Viral Videos


Michael Wesch’s June 2008 Library of Congress presentation: “An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Chris Dede, in his article, Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty, draws on Howard Rheingold’s work, which, in part, predicts a future based on “mediated immersion”, where “[m]embers of the same physical group may have very different personal communities as their major sources of sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging, and social identity.” In a few weeks we’ll take a closer look at virtual worlds and their implication, if any, for our future teaching and learning, but I wonder, if for now, we can make any connections between the mediated environments Chris Dede envisions and the kinds of communities that form around online videos? How has this recent (YouTube first launched in 2005) ability to connect and communicate beyond traditional limitations of time, geography, language and culture started to inform and influence our own teaching and learning, if at all? I strongly encourage you to watch Michael Wesch’s video above as a way to get our discussion started.

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9 Responses to “Viral Videos”

  1. wessam101 Says:

    I am might be off topic here but I guess I need some suggestions from my colleagues. I know that you have tried some of these social networking tools before and you are using some this semester with your classes. In fact, it is my first time to get to know all these things and I am kind of confused. I teach two language classes and both are beginners .I have created a ning page trying to apply what we took in the class and I was happy with it. When I met Barbara to discuss with her my project, I was disappointed as it took me forever to create it upon hearing that all I have done was just like Huskyct. That is why I am asking for your suggestions about the difference between Huskyct and ning or how to improve it in the sense of interaction and social networking. Thank you all

  2. Barbara Says:

    Hi Wessam,
    That’s a question that gets at the crux of the course, really (why the title of our blog is what it is). Could you share with us what your objective was for using the Ning for your class, e.g., was it to have your students communicate with speakers of Arabic, to participate in a global project, to connect with others outside your classroom or was it more to post assignments for your students and for them to post their work? Or some combination thereof? Or none of these?

    For everyone and anyone—given the experiences and resources you’ve explored thus far, what do you think is the difference between social networking environments in general and course management systems as you’ve experienced them?

  3. Jessica McBride Says:

    I feel like I ran into the same issue as Wessam with my blog this semester. Although my students are writing much longer and more well-developed posts in the blog format than they were in their HuskyCT responses, I still feel like they view the blog as an obligation rather than a fun way to learn. I think that one of the main issues causing or continuing this perception is really showcased in Michael Wesch’s discussion at the Library of Congress. He discusses the changing nature of authority as a result of YouTube videos and other user generated content. Although we may be giving our students more opportunity to generate content on our blogs and ning pages, we are still the “sage on the stage” but in a virtual setting rather than in the lecture hall. Our students may not feel like they have control because they have little to do with the creation of the web2.0 tool, rather they are just visitors required to pass through once or twice a week. They aren’t invested in the tool like they would need to be in order for it to blossom into something that surpasses a HuskyCT site. I’m still unsure how to achieve this in the classroom, but maybe by allowing them to help create the page at the beginning of the semester rather than simply beginning to use it under the guidelines of the instructor after its launch. Any other ideas?

  4. wessam101 Says:

    Just a quick note. If you click on the Ning word on my post, it will directly direct you to my ning social network. It is http://www.yallaarabic1.ning.com

  5. wltung Says:

    Chris Dete in Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty predicts that emerging media and ubiquitous computing will change the learning environment in the near future. After I read his explanation in detail, his research inspires me to think deliberately how powerful pedagogies will influence learning and teaching and how technology can be helpful to create situated learning pedagogies environment. Also after I reread the Standards for Foreign Language Learning (The five C’s) and connect it with Chris Dete’ s discussion; I got some thoughts in my mind about teaching and learning. First, I believe his idea that situated learning is a more powerful learning method which enables participants’ action immersion and motivation. Originally this learning method requires authentic contexts, activities, and assessment coupled with guidance from expert modeling, mentoring, and participation, so it is less used for instruction since unstructured learning in complex real-world setting is difficult. But now, technology helps situated learning becomes possible. Due to the virtual environments and ubiquitous computing help create “immersive and extended experiences with problems and contexts” similar to the real world, this mediated immersing environment enables learners to access information resources across distance and time, broadening and deepening experience. And it allows more interactions and activities than real world. In addition, learners are engaged and highly motivated both in and after class and even some students with low-performing students are motivated too. Moreover, by situated learning approach, students can have different way of performance.
    Though I agree most of Chris Dete’s perspectives about teaching environment today and his study on situated learning, yet I feel that the most difficult part for a language teacher is to design suitable activities for students by applying the technical tools, esp. for the beginners. We teachers all know the communicative approach is most powerful in language teaching. Yet, according to my observation, there seems some gap or some difficulties for applying communicative approach on beginners. If students own limited vocabularies and grammar, how can they immerse themselves in the case stories like Chris Dete mentioned in his article? I totally agree Chris Dete’s advice on facultyis professional development. Nowadays, it is necessary for faculty to own some capabilities such as “co-design, co-instruction, guided social constructivist and situated learning pedagogies, and assessment beyond tests and papers.” I believe all this points are beneficial to instructors. Therefore, if university authorities decide to improve the educational environment, besides spending lots of budget on facility, I feel it is very important and necessary to provide instructors more pedagogical training as as to enhance their abilities of applying technical knowledge in teaching.

