It’s a Sunday evening, and Sarah is sitting in her room with a pile of library books lying beside her and a computer open in her lap. It seems like she is busy studying for an important exam tomorrow, but instead, she is watching makeup tutorial videos on Youtube. Sound familiar? Youtube is a website where you can watch, comment, share and post billions of videos about pretty much anything. Whether it be funny cat videos, how to beat a stubborn boss in a video game, or even a video about how to change a spark plug on your car, the options are absolutely endless!
Youtube was founded February 14th, 2005 by former Paypal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. It was bought for $1.65 million by Google back in October of 2006 and was officially made a part of Google’s services the next month.
The website has grown exponentially since then and has been gaining massive amounts of attention from social media. There are currently 1.3 billion users on the site, over 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute, and 5 billion videos are viewed every single day. Several people and companies have taken this widespread attention to their advantage by paying Youtube to advertise their products, services and entertainment in the videos. With this much influence, how does it affect us? With the vast popularity of Youtube and its users, it’s no wonder students often turn to this site when they are bored or wanting to look something up. At first, that seems perfectly fine. But unfortunately, students often let Youtube distract them. Even if it’s just a few short videos, the time adds up quickly and you end up wasting several hours of what could have been very useful studying. “It’s too much of a distraction and a waste of time,” says a BWA parent. Ryan Gates, a BWA staff member, also believes YouTube can be dangerous for students. “I think YouTube is a lot like the internet as a whole,” he says. “...it takes self control and discipline to use YouTube or the internet without getting off task.”
Not only is the amount of time spent on YouTube detrimental to students’ education, but what they watch is also very important. If a student strays from homework to watch a video about a video game, then that doesn’t necessarily benefit their education; if a student strays from homework to watch a video about the water cycle, then it can be justified that they are still learning and gaining more knowledge. “I believe it can either help or hurt depending on how it is being used,” Mrs. Stephani Rasmussen, another BWA staff member, says “Youtube can be a great tool for educational purposes but it can also be a huge distraction from school.” While there are numerous cons to Youtube and how it affects childrens' education, there several benefits to this website. It can be used as an excellent tool for learning much like the Khan Academy or TED Talks. Hundreds of public school teachers are turning to Youtube for their classes, which is now known as a “flipped classroom.” As for online teachers, an easy way to use Youtube for education while preventing kids from straying is by embedding a video of their choice into the assignment page, as suggested by BEC student Ruqaiyah Damrah. “ Educational YouTube videos can simply be embedded into online education systems, like Canvas,” she points out, “so students won't have the temptation to surf around.” Many students have different learning styles than others. One kid might have a hard time learning by reading long articles, but can learn almost anything very quickly by watching videos. Youtube videos geared towards education would help this kid learn in fun and exciting ways. In conclusion, I believe that students should be allowed on YouTube only if they use it responsibly and after school hours. It's a good source of knowledge and learning and has the potential to go from good to amazing very fast! I watch YouTube often and I have benefitted from my time on there. I even aspire to become a YouTuber and commentate over playing video games that I love! Was I on it at appropriate times? Not all the time, but that's where you learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward!
Resources ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Youtube - Wikipedia Youtube: A valuable teaching tool, not just cats! - The Conversation How Youtube Is Changing The Classroom - Indiana Public Media