Web 2.0 Evaluation
November 23, 2009
Introduction and rational
Online videos are a great tool for teachers to use to support curriculum in the
classroom. There are many different sites that house online videos and it can be quite a
difficult task to choose which one would be the best tool to use. Depending on the school
system’s Acceptable Use Policy and subscriptions purchased by specific schools, access
to all of the websites may not always be feasible. The three websites I chose to evaluate
that have a variety of online videos are http://www.youtube.com/,
http://streamingdiscoveryeducation.com/, and http://www.teachertube.com/.
I chose to evaluate online videos because I use them to supplement my teaching,
especially in science. My students love it when I put little clips of video or even entire
videos in my lessons. Since good teachers try to incorporate all of their students’ learning
styles into lessons, using online videos really help to meet the needs of the visual learner.
Videos, when used appropriately within a lesson can help to reinforce concepts that may
be difficult for some students to understand. For example, I used a search for a video on
electricity, since I am currently teaching a physical science unit on that right now. My
students were having a hard time understanding the idea of atoms having protons,
neutrons, and electrons, and how the transfer of electrons caused electricity. I showed a
video on Discovery Education that animated that concept and it helped my students to
make sense of that vocabulary and process. Online videos are a great tool to supplement
curricular objectives in an interesting way and help the students to enjoy learning.
Benefits to each site
YouTube has many benefits to it. First, there are millions of videos for everything
you could ever think of. It is almost a given that you will find exactly what you’re
looking for or a link to it. In fact, when I searched for the concepts of electricity and
adding fractions with unlike denominators, I was taken through YouTube to a Teacher
Tube video, which I also evaluated using my rubric. I found pages of videos directly
related to my search for both curricular indicators. There were also links to additional
videos and suggestions for other videos to view. It was quick and easy to use the video in
full screen mode and some videos had closed-captions. An account was not needed to
view, download, or share videos. Links for navigation were clearly labeled, consistently
placed, allowed the reader to easily move from a video to related videos (forward and
back), and took me where I expected to go. All the links were active and load time was
very quick for all pages and videos.
Teacher Tube had fewer benefits to the website than I would have predicted.
Like, YouTube, switching to full screen mode was quick; and channels were sorted by
content, subject, and age level. There was a good relationship with curriculum content.
A person would not have to login to share or embed a video in an online document.
Pages and videos typically load reasonably quickly, but it took longer to get the videos to
show in full screen. To view a video in full screen mode, Windows Media Player or
Internet Explorer had to be used. In Firefox, you could only use it with Windows Media
Player to view it in full screen mode. There were also other media to use such as audio,
documents, and photos.
Discovery Education had many great tools, which I find to be one of the best
benefits that an online video site could give you. One tool was the access to lesson plans,
quizzes, and tools for building them. Academic levels and curricular alignment were
clearly stated and even a way to search for content, so finding age- and content-related
materials was simple. Some videos provided options to go to other linked videos in that
series, gave citation information, and/or offered related materials such as blackline
masters, teacher guides, and/or quizzes. Lessons could be aligned to any state curriculum.
Searching for videos was easy as you could search by subject, grade, media type, video
detail, materials, or source. Videos were effective in teaching the desired content in an
interactive way that students would enjoy while learning. All links were active. Storage
of materials and videos in folders was made easy. There were many different media types
such as audio, video clips, clip art, full video, images, reading passages, quizzes, and so
much more to use on this website.
Drawbacks to each site
YouTube had a few drawbacks to it. I could not access this site from school. The
content was blocked. There was also no way to align grade levels or curricular standards
to the videos. Another fact that was considered a drawback to me, but may not be for
many other people, is the whole social aspect. After I logged in, I was connected with
people I knew and it became a social video network. Since I was searching for
educational videos, I didn’t intend on using it for socializing and I’d rather not be
bothered with that. There were so many videos on YouTube. It was quite overwhelming
and many videos were just inappropriate. It got very busy to look at. There were no
additional activities for lesson plans or pre- and post-activities. The different channels
didn’t help me to find any age-appropriate or content-appropriate videos.
Teacher Tube had many more drawbacks that YouTube had. The pages took an
extremely long time to load especially if your search didn’t produce any results, which
happened very often. It was hard to search. I had to reword my searches multiple times to
find any videos. Most of the time, I got messages that there weren’t any subcategories
while under the Channel search. There was a section with documents (worksheets) to use
but were not directly linked with the videos or matched together for pre- or post-
activities. It was quite slow going from video to video and between links. When I
searched for electricity under the science channel, no searches provided a video. When I
looked for adding fractions with unlike denominators, I was taken to pages of video links
on adding whole numbers, identifying fractions, dividing fractions, and comparing
fractions. It was until I was scrolling through, that on page three I finally found an
appropriate video. Teacher Tube also had the whole social network capability and again
that was not what I was looking for. That may very well not be a drawback to many other
Discovery Education had a few drawbacks to using it. To view a video in full
screen mode or closed-captioned, Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer had to be
used. In Firefox, you could only use it with Windows Media Player to view it in full
screen mode or closed-captioned. Navigation through my folders was a pain. Once I back
clicked, I lost where I was in searching my folders and had to start over. I had to log in to
have access to any videos. That could be a problem if a school does not have a
subscription. That isn’t a drawback for me because I have a login.
The rankings of the online video websites were based on the total scores
determined by the rubric I created. Discovery Education was the best website for using
online videos in education. It received a rubric score of 17.67. The breakdown for each
category was the following: relativity to content- 4, ease of use by instructors-3,
effectiveness in teaching-4, design, aesthetic appeal, and navigation accessibility-3.67,
and load time-3. The strengths this website had were the additional tools, ease of
searching content, availability of related materials, and the ability to align videos to any
state curriculum. The weaknesses of this site were that you needed to have a subscription
to view or use its materials and that you could not view the videos in full screen mode
directly from their site if you are using Firefox, but it does work well in Internet Explorer
or using a Windows Media Player.
The next website, as ranked by my rubric, was You Tube with a rubric score of
17. The breakdown for each category was the following: relativity to content- 2, ease of
use by instructors-4, effectiveness in teaching-3, design, aesthetic appeal, and navigation
accessibility-4, and load time-4. There were a few strengths for this website. One major
one was that there were millions of videos that were easy to access and loaded very
quickly. Also, searches offered suggestions for other videos or linked videos. Last, an
account was not needed to view or use the videos. One major weakness was that due to
its social networking ability, it was banned by some school systems, like FCPS, and
access to the website was denied. The other weakness was also its strength. There were
so many videos that it got to be overwhelming to search for what I was looking for, and
most of the content on YouTube was inappropriate for use in education.
The worst website, according to my rubric, was Teacher Tube with a rubric score
of 14. The breakdown for each category was the following: relativity to content- 3, ease
of use by instructors-4, effectiveness in teaching-3, design, aesthetic appeal, and
navigation accessibility-4, and load time-2. This website had a few strengths, such as no
login is required, unless you want to download content, it only housed educational
content; and there were also other media to use such as audio, documents, and photos.
The drawbacks outweighed the benefits to this site. There were so many weaknesses. One
was the amount of time it took for the pages to load, if your search didn’t produce any
results and that happened often. Another was that it was hard to find what you wanted
quickly. Next, there were no additional materials to use linked to the videos. Also my
searches did not consistently give me appropriate videos for my search, and it was also
another social networking site, though more for teachers and students to network. That
may not be a weakness for other people, but I felt it is.