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Evaluation of Youtube

Technological evolution has brought numerous contributions in shaping this modern world. The resent advancements in technology has made it possible to share pictures and videos from all around the world. YouTube has been regarded as the largest worldwide video sharing community. It is a Web 2.0 tool which is absolutely free. YouTube was founded in February 2005, its essential feature is that it has billions of people who watch, discover and share originally created videos.

This tool becomes handy when its videos are used as teaching aids. As a student I find YouTube very much enriched with numerous Educational features. I believe that these features have helped me understand various mechanisms which would be difficult to pictures and follow in the bulky notes provide in text books.

Various scientific studies have proven that information which is provided in the form of animation (videos) tend to have a longer life in our memory system in comparison to the written text or verbal explanations. Thus, in order to understand a lesson content and remember it for a longer period, teachers must use visual aids uploaded in YouTube.

Some Educationally Equitable Features of YouTube Are;

1. Easy To Use

Any person can gain access to videos on YouTube regardless of having an account. Hence, this makes it very easy for the students to view videos. To upload or to comment on a particular video then only an account is required. To sing up for an account is very simple.  Creating a YouTube account can be done as follows.

2. Video Playback

Another feature that i find interesting is video playback. This feature not only helps the students but the teachers as well in the teaching and learning process. For example, if a student wants to re-look at a particular concept then he/she can always go back to see. To go back and see the concept does not require the user to reload the video again. For teacher purposes I think that teachers can show the video repeatedly to allow the students to grasp the concept taught in the video.

3. Sharing Videos

There are many social network on which YouTube videos can be shared. To upload the video on each of the social network individually can be time consuming. To share your video all at once auto share can be setup on your YouTube account, your uploads, favorites, and ratings will automatically post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google Reader account. The screen shot below shows how to setup  a auto share button on YouTube.

4. Uploads By Phones And Computers

Videos can now be uploaded from iPhone. Videos can be uploaded directly from this device. This feature I feel is very helpful to teachers as they can update their work as soon as they have recorded it. The videos are also very easy to be uploaded from the computer. The video below shows how to upload a video from computer to you tube.

5. Skipping To Specific Time 

This features allows both the teachers and students to skip the parts of the video which they do not want to see. This feature also helps in saving time to do class work. The teachers can only show the relevant parts and the students can skip parts that they understand or for example, if the video is on the whole class experiment and the students want to see the results only they can skip part to do so.

6. Big Uploads

The students and teachers especially are at an advantage now since YouTube can cater for videos which are up to 2GB. This allows for high quality video uploads. That means that even your professionally produced video can still look good on the small screen.

Advantages and Disadvantages

An advantage that I have seen using YouTube is that it helps that students to learn better by enabling them to share their knowledge and look at visuals. The Web 2.0 tools helps the teachers a lot in their daily teaching. For example, an experiment was conducted in class and the students did not come to the expected results due to some experimental error. The teacher can link a video of the same experiment done by some other person who has successfully achieved the results. This will enhance students understanding of the concept better. A disadvantage can be students may try to abuse the site by uploading some inappropriate videos like racist videos, violent videos and other abusive videos. Some of them may make and upload videos that may sexually harass a student or teacher.

Conclusion

In conclusion it can be said that, YouTube has a lot of feature that makes it easy to use and as mentioned earlier these features include; easy to use website, video playback, sharing of videos on other social websites, ability to upload videos from mobile device, skip videos to specific time intervals and allowing large data files that improves the video quality. YouTube also has advantages and disadvantages and I believe if used educationally this is one of the best, easiest and the most effective Web tool to be used in the teaching and learning process.

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Evaluation of Skype


Skype is the worldwide tool used to provide services for many people through online communication, it allows users to speak, see one another and type chat messages using smileys. More than 30 million people use Skype. It is a peer-to-peer system and makes use of background processing on computers running Skype software. Skype is the most influential tool used in the education system and through this tool, students benefit a lot as they get to learn more things or concepts everyday. Skype is not only used for educational purpose but for other purpose as well like socializing with family and friends.

Features of  Skype

Skype has numerous features that make is it a popular communication web tool. In my experience with Skype, some of the features that contribute towards Skype being as essential Educational tool are;

1. Video calling

Skype provides free video calling which makes it easy for the students as well as the educators to be together, even when they’re not. Group video can also be done to make students work easier and faster. Through this teachers are able to carry out their lesson from anywhere in the world via Skype.

2. Cell phones and mobile

This enables the educators to call students  on their phones at the best rates from 1.9c/min or even cheaper with a subscription whenever they are facing any difficulties in their studies. Skype covers the worldwide telecommunication network thus it is easier to call with anywhere with your Skype account.

Skype calls are free from Skype to Skype, cheaper than buying a telephone (saves phone bills) which is a great help for students using Skype to get the concepts of their studies they don’t understand from their friends or other people. Skype is also downloadable and has free software which can be useful in student’s education, getting them to learn more.

