Posts Tagged ‘youtube’

The Problem with Overexposure

February 28, 2008

The problem with exposure is overexposure. How can teachers create safe spaces for children? For that matter how can parents? The internet is a Pandora’s Box, alluring, mysterious and enlightening. Is the incidence of occasionally unfiltered audio of video a threat to internet use in elementary schools? angelDo the benefits of internet use outweigh the pitfalls? Several posts ago I commented on the surprising use of youtube by young students. I didn’t teach them about it nor have I even even mentioned it because I don’t feel it is a safe place for unaccompanied minors. Our county has excellent filters and they certainly seems to be 99% effective in eliminating unwanted material but the filters can fail and students can run the risk of overexposure. Take Google images, regardless of the setting an search on any term may result in image overexposure! It happened to me one time when I was searching for computers. Mixed among the computers was a random photo labeled computer but without any computer in view.

Media Specialists have grappled with questionable content since the dawn of libraries. Parents dissaporve of some books for religious, political or content about the human anatomy. Some illustrations or photographs may depict strong sequences of violence. I have been on the critical end of this debate when my own children were in elementary school. In fact a middle school teacher showed the class an R-rated movie without parent consent. It was Schindler’s List. My daughter loved her teacher. I felt the woman had exercised poor judgment. I emailed the principal and let her know that perhaps the teacher was not aware of the rules concerning movies. She thanked me and handled it discreetly. No one lost their job. In fact it was a teachable moment for me and my daughter.

I recently encountered some unanticipated pitfalls using audio on the web. Think about still images, screening them is relatively simple procedure. You can see with your own eyes in short order and assess the content. With video alone, you could fast forward and scan the scenes. A different kind of problem arises when using audio. How can you and I be sure the audio content is safe without listening to every word, every second? What kind of warning do you have before it’s too late to stop the sound? What if the unexpected happens? How do you recover? What do you tell the students? I have been asking these questions of my peers and the most frequent answer is to fudge the offending word or phrase and change thlisten and learne meaning, if possible to placate any innocent listeners, but what if that isn’t possible? How can we trust the content even when it comes from a reputable source? Is what we hear online as damaging as what we hear in person? These are the questions creating cob webs in my head. Teachers have to protect their students. I think we have to consider these questions seriously. The advent of phone comments on blogs and VoiceThreads and even audio comments on websites or podcasts raise the chances that some unfiltered audio will reach the ears of innocents. Are there any guarantees save removing internet access? Let me know if you have any answers. I’m all ears!

Mogulus – Become a TV Producer

February 18, 2008

Yesterday my husband and I treated my son and his girlfriend to lunch at a well know Atlanta hotspot, The Flying Biscuit. They are both college freshman. Catherine would like to get into TV production but freshman year is all about required core courses so I suggested uStreamtv.com. It’s a great way to get experience producing your own program. It is surprising how this simple free application hasn’t made the rounds in many college scenes. In this post I will list and describe the live streaming video options available for free and how they differ.

Tech Cruch Listing of StreaTVTech Crunch just made my job easy. On the left you can see a list of options posted in on the Tech Crunch blog . The title of the post is YouCastr: Live Podcasting for Sports Fans so pleas add YouCastr to your list of options. This is theirYouCastr logo, click to link. I signed up for blog TV which has Twitter integration, easy to use and has clear user guidelines rejecting the over PG13 material which plagues the likes of JustinTV which I do not care to join or revisit. UStreamTV lets you stream audio only or both A/V and one that was not on the list but should be is the recent Yahoo entry called Yahoo Live. It is similar to uStreamtv. The only very different approach to streamingtv is Mogulus. Why? Well it allows you to create programming playlists. There is a YouTube search just above the user interface. You search and drag clips into your playlist. You can also stream live or produce a show with live and archived clips from YouTube or whatever you happen to have uploaded. I like it. The only drawback that I can see is the embed limitations. They want you to use myspace and give only one alternate script for other webpages. Of course you can just post the link to your channel but embedding is more immediate, less clicking around for your viewers. One more option left off the list is MeBeam. I discovered this in January but in its’ infancy it had a major problem, live video chat with no restrictions, not good. I did write and was not alone in my complaints to the forum. Since then the offending button has been removed and now it is ridiculously simple to create a a video conference live stream for free. No registration needed. It does not archive but sometimes you don’t need that. Of course skype can do this but MeBeam allows more than one webcam on display at a time. I think it will stream up to 8. As the number of webcam windows increases the size of the image decreases.

So you may ask, Kathy, do you have a show? Well kind of, I did post some live streams of the Florida EdTech conference from my ripplingpond channel on uStream but beware the audio will deafen you due to some initial interference. Like anything else it’s a commitment. I find text blogging a little easier to manage at the moment. When you visit uStream I think you’ll find it is the most professional of the bunch. Hey even Hannah Montana uStreamed!

Thanks to Edtech Talk they are forever exploring new forms of live webcasting and last night Jeff Lebow experimented with Yahoo Live. Thanks to Tech Crunch for highlighting YouCastr. BTW YouCastr is cool because it’s all sports. Want to be a sportscaster? A childhood dream perhaps? Now if we could get a site that was all EDUCATION then we’d really be in business. As things stand now the practicality and safety of using these tools in school, elementary anyway is limited at best.

Short Post

February 12, 2008

Several weeks ago during center time I discovered my kindergarten students had access to Youtube.  They were searching for Disney movies, cartoons and apparently a recently posted video of someone’s brother. At first I was simply shocked that our school firewall didn’t catch this since it keeps me from even accessing BubbleShare or any other file sharing site. I informed the students calmly that Youtube is not permitted in school and that they should only use it at home when they are sitting with their parents who can help guide them to make good choices. I got a lot of “why, my parents let me use it at home?” I haven’t taken a poll just yet but I have a hunch that they may not be exaggerating the extent of the freedom they have online in the home.

So I ask you.  How do you feel about free exploration of the internet by children of all ages?  Would you encourage your child to search for funny movies on Youtube?  I need a little perspective and I’m afraid that since my own children are in their late teens, I can’t fully understand the point of you of the young parent. Maybe some of you can help me in this regard.

What’s in your junk drawer?

December 27, 2007


This video runs just under an hour but the premise is revealed within the first several minutes. Are you an organizer? What kinds of systems do you use? It isn’t easy particularly for those of use who find themselves struggling with where to put the ‘good’ scissors. Personally I hide them so no one will inadvertently dull them by cutting pizza, the dog’s hair or perhaps sticky contact paper. I hide them and can’t find them when I need them. I do envy the organized individual who know exactly where to find the seldom if ever used … well how should I know? You see this is precisely why I am enjoying David Weinberger’s book, Everything is Miscellaneous! My secret is out, all of my drawers are junk drawers. Weinberger delves deep into the origins or organizational systems.

Whoa to Dewey and his out dated decimal system or what’s his name, the scientist who divided species by invertebrate and vertebrate. A very disparate separation. Each of these people were simply trying to make sense of the world by creating classification systems. So where does this all lead? Why to tagging of course! It is a wonder that tagging came along just in time to help us all create our own personalized, multifaceted classification systems using the internet. If you are very well organized then undoubtedly you will become a proficient tagger as well. While I consider so many things to be miscellaneous I also tag things a bit too indiscriminately. So if your New Year’s resolution is to become more organized… why not begin with a light hearted look at the characteristics of 21st Century organization. I wonder, can I delicious my life?