Since we returned from Christmas break I’ve been working with our 7th grade Spanish teacher to utilize the iPad app “Green Screen” by Do Ink along with a Green Screen setup for his students to record videos of short Spanish language skits they’ve written and memorized. His students have been recording different scenes and combining them with backgrounds using the Green Screen app, and saving them separately as finished clips to the iPad Photo Roll on the library iPads they checked out for this project. Now students are ready to combine their clips into final videos and turn them in to their teacher. Thursday I created the following Google Slide presentation to show how students can combine their different clips together using iMovie for iPad, and upload their videos to a special, shared “Student Projects” YouTube channel I created using the YouTube Capture app. I shared this presentation with the teacher, and he subsequently shared it with his class. In this post I’ll explain the rationale for this workflow as well as the steps involved.
Facilitating student publication of independently created YouTube videos on a single channel can be a tricky and time consuming process. In November 2015, I presented a session at the Miami Device conference titled, “App Smashing to YouTube.” I’ll be sharing a revised version of that presentation at ISTE in June 2016 in Denver. Here is a summary of several different options I’ve used and used with other teachers to facilitate student turn-in of videos and publication to YouTube. I’ll start with four publication options we are NOT using and I do NOT recommend, and explain why. I’ll close by sharing two options which can work relatively well, but still have some limitations and disadvantages that should be well understood before utilizing them.
1- Students Publish Videos to Their Own YouTube Channels
Since we are a GAFE school and students get their own Google accounts starting in 5th grade, it’s theoretically possible that our students could post their finished videos to their own school YouTube channels. There are several reasons why that’s not the best option for us right now, however. First of all, I am not aware of any of our students having and using their own school YouTube channels at this point to publish videos. Because of this, it would be time consuming to ask each of them to create and configure their own, separate YouTube channels. If they did publish to their own YouTube channels, they would be independently responsible for monitoring and managing the comments which others make on their videos. While this could be a valuable digital literacy lesson, we’re not ready to go there yet. At this point we only have a few teacher-created YouTube channels. Eventually I hope many of our teachers will have and manage their own classroom YouTube channels, but there are many steps in that journey and we’re only beginning at this point. By using a shared YouTube account for student projects, I can help manage the channel settings (making moderated commenting the default) and also managing the actual comments. In addition, using a single channel can be a simpler and less time consuming process at this point for everyone.
2- Students Turn In Videos Via Google Drive or Google Classroom
Last semester I helped one of our French teachers with a video project he assigned to his students as part of an ePals facilitated classroom digital “Pen Pals” project. He asked students to take several videos, and then turn them into him via his Google Classroom environment. The problem with this was that when iPhones upload video to Google Classroom, for some reason the identifying file suffix (like .mov or .mp4 or .m4a) is removed when the videos are saved to the cloud. The result last semester was that student videos were not directly playable within Google Classroom. The videos had to be downloaded to a local computer hard drive, and then the file extension “.mov” added to each one separately. This was a painfully time consuming process. While I love Google Classroom and several of our teachers now use it extensively with students to answer the all-important blended learning question, “How do I turn this in to my teacher?”, Google Classroom (at least for now) does a poor job handling uploaded smartphone video clips.
3- Students Invited to Manage a Shared YouTube Channel
It’s theoretically possible to invite students to “manage” a shared YouTube channel, and therefore have the ability (with their own Google logins) to upload new videos into a shared channel to “turn them in” to their teacher. One problem with this is it’s time consuming. The teacher has to separately invite via email address every student in their classes, and then each of those students have to check their email and click to confirm they accept the invitation to help manage a YouTube channel. Secondly, this is a problem because in this scenario any student would be able to change channel settings and delete any of the other videos uploaded to the channel which didn’t belong to him/her. If a single, shared Google account is used instead to upload videos to a shared channel, however, both of these problems can be avoided or minimized. A shared account can be setup in advance by IT support staff. If there is a problem with a student intentionally changing or deleting classmate photos, the password for the single, shared Google account can be readily changed thereby ending current student edit rights on the channel. This is the workflow described in options 5 and 6 below.
