The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

YouTube as an educational tool.

Like many others of my generation, YouTube has become a source of entertainment. Where else can you get videos of people getting tazzered, wannabe pop singers, and cartoons? But what I really like about this source is its potential as an educational tool.

If you look hard enough and go past the fluff, there is some worthy information that can be found on YouTube. I find this a good source to look for videos to demonstrate concepts in my class on relatively short notice. For example, this actual home video of a young child is a great demonstration of conditioning. I have also found Nova footage of their show on Genie the Wild Child which I plan to show during my Developmental Psychology class this semester.

I am unsure as to what copyright laws might be in effect, but for those of us who want to give our students a free source to look at or to show in class, YouTube can be beneficial. I have even found an excuse to show scene 5 from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the witch scene for those of you who don't have the movie memorized) in my abnormal psychology class when I discussed witches. It's amazing how much of the scene is based on actual ideas. There was a theory that witches were supernaturally light and you could weigh them to test if they were a witch. What a great way (I thought) to spice up a typically boring section that (yikes!) tries to teach history to students and its application to the more interesting topic of psychological disorders. It might have been a stretch, but I think it worked.

In any case, it seems that this forum may be of use to educators, even though YouTube has been getting a bit of a bad rap because of recent events involving people posting beatings.


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