During my library lessons this week, to begin the new Year 7 comedy unit, I have been showing the classes clips from YouTube that relate to Library Humour. What surprised me the most during this activity was the difference in reactions to various types of humour. Mr. Bean was of course as popular as always and there were a couple of giggles at other similar skits but the one that received the most laughter was actually a segment of the clip below by a prankster called Justin Stuart, who essentially just loudly ate things in the library. It amazed me that this was what students were relating to the most, simple pranks played on unsuspecting people with very low production quality and it highlighted to me how YouTube itself has changed many of the ways we look at and react to life.
According to an article in ‘The Telegraph’ by Dui and Ritchie in 2015, YouTube is now the world’s third most visited website after Google and Facebook. The ability of almost anyone to upload anything for free and then the possibility that that video can potentially reach billions of viewers is quite mind blowing. Celebrities like Justin Bieber and Zoella became famous through posting videos on YouTube as did our much-beloved library Grumpy Cat, who actually earned more money than Gwyneth Paltrow last year. In 2014 the Observer published a fantastic article about the ‘9 ways YouTube Changed Everything’, which is definitely worth a read, highlighting the various benefits YouTube has created which ranged from water cooler conversation to saving the music industry. When looking at these advantages it is also a great opportunity to think about some of the issues that YouTube highlights. This is a fantastic platform to surround discussions with students about the importance of copyright and oversharing on the internet. Kim Kardashian is currently an unfortunate example of the dangers of easy access to social media platforms like YouTube and the ability for anyone to publish any information at any time about a person, sometimes perhaps accidentally giving away details about your life or location that you or someone else would rather not have shared.
Despite these dangers, YouTube also has the potential to be a great educational platform as anything you could imagine wanting to know or create has the possibility of being just one quick YouTube search away. Serious learning facilities, such as the Kahn Academy, also publish lessons on YouTube and I have often used TED and TED-Ed talks and animations on our library screens to complement all kinds of current topics the students are studying. The issues I have faced when using YouTube in the classroom environment have been largely with advertising flashing up midway through a video or the potential for inappropriate clips to appear in the coming up next area, even after you turn off the function. In my search, I have found two solutions for this, the website Teacher Tube where videos are uploaded that are ‘school and classroom friendly’ and a fantastic website called ‘Safe YouTube’. Here you can copy and paste the link of a YouTube clip onto the site and it will generate a webpage with just your video available to view without all the hidden extra pop-ups.
Another aspect of YouTube I love using is the option of showing book trailers, as a librarian this is a really effective way of promoting a book to students in a really engaging manner. Above I have added one of my favourite book trailers that once I had put it up on the library screens the book was rushing of the selves. Book trailers are such a large part of our school now and the Year 9 English students are all currently making a book trailer for one of their assessments. Some of these are fantastic and a great way of promoting books, reading and student work all in one activity. Since life just keeps speeding up Vines (a 6 second length video sharing platform) have recently become a very popular addition. I am still undecided on whether this is something I want to adopt in the library but after looking through The Daring Librarian’s blog posts it also has some very valuable assets which could be useful in school and library environment, short book reviews, a quick film about new acquisitions, this could be another social media format we could adopt. YouTube has so many possible uses in today’s daily life and the popularity of it is inarguable, this is where much of pop culture exists and where many of those who work and attend school visit on a frequent basis for many different needs.
Updated on 29/10/2016: Ironically Twitter has just announced it will be discontinuing the Vine function of its website. This really is a reflection of the fast-paced, ever-changing world of pop culture and a real example of how successful and unique the video sharing platform of YouTube is for having survived, improved and adapted to its consumers for all these years.
Dui, N. L., & Ritchie, M. (2015). Ten Years Ago, A Video-sharing Site Called YouTube Was Born. then, this Happened. Retrieved from http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/youtube/
Gahan, B. (2014). 9 Ways YouTube Changed Everything, In Honor of Its 9th Anniversary. Retrieved from http://observer.com/2014/05/9-ways-youtube-changed-everything-in-honor-of-its-9th-anniversary/
JStuStudios: Loud Eating in the Library!. (4mins 26secs). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPh9JZlVUK0&w=854&h=480
Random House Children’s Publishing UK: Wonder by R. J. Palacio. (1min 37sec). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgB7_KpBDss