I recorded a few thoughts to video last night about two of the “elephants in the room” in discussions concerning educational reform in the United States: poverty and what constitutes an “adequate” education.

I posted the recorded video to YouTube this morning from the Dallas/Love Field airport. Interestingly, before I even posted this to my blog (now about 5 hours later) someone found the video and commented on it, I assume because he was either searching for one of the keywords I tagged the video with on YouTube or it showed up on a “recent additions” list on YouTube and caught his attention.

There is an article about YouTube in the October 15, 2006 issue of American Way magazine titled “Everybody’s Watching.” It begins by telling the story of the viral video “Bus Uncle.” This is a link to a version with English and Mandarin subtitles. According to the article:

As of this writing, nearly four million people worldwide have watched the “Bus Uncle” video on YouTube. What began as a simple, weird altercation on a Hong Kong bus has turned into a worldwide phenomenon. And all because of a small company in an office above a pizza parlor in San Mateo, California.

I was not aware of what YouTube’s policy was on “adult-oriented” videos– the article reports that those are “edited out” by YouTube employees (which now number about 60 according to the article.) I am glad to learn this. Despite that fact, my perception is that all U.S. K-12 schools have blacklisted YouTube on their school networks, so content posted there is effectively inaccessible by teachers and students.

According to WikiPedia’s entry for “viral video:”

The term viral video refers to video clip content which gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or IM messages, blogs and other media sharing websites. Viral videos are often humorous in nature and may range from televised comedy sketches such as Saturday Night Live’s Lazy Sunday to unintentionally released amateur video clips like Star Wars kid.

The proliferation of camera phones means that many videos shot these days are shot by consumers on these devices. The availability of cheap video editing and publishing tools, such as FORscene, allows video shot on mobile phones to be edited and distributed virally both on the web by email and between phones by Bluetooth. These consumer shot videos are typically non-commercial videos intended for viewing by friends or family.

I have not experimented with or explored YouTube much in the past, but Alan Levine’s keynote for K-12 Online really got my attention. An amazing amount of power is now at the fingertips of each and every Internet and camera/video cell phone user, and the full significance of this fact has barely begun to sink into our collective consciousness.

We live in the “Publish at Will” era. Gutenberg must be rolling over in his grave.

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Made with Love in Oklahoma City