Recently I read an interesting article by David Raths for Campus Technology on-line magazine "When YouTube Isn't Enough To Manage Your Campus Video Content". In the article Raths writes about two groups of New York State higher education institutions that have "outgrown YouTube" and that they "desperately need a video platform that can scale to large numbers of people across many locations; stream to many types of devices; allow faculty to create and manage their own video libraries; and share content across multiple schools". The use a combination of cloud computing and platforms like Ensemble. This got me thinking - could YouTube do a better job?
|Image source: Tube Geeks.|
YouTube is, as we know, great for short videos that anybody can produce with even the most basic software and hardware. It's value as an educational tool in unquestioned in my view - learners of all ages quite often go straight to YouTube to find out how to do stuff. My personal experience with YouTube tells me that students want it, educators need it, YouTube itself wants to be in this space. Many educators like me add content to YouTube to help their own students, and of course refer to the vast library of content that is available on YouTube. My sense is, however, that YouTube is not quite at the races (yet).
If you go to YouTube EDU Channels now there are only three (high level) channels listed: Primary & Secondary Education, University, and Life-long Learning. Even in the Life-Long Learning section there are only a few channels featured - this used to be over 100, and included my channel as well as other channels with varied content from learning languages to learning how to play the drums. I'm sure these are all located somewhere else, but I can't find them (except by searching). A few years ago it was clear that YouTube wanted to push into more education activities - this is still happening, but for me there is something missing. While the University section in YouTube EDU is quite good, my sense is that it is difficult to organise educational videos that have value into a structure that works for everyone. I could be wrong, but instead of expanding, YouTube have contracted. The videos are still there - they seem harder to find.
There is an opportunity for YouTube to create what I call a "Wall of Learning". Picture a wall made out of bricks, with each brick being a category or subject. This would be a very big wall. The "Wall" is big enough to cover all learning activities - no matter what they are. Content developers could post learning materials to each "brick" where it can be shared and rated. Where there are blank "bricks", ie no content yet - content developers can take a look and decide "I'll create a video for that". Even if there are multiple content developers for popular subjects, learners can choose which one to watch by number of views and ratings. It might take years, but eventually there could be a full Wall of Learning with YouTube the choice of location for all learners to find the content they need. Are you listening YouTube/Google?