We all know the power of YouTube. It is becoming part of our daily lives and conversation. Only seven years old (can you believe that?), right now, according to YouTube, one hour of video is uploaded every second, leading to over 4 billion (that is billion) YouTube videos viewed per day. And what about this crazy stat? “More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.”
There is no denying the fact that YouTube is now the human world viewed through user-created video. I often wonder what will happen 400 years from now when future historians study what life was like in 2012. They might chuckle at Charlie biting his brother’s finger, cats on toilets, and Justin Bieber. They might also be amazed that #Kony2012 got only 100 million views in a week. But the fact remains: YouTube IS literally another world, both what is good about humanity and also what is bad about it.
Which leads me to this: YouTube can also be a child’s best classroom. It can be the place to inspire learning, foster curiosity, and challenge young learners to think for themselves and be proactive about their learning.
Take the case of my son. 9 years old, going on 10. Loves sports and video games. As a typical papi who has been in education for the last 21 years (one of the problems of being in the education space, you know too much about what is going on with learning and research), I get concerned when my son would rather play Wii than read a book. He does really well in school, but unlike my oldest daughter, who treats school like an entrepreneur treats a business plan (with 100% commitment and passion), my son “just gets by” yet still does fantastically on his report card.
But now he is a YouTube freak (with parental controls, of course). And he has become a better learner and a better thinker because of it.
In the last two months, my son’s Wii fixation has dropped significantly and I have to thank YouTube for this. This is the video that started it all (after my son entered “card tricks magic” in the YouTube search bar):
Now not a day goes by where my son does not go to YouTube, learn about a magic trick, practice it, and then impress his parents. And he has gotten quite good, so much so that last week he amazed my in-laws, who couldn’t believe how cool a magician he has become.
Thank you, YouTube. Now if you can just delete that annoying “Friday” song, all would be cool.
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