Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch article “All The Cool Kids Are Deep Tagging” discusses how “deep tagging” video content posted online can help others locate content of interest faster than search engine algorithms:

Figuring out how to search the meta data around rich content (tags and lots of other descriptive data) is big business. Truveo, a video search startup that launched in 2005 and was subsequently acquired by AOL for at least $50 million, helped solve this problem (but still falls woefully short of perfect). A new unlaunched startup, CastTV, takes rich media searching another few steps forward (much more on them in a later post). But even these new search companies can’t find all of the content in a video or audio file, and certainly can’t take you right to where that content is presented.

That’s why I like the idea of deep tagging. It requires human labor but for many publishers it’s worth it. Instead of simply being associated with a file, a deep tag is associated with a clip from the file. Click on the tag and jump right to that part of the clip.

UnitedStreaming is the best commercial solution available that I know about which provides indexed links to educationally valuable online video, but subscription costs can be expensive. A wealth of free online videos are now available (which I have tagged “webvideo” in del.icio.us) but since these are uploaded by users, a lot of the content is not “educationally appropriate.” This poses a dilemma in instructional technology, where the portion of “objectionable” content is causing schools to block entire sites which DO include educationally viable videos. (See my post “Lots of Orca Videos!” for examples.)

There is a lot of interest on the part of teachers and students for portal sites that index free educational videos. Tagging and “deep tagging” look like the most viable strategies for indexing this type of content. It would be good to see an educational portal that indexes these– but the problem would still remain of entire domains (like youtube.com) being blocked by school district content filters. What is the solution to this dilemma? At some point, I think schools need to provide environments of greater digital autonomy for students (which most of them have when online at home) and help students learn to make good choices in that environment. I am reminded of the movie “Dead Poet’s Society,” which I watched again with my wife last night. The movie is great and raises a lot of issues, but one is whether or not schools and parents are helping students develop independent capacities for moral judgement, decisionmaking and problem solving. Too often, I fear, schools and school leaders take the easier path of making as many decisions for young people as they can, and trying to prevent “teachable moments” from ever taking place where young people can learn valuable life lessons. In the extreme when that happens, as shown in the movie, the results can be catastrophic. I continue to maintain that we EXPECT teenagers and young people to make mistakes and bad decisions, but as adults we should strive to provide environments and systems of accountability which allow us to be around and intervene, and influence young people when they mess up. If schools just block all these web-based video sites for ALL students (through 12th grade) I am not sure teachers and administrators at school can effectively help students learn to effectively and ethically leverage the powerful digital content contained and linked from those sites.

I found this original article via Glen Bull’s del.icio.us links, which are included in my own del.icio.us network. 🙂

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