Empowering Students

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I live this stuff, preach this stuff and yet when I see it happen I can’t help but smile and think just how incredible it all really is. Sometimes, like Thursday in class, a student will say something, or will make a comment that just brings it all in and makes it real.

“I can’t believe I really have something on YouTube!”

We work on an A B schedule so last week I only got to see my 7th graders two days. On Tuesday, as they were working on their videos, I stopped them and we talked about the stats that I posted about YouTube on the teachlearning blog Thursday.

* In a single month the number of videos on the site grew 20% to 6.1 million
* YouTube has some 45 terabytes of videos
* Video views reached 1.73 billion
* 70% of YouTube’s registered users are American, roughly 50% are under 20
* The total time people spent watching YouTube since it started last year is 9,305 years

We talked about what these numbers meant and that they were producing something that could potentially be seen by millions of people. I then read them the comments that Clarence and David left on my last posting about the videos and more than anything that was what really caught them off guard.

“You mean people are waiting for us to finish this?”
“Canada? I’m from Canada!”

As I looked around the room there was all of a sudden this sense of ‘he’s not joking’. One student completely deleted his work and started over proclaiming, “This isn’t good enough.” I had another student go home that night do more research and then come back Thursday with a 4 page report on the history of Google. We had to have a talk as YouTube videos must be under 10 minutes, and as he recorded his voice we decided that talking faster wasn’t a good solution to fitting all his information in a 10 minute slide. Another student that was finished came over and helped him edit his work decided to cut the years 2001, 2003 out completely and chopping some paragraphs here and there. He didn’t finish his on Thursday so it will be uploaded to the account on Monday. My teaching partner has his students uploading their videos on Friday so you might want to stop by and check those out as well.

These technologies empower students to do good work. As I wrote on Thursday. They become contributors to society and they understand that and live up to that potential. Empower students with information and what them go!

[tags]21st Century Learning[/tags]

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. The power of the almighty comment from “elsewhere.” I know exactly the experience that you had. We went through this is my class last year. It is very empowering as a teacher to watch this response and realize the power that this medium can have with our students.

    Excellent post.

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