4- Teacher Directly Logs In on Student iPads for YouTube Upload
It is NEVER a good idea for a teacher to login with his/her personal Google account on a student device. While it’s possible to use your own Google credentials as a teacher to login on a student iPad and then upload or have them upload a video to YouTube, this is a BAD idea from a security standpoint and should be generally discouraged. Once you login with Google credentials in one app, sometimes a tablet or laptop makes that same Google account available/useable in other apps. This could potentially lead to students checking teacher email, sending email, etc. As a general rule, do NOT login with your own Google account on any student mobile computing device.
5- Students Transfer Videos To a Teacher iPad for Uploading
During the 2014-15 school year, I worked with our school librarian at Independence Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools to facilitate a student-created eBook project using iPads. In this 4.5 minute video, several of our students explained the steps in this process. After their eBook was finished, proofed, and exported as a video, they used the free iPad app “InstaShare” to transfer their videos to a teacher iPad. From there, the videos were uploaded to a shared YouTube channel.
Since some of our iPads were older iPad2’s, we couldn’t use AirDrop and had to use “InstaShare” instead. This process worked ok, but it became more of a time-load on the librarian and I as adult facilitators of the project than it should have been. When several students finished proofing and exporting their eBook projects at the same time, a queue would form as they waited to transfer their final videos to our iPads, and then we directly entered the titles of their videos into the YouTube Capture app before uploading them. While this workflow works, this semester I wanted to find something more efficient and streamlined.
6 – Students Publish Videos with a Shared YouTube Account
The app smash workflow suggested in the previously mentioned Google Presentation, which we are using this semester in the 7th grade Spanish classroom where students have created green screen skit videos, is to share a YouTube account and ask students to use it when uploading to YouTube. As an IT support staff member and one of our school’s GAFE administrators, I was able to create a new and separate Google account (firstname.lastname@example.org) and then configure it to share access to a “Student Projects” YouTube channel. If we have a problem with a student doing something unauthorized or inappropriate to other student videos in the channel, we can change the account password to deny him/her edit/delete access to the channel. This workflow also lets me, as the Technology Director, set the channel upload defaults so “only approved YouTube comments” are published and shown on the site. This is a big advantage. One of the last things we want to happen as we’re starting to share more student work on YouTube is have something inappropriate show up in a video comment. By moderating and “gatekeeping” the comments, we can avoid and prevent that kind of situation from taking place.
Another significant benefit of this model is that teachers have the experience of “sharing a YouTube channel” to publish student work, and therefore may feel less vulnerable or alone in being one of the first or only teachers at school to have a classroom YouTube channel. There are many reasons and layers to why teachers can be reticent to openly share student work on the web. Last year I found teachers perceived a “shared classroom projects YouTube channel” as safer and more inviting initially than setting up their own new, separate YouTube channel. I’m hopeful we’ll find the same result this year as we expand the amount of student work we publish openly on the web, including on YouTube.
The last thing I’ll say about both options 5 and 6 above, which use YouTube as the publication platform for student videos, is that this provides excellent opportunities for parents, other students, and others beyond the immediate school community to watch and be inspired by the videos students create. In slide 3 of the previously linked Google Presentation, I address several reasons why it’s a great idea to publish student videos PUBLICLY to YouTube. I also addressed, in slide 4, the importance of having signed parent/student media publication forms as well as giving students the option of whether or not they want to publish their videos openly on YouTube. With option number six, students can choose to publish privately to the teacher if they don’t want their video included publicly. It’s important to give students this option, but also explain to them the benefits and advantages to openly sharing/publishing their videos on YouTube.
For more on these ideas, check out my recent post with Shelly Fryer on the “Why and How of Outside Sharing with KidBlog.”
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