the student’s mindset and most likely will increase focus.

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