Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Word About YouTube

I love YouTube.  There's my public proclamation of this huge repository of information. 

I am a knitter. I find it relaxing to create something pretty, reset my brain with repetitive movement and since I have close friends who also knit so it's a social opportunity (we're doing a yarn crawl this weekend...I'm so excited!). I usually have 3-4 projects on my needles; one is "social" knitting project or one that doesn't require a great deal of thought that I can do while talking; one that is a potential gift and a few that require a great deal of thinking and concentrating. Those are the ones you can find me working on in the early hours of a Saturday morning before anyone gets up at my house. It's just me, my yarn, a cup of coffee and my dog. Every now and then I come across a direction for a stitch that I don't know. There may be written directions, sometimes there isn't. Even if there is, I have a really hard time understanding what I'm supposed to do with the yarn and needles. I'm not sure what it is about my brain but that kind of learning doesn't work for me. I prefer to see and do it. Depending on the time of the day, my first impulse is to text my friend Erin. She's like my Siri for knitting. Most of the time, I'm just commenting that I don't know something because I do know how to solve my own problem; YouTube! I can't recall the last time I didn't know how to do something and couldn't find the answer on YouTube. There are plenty of knitters out there with YouTube channels that have taught me how to do what I'm looking to learn. My husband has fixed our dishwasher, central air unit and even some car repairs by watching YouTube videos.

It's no secret that YouTube has changed the way my 13 year old twins watch tv. This is where they have learned about new video games and one of my sons even taught himself how to play the mandolin a few years ago (yes, I have a child who plays the mandolin and now he plays in his school's fiddle club). I have a somewhat structured technology rule for the summer. They are not to play video games between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. They CAN use technology if they are making or creating something. Some days, they've had a hard time filling that 8-11:00 chunk of time. So, they started cooking. We've had more cookies baked this summer than I think I've ever made in their 13 years of existence. One child made a complicated ice cream pop dessert for the 4th of July. They have since expanded their skills to include Asian inspired appetizer type dishes or DimSum that they have seen made on YouTube. Some of the dishes have turned into more of Pinterest fails in appearance but everything has been very tasty. They are starting to use words like, mince, to describe exactly how they would like something chopped. I'm finding that I need to go grocery shopping multiple times a week to keep them stocked with whatever they need.

YouTube provides our students a wealth of knowledge to learn whatever they need to do. YouTube can be an outlet for an authentic audience and be a place to share as well as learn. Learners need to feel empowered and have the skills to be self-directed to pursue their passions. This is where the teacher comes in. As teachers, I believe we need to encourage this curiosity and teach responsible use of this resource.

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