3. Instant messaging

Enables the students to type and chat whenever needed, quick question or a friendly catch up if students want to urgently ask any questions. In these chat messages, students are able to send links and thus are able to share their research work together with their different views and ideas. This tool also comes in handy while doing group assignments especially during school short breaks. This enables students to connect and interact despite being outside school.

4. Screen Sharing

At times expressing and describing your content in the tab tab accessed by you to a friend via chat can be difficult frustrating. Skype proves the best solution to such problems and this is termed as “screen sharing”. This basically enables users to allow their chat Buddie to view his/her screen. This with the help of voice conversation and cursor movement, it becomes easier to resolve or understand the matter or steps.

Conclusion

Skype is a very beneficial tool used especially in the education system for one to succeed in life. Even though, it is costly to some extent but its later beneficial to the students in doing their assignments and for further studies. This enables one to communicate to each other whenever need be, especially when the students are in doubt of something or for group discussion.

Some limitations of using Skype in the educational system are;

  • If the internet connection is weak then users are unable to carryout video calls. The voice maybe slightly jaggy or may have delays in transmission which the students find difficultly in communicating to each other and discussing their work.
  • Computer needs to be turned on and the software has to run, in order to enable you to receive your calls. Being offline prevents you from making and receiving calls. When you are called on Skype while being offline, the service does record messages unless you subscribe to the voice mail feature.Thus many at a times when students try to approach their teacher or colleagues, due to them being offline its becomes impossible to communicate.
  • Only the Skype-Skype calls are free. Thus it become costly to carryout discussions with students who do not have internet access and are contacted via Skype-mobile calls.
Moreover, it can be said that in the modern teaching and learning environment, Skype plays the role of an essential tool since it serves in numerous ways that can help make teaching and learning fun, exciting and less stressful.

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Evaluation of Twitter

Among the numerous social networks, Twitter is one of the most popular information networking tool which connects people from all around the world. It keeps them updated with the latest information in their areas of interest. Twitter is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. These language preferences can be changed with few clicks to suit users from all around the world, enabling everyone to enjoy the enriched features of twitter.This  Web 2.0 tool can used as an online technological tool to break down the rigid classroom schedule barriers and promote student-to-teacher interaction. It provers a cheap and easy way for teacher to keep in touch with their students as well as other teacher from all around the world.

Some features of Twitter;

Posting a Tweet

When  signing in your Twitter account, the question “what is happening?” appears on your home page. When this question is answered it becomes your twitter update or most commonly known as “Tweet”.  Through tweets, students are able to post questions and their followers would respond. Thus they are able to get a worldwide view on their doubts. The teaching and learning process is being taken outside the formal learning system via cyber networking. This informal learning helps increase and promote student-teacher interaction. It has been seen that most students find internet as an easier and less hectic way of approaching their lectures/teachers. Socializing sites such as twitter also helps sweeten student-student as well as student-teacher relationships. In the classrooms, student and teachers are bounded by strict rules, regulations and in some cases traditional barriers thus their interaction is hindered. Communication via this informal mean helps erase these unnecessary barriers and make teaching and learning fun and exciting. The most interesting feature of Twitter is that it enables users to do Tweets via SMS. For this feature, users have to make few clicks and get their phone registered under their Twitter account. Thus it is not necessary for users to have a PC in order to make Tweets. These learners and educators are still able to utilize Twitter as an educational tool despite being out of reach with their computers.

Sharing Pictures & Videos

Though twitter does not have the features to upload pictures and videos in your twitter updates, it permits this via a third-party website. Thus, pictures must be first uploaded into site such as;

While videos can be first uploaded into sites such as;

Most of the above mentioned sites enable the users to directly upload their video and pictures into their Twitter accounts while in other users need to upload pictures in that particular site and then post its link as a tweet. An advantage of this is that Twitter will provide a quick and easy link to all video and pictures uploaded by the user on all the different third-party sites. Moreover, when educators and students come across some educational videos on sites like YouTube, with the help of the Twitter“like button”, they are able to share this on their Twitter page. Hence their followers are able to gain access to it as well. Thus it can be said that these sharing of pictures and videos triggers the exchange of knowledge, views and experiences of different people and connects them together into threads which develops the Teaching-Learning web.

Linking Blogs and websites

Blogs such as WordPress for example, can be linked to your twitter account. The blogs can be provided with your profile information on twitter. If other blogs are linked to they twitter user can provide their blog address on their profile. The red rectangle in the screen shot below shows how the blog link is shown on a twitter profile page.


Websites can also be linked through tweets on on twitter. The URL of a particular website can be copied and then twittered. Sometimes some of the websites provide with options to link the important information links. An example of link sharing on twitter from YouTube is shown in the  screen shot below.

Creating Lists and Scheduling Tweets

Lits are Twitter’s way of creating groups of similar people. If you create a list, you can add anyone you like to. Pupils, students, teachers can create collaborative and private groups, with notes visible only for those who are in groups.

Scheduling tweets allows to have content tweeting from your account while you’re out enjoying the sunny patio of the local coffee shop, spending time with family because you can’t be tweeting 24/7, but neither can you tweet once per day and hope to make a big impact. In order to balance the need to tweet often with the need to eat and sleep, you’ll want to pre-write some tweets and schedule them to go live throughout the day.

