I've been part of a small team helping Andrew Robinson develop a Youtube channel and videos that assist him in the teaching of shoe making in the footwear studio of the Fashion School at RMIT.
The aim is to provide video-based instructions on the use of studio tools so that more students can learn at a time and pace that better suits them. Andrew will continue to give formal instructions as well as observe class use. These videos are to augment that activity.
The few videos that are so far public on Andrew's channel are examples of our exploration of the techniques and limitations of recording with a phone and editing the footage with the Youtube editor. We're trying to get Andrew as self sufficient as possible, using readily available technology, within the time available, ideally so he can keep developing the techniques from now on, and help others in his school.
So far the work has developed two main approaches:
- QR codes to playlists
- Refining Youtube data
|Andrew with the Maurser Spezial machine |
and a QR code that links to a Youtube playlist
QR codes to playlists
We're using Google's URL shortener service to generate QR codes for Youtube playlists for each machine and tool in the footwear studio. Google URL shortener is a quick way to get QR codes, and gives us a basic amount of usage data to review. The QR codes are stuck on the machine or in the work area with text alongside to indicate what the code is for, such as "How to use the Mauser". When the code is scanned with a phone a Youtube playlist loads, listing a range of instructional videos to choose from. Linking to a playlist gives us the flexibility of adding and changing videos without having to update the QR code or lose the usage statistics.
Refining Youtube data
The other part of the project has been to pay attention to the sorts of data that impacts on how the videos are displayed in Youtube. For example, we're observing how the titles, descriptions, tags and closed captions of a video or a playlist impact on the sorts of other videos that Youtube recommends and associates along side. We're finding that these recommendations are made more relevant and useful if care is taken with the meta data, especially the closed captions. Longer term we're interested to find out what happens when students subscribe and interact with staff channels. We expect such interaction will have a rapidly useful impact on the usefulness of Youtube to student's networked learning.
This approach to using Youtube to try and establish a School wide learning networke is lead by some of our thinking described in Can we teach the machine to teach, where we are keen to find out if there are things we can do - activities we can undertake, that all together improves the usefulness of Youtube to the user - both teacher and learner.
We're planning to evaluate this project through the extensive usage statistics that Youtube records, as well as trying to record and observe the impact that that usage has on the gradual establishment of a Youtube learning network in the school. This network will take some time to develop, as it will require a wider adoption of Youtube by staff and students in the school, and a relatively sophisticated use and understanding - akin to how people use and understand Facebook (viewing, subscribing, liking, commenting, creating). Our hope is that we will be able to establish an informal and formal learning network in Youtube, and start discussing and developing activities that enhance the usefulness of that network for people's research, learning and longer term professional learning.