  6. wltung Says:

    I feel kind of pleasant to the topic this week as I finally know a web tool called “YouTube” that I have used. I am not sure if I apply it well since I just applied them for one year. I usually download some useful video clips from it as teaching supplements and for my own interests. After reading 7 Things You Should Know About YouTube and Michael Wesch’s presentation on YuoTube, I have learned all the functions on YouTube systemetically. I know I still do not take advantage of this tool well enough, yet I have already found it is powerful and useful which can be well extended after class. The most efficient way to use it is the video clips I feel useful and may motivated students can be easily and efficiently link to our Chinese group on Facebook which my students hanging out there often, so they can easily see them. I also ask them to make some small projects by applying networking tools like YouTube, Voicethread, or Flicr to edit their works and get the responses from others outside the classroom, and the results still do not come out yet. But all the activities my students have done are assigned by me. So I found that I have similar problem like Wessam and Jessica. I feel students do not engage enough in doing their works naturally unless you ask them. I guess that is because of their limited vocabulary in Chinese. I try to figure out some possible activities and apply them in class or after class, and they are encouraged sometimes. All I have done so far seems like an experiment that I need to adjust all the time. I really hope to hear some helpful experience from other colleagues.

  7. nmcclure17 Says:

    I was just reading Dede’s chapter, “Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty” and I was interested in the discussion of immersion. Dede believes these immersive techonologies will help “to shape one’s environment” and that this “is highly motivating and sharply focuses attention.” Sure – I agree. What I think is significant here is that Dede is basically confirming what most people have now accepted as the best way to learn language – immersion.
    I am wondering though, if it is possible to be over-immersed. What will happen when we substitute ALL of our sensory experiences for virtual ones? This is an extreme, but moving so much of our traditional experiences both in life and the classroom could stand to falsify our definition of “authentic.” Maybe this is a better discussion for next week….

    And Wessam – I’m going to look at your ning now – we can talk about it in class.

  8. wessam101 Says:

    Thank you Nicole. I just want to share my objectives as Barbara said. It is more of combination of having my students communicate with speakers of Arabic, and to connect with others outside your classroom. The phrase that Michael Wesch stated before of what is going on outside the walls of the classroom in one of his videos still echoing in my ears. That is why I tried to create this ning page. I totally agree with Jessica saying that students feel as if it is more of an obligatory task or they are just visitors required to pass through once or twice a week. In my methodology class yesterday, I heard from my colleagues some differences between Huskyct and a ning page. They said that they cannot upload documents or videos on Huskyct which puts ning a step ahead. They added that you can do everything else that can be done on a ning page as chat, assignments, or even sharing comments. I would like to know more things about the differences between both and why ning is considered as a better tool for social networking. Thank you all

  9. wessam101 Says:

    I have the same feeling whenever I read these readings for every week. I get really excited and I feel that I have to apply this tool and make the best use out of it. Once I start applying it, I feel that there is such a gap between theory and practice. I am talking personally here and I don’t mean to generalize it. However, I totally agree with Barbara when she said before, ‘we have to be familiar with the tool ourselves in the first place and put our objectives always in front of us’. It is not just for the sake of technology and being proud of using it, we have to manipulate these tools to achieve our objectives at the very end. I really like the definition of “ Transfer” in this article being defined as what students should transfer from one situation to another. It is such a great point to rise and it is true that most of the classes’ lake this concept. I would link it again to the gab between theory and practice.

    As we all agreed in the postings of this week that the idea that situated learning is a more powerful learning method that enables participants’ action immersion and motivation. It is also being supported with Micheal Wesch’s short video about Youtube. I would like to quote what that guy who missed his kid saying that Youtube is not only about to change the world but also to live in it. He illustrates that this community helped him to live in this world again after losing almost everything. That pulls us to the role of media and how it is not just a tool of communication but also a tool to mediate human relationships not just communication. I would like to quote a part from Chris Dede’s article Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty, which is

    “But what is so special about the egocentric perspectives and situated learning now enabled by emerging media? After all, each of us lives with an egocentric perspective in the real world and has many opportunities for situated learning without using technology. One attribute that makes mediated immersion different and powerful is the ability to access information resources and psychosocial community distributed across distance and time, broadening and deepening experience. A second important attribute is the ability to create interactions and activities in mediated experience not possible in the real world, such as teleporting within a virtual environment, enabling a distant person to see a real-time image of your local environment, or interacting with a (simulated) chemical spill in a busy public setting. Both of these attributes are actualized in the Alice-in-Wonderland interface.”

    Which is more or less what happens beyond the web cam in Youtube. It is a fact that students were most effective in learning and problem solving when they collectively sought and synthesized rather than individual work or source of information.

    Last, I think that both the article of Chris Dede and Michal Wesch’s video go hand by hand in setting a good definition for a good teaching method.


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