On June 15th, 2010, President Obama addressed the nation about the oil spill in the gulf. Following the address, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered questions submitted by thousands of people worldwide who used the free website Google Moderator. To date on the page, “Gulf Coast Oil Leak: What Are Your Suggestions?” 15,835 people have submitted 7,468 suggestions and cast 106,190 votes.

Gulf Coast Oil Leak: What Are Your Suggestions? - Google Moderator

I’ve used Google Moderator in face-to-face workshops, videoconferences, and online webinars with good results. It’s free, and very similar to the commercial service UserVoice which ISTE used this year to solicit input for keynotes this week in Denver.

See my April 2010 post, “Discussing Digital Literacy with the New Literacies Collaborative at NC State” and podcast recording for a recent personal example of using Google Moderator in a professional development setting.

If Google Moderator is “good enough” for the White House to use for a national Q&A forum on the gulf oil spill, it certainly should pass muster as a classroom communication tool. Give Google Moderator a try this year! There’s no better way to help students understand the possibilities presented by crowdsourcing than by using a tool like Google Moderator together for a meaningful purpose!

As of June 25, 2010, press staff for President Obama had uploaded 1,151 videos to the official White House YouTube channel. We have never had as many opportunities to hear directly from our President and Commander and Chief as we do today, thanks to social media and the way the Obama administration continues to embrace it. It’s remarkable to contrast those uses of social media with the ways many of our school leaders continue to avoid the topic altogether, and seemingly pretend like communication platforms like YouTube are irrelevant to learning in the 21st Century.

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4 Responses to If Google Moderator and YouTube are good enough for the White House, what about your classroom?

  1. My answer to your question is that too many pub sch districts still listen only to the following people, and in this order: 1. The district lawyers, who warn that someone might sue the district over “objectionable material”, and; 2. The staff bean counters who warn about the added expense of needing to spend more money for larger bandwidth. In most cases so far these two groups trump any arguments that classroom teachers provide.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Brett: You make a strong case for why out district leaders need vision for digital learning.

  3. Kevin Duffy says:

    I think that your right, this would be a really neat thing to use in the classroom, and something that i would love to look into using. I teach technology classes, and the majority of my students are there because technology is what interests them. I also have my students play a large role in the planning of the activities that we will be doing. Being able to aggregate the information in one place for future lessons would be just one of many ways that I think something like this would be usable in my classroom! Thanks again for the great read!

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