I had a big surprise today during our Celebrate Oklahoma Voices “partner’s workshop.” For fun and to make some serious points, to kick off our discussion of copyright and intellectual property issues as they relate to digital storytelling I started to show a YouTube version of the 1992 video “Don’t Copy That Floppy.” This was supposed to be just a fun, short introduction to copyright and a juxtaposition of a 16 year old video on copyright issues with the more current Creative Commons video “Get Creative.” It turned out to be more of a “teachable moment” than I’d anticipated.
At minute mark 1:15 of this 9:42 video, video annotation text started to appear on the full-screen video I was playing on a Smartboard, which included some words and phrases I certainly didn’t expect to show our audience of teachers and administrators.
Video Annotations are a new way for you to add interactive commentary to your videos! Use them to:
- Add background information about the video
- Create stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene)
- Link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video
Video annotations certainly can be a great way to have conversations in and around videos, but they also can (as this example demonstrates) be used disruptively and inappropriately. Perhaps the Google-employed authors of this YouTube “help page” could also add the following uses of video annotations to their posted list:
- Surprise and embarrass teachers who may be showing a YouTube video to students and others in schools.
- Further guarantee that school officials won’t let the YouTube website be unblocked for student use (and in many schools, for teacher use either) since the appearance of such video annotations is wholly unpredictable and likely disruptive for the educative potential of the video being shown.
My advice to educators when it comes to sharing YouTube videos with either students or peers (which I will certainly follow myself in the future) is the following:
- When possible, use one of multiple available methods to download the video “offline” to your hard drive or a flash drive, so you can play it reliably and WITHOUT video annotations.
- If time or other factors prevent you from being able to download the video offline, be sure to follow the YouTube tutorial instructions and turn off video annotations for the SPECIFIC video you are showing, BEFORE you play it for an audience.
According to the YouTube “about” page for video annotations:
Video annotations, once published, are shown by default. You can turn them off while watching a video through the “Menu” button on the bottom right of the video player.
Unfortunately it appears video annotations cannot be turned off globally for all YouTube videos you watch when you are logged in with a YouTube account. According to some users posting in the YouTube support forum, turning off annotations is even temporary for the video you’ve selected and for which you’ve turned off annotations. This IS irritating, problematic, and unnecessary.
My suggestion to the YouTube development team at Google (if you’re listening / reading) is to PLEASE provide an option (preferably as an account setting) to permanently turn off video annotations for ALL videos. I know surprises like the one I had today are an inherent part of accessing and using user-created content. Still, I think it would be sensible as well as beneficial (especially for educators striving to convince others of the potential value of video sharing sites like YouTube for students in schools) to provide a video annotation opt-out option.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- Don't Get Tricked Online - A Media Literacy Lesson - 2019
- Amazed by Edgar's Design Creativity in Minecraft - 2014
- Photographic Highlights and Mapping Media Learning from NW Illinois - 2013
- Innovative Learning Institute in Norman: Nov 6, 2012 - 2012
- Digital Magazines: Text Plus Multimedia - 2011
- When Parents Don't Want Student Email - 2011
- Mirroring an iPad with iOS 5 & Apple TV - 2011
- Platforms for Interactively Sharing Student Work - 2010
- AudioBoo provides a great opportunity to record and share holiday memories - 2010
- The Research on Teaching Animation Design Art by Yang Huansong - 2009