Following on Twitter

“Who to follow” is another feature link at the top of the Twitter website. The “View Suggestions” tab shows Twitter accounts that you might like to follow based on who you follow and other variables, the next tab is, “Browse Interests,” where you can discover new accounts to follow. Account recommendations are grouped into over 20 categories. The third tab leads you back to the find your friends feature you saw when you first signed up pulling from your address books in Gmail, Yahoomail, Hotmail etc, leading to people to follow. Therefore you can search and invite friends and add to your groups and get in touch with them for the latest updates. This makes it easier to find friends and keep track of their recent post and updates.

Advantages of Twitter as an educational tool

Twittering in class or outside helps students to explore their collaborative writing. It promotes writing as a fun activity and helps develop editing skills, develops literacy skills and gives students a chance to record their cognitive trails and then use them to reflect on their work. Twitter associated to a course/class blog can offer students’ opportunities to discuss different kinds of online discourse, considering voice, purpose, audience, to organize ideas, reflect, send notes, manage meet-ups, promote unforeseen discovery etc. It also promotes coöperation across schools, countries (for example, students can leave phone-tweets as they come across real-world examples of what they are studying in class).

In this modern teaching practice, higher education is relying more on technology to send and receive important information to and from students. Twitter can be used targeted my Educators to be used as a means of delivering these messages and transforming this socializing site into a Educational assets.

Teachers can use Twitter as  the platform to send reminders to students about assignments, tests, etc. Users can set a Twitter client to alert them when there is an update. This ensures that messages get to them without keeping an email contact list or having to remind each student individually. Everyone who follows the teacher will get his/her message.

Some other pedagogical applications of Twitter are that it is used for the spread of teachers’ publications and materials, locating original sources of ideas, quotes, allows for very focused and concrete feedback to students to refine their thinking and improve their skills, encourage professional connections, informal research, for storytelling, class chatter, get feedback on ideas, programs, make appointments, event updates, and live coverage of events.

Twitter initiates activities such as sentence making with new words. Students can build English vocabulary by posting new words (chosen themselves or assigned by the teacher) with an example. If there is room on the post, they can post the definition of the word, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms as well. This can been done daily or weekly, and the teacher (or students) could create a vocabulary quiz based on everyone’s posts.

Furthermore, students can learn usage by tracking words. Twitter has a function called “tracking” which allows users to search a word in usages. Tracking a word brings up a variety of different ways in which a particular word is used. Students can report their findings as an assignment, first on Twitter so that they can share with classmates.

Also through twitter students get to know each other for example, for a new class in which students do not know each other yet, students can be assigned on Twitter key-pals. They can use the medium to get to know each other and perhaps introduce themselves to classmates, in oral or written form.

Twitter also promotes student-initiated learning activities, whereby teachers can foster learning by encouraging students to feel free to write whatever they want: ask and thank each other for help or advice, write about something they did, saw, read, or have an interest in, teacher can do discussions on topics that interest them and provide information that they might feel be helpful and interesting to them. While there are advantages of twitter in an education there are also some disadvantages of twitter an as educational tool.

Disadvantages of Twitter as an educational tool

Firstly, the twittering going on in a lesson sometimes can be too distracting (or at least too distracting for some students, like someone with autism, attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.).Twitter is also a time-consuming task that is it could be ‘rude’ (lack of the courtesy of students) students tend not to listen to what the teacher or lecturer is saying, but start twittering to their friends.

Secondly, the message sent by the teacher or student will only be picked up by the people only in the network/ group. Twitter could be addictive (sometimes) no social / educational value. That is students are unable to sit still for more than one second without using the internet, Facebook or other applications thus students tend to lack their attention towards their school work/ updates given by the teacher.

Finally, students can intrude into teacher’s private life because they are being ‘on-call’ almost 24-7 and in schools it also allows much faster spreading of rumors. Twitter also leads to bad grammar skills as it only has 140 characters (including spaces). Therefore students tend to use short forms, contractions and sometimes could not write full sentences thus leading to misunderstanding thereby lack of response from teachers and as well as other students. Thus, leads to students lack of learning.

Conclusion
Twitter not only provides a good, alternative medium through which to improve students ‘written communication skills, but also provides their analytical, collaborative, and social networking skills. Modern education can easily collaborate web2.o tool such as twitter in its teaching and learning process but the question then arises that will this modification be reachable to the remote area of the world especially places where internet exposure is feared and limited. Will the integration of such tool in the teaching and learning process help student of all cultural, economical and social background? I believe human evolution had occurred billions of years ago and its rate has been reduced but technological evolution is growing rapidly and it is believed that this evolution is never stopping. It has the capabilities to break the barriers of tradition as well as the traditional teaching methods. In order to be on track with this high speed change and for the betterment of the upcoming generations, the Education system should join forces with modern Technology. The use of social networking sites (i.e. Twitter etc) as teaching tool can be crucial step in Integrating Technology  in Teaching and Leaning.

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment