Tag Archives: video


How to create a content strategy to grow your brand on YouTube

Having a YouTube channel is now considered a basic part of any company’s digital footprint. It’s just normal. But what do you put in it? Having a content strategy specifically designed to both get your messages across and to grow your number of subscribers.

See also: How to create a YouTube channel

You should have a content strategy specifically for YouTube, so, while you’re pulling that together, take these tips onboard:

When you’re scripting a video, it should be a precis of your company’s approach to a product or a topic. It shouldn’t be everything. Making key points, rather than attempting to cover the whole of an issue.

When you’re talking about a topic (rather than a product), try and have a point of view.  ‘Balanced’ content may be easier to deliver within the culture of your industry, but it does not drive understanding or engagement. A stronger voice is helpful to gain audiences.

Don’t be afraid of using a more obviously clickbait approach – titles which ask questions, for example encourage people to click and watch for the answers.

Make it shareable – the sort of tone, approach and product which people will pass on. Easier said than done, and will come from experimentation, A+B split testing and, probably, some videos which will fail, but the ability to experiment is key.

Storytelling is vital. A point about changes in your industry or market is better made through the story of a single consumer than in the data of millions. That data can be used and related, but finding a story which illustrates the broad thrust of the argument will resonate with users much more.

Engagement is a key factor. It’s not wise to encourage your staff to participate in debate below the line (ie react to comments), but small engagements, like encouraging users to vote on videos can boot algorithms in your content’s favour and keep users connected to your brand.

Actively encourage subscription. In newsletter, emails, messaging across your digital estate, encourage users to subscribe more than watch. Watching a video can be singular, subscribing encourage repeat and return visits. Building subscriptions should be key, the views will rise accordingly. For more tips on that, see:
Three ways to get more subscribers to your YouTube channel.

See also: The teacher’s guide to using YouTube in the classroom

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Three ways to get more subscribers to your YouTube channel

Having a YouTube channel for your business or (ahem) your ‘personal brand’ is quite the thing. People watch more and more videos online and younger audiences especially are much more likely to watch YouTube than TV.

So being on YouTube is key to your to the prominence of your business (and helps with your search profile too).

And good content is key to that, but what can you do to make sure that, when you spend all that time making the best videos you can, you’ve actually made the most of that and you’ve optimised your channel and

Bear these tips in mind:


Develop your audience through a more consistent upload schedule

Having a more consistent upload schedule will allow your subscribers to regularly see your content on their homepage and subscription feed, allowing for a more regular presence and an increased watchtime. In return, this increased watchtime would help the ranking of the content in the algorithm as this is a core metric.

Perhaps could think about tailoring different formats or  series that you could upload on a regular basis – regular interviews or scheduled updates on industry issues.

See also: How to create a YouTube channel

Optimize the thumbnails and titles of the videos

Entice viewers to click on your videos through compelling thumbnails (the small pictures that people see which are supposed to entice . Custom thumbnails are one of the best ways to make your videos stand out and get viewers watching – 90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.

For the titles, remember that YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world. Creating keyword-rich titles and descriptions can help viewers find your videos through YouTube Search and increase watch time – a video’s title, thumbnail, and description actually work together to tell a story about the content.

Here are some best practices for titles:

  • Include descriptive and relevant terms toward the beginning of a title.
  • Display branding and episode numbers toward the end of a title.
  • Keep titles on the short side so they don’t get cut-off due to high character count.


Understand where the audience is coming from to leverage your traffic sources

Knowing where your traffic is coming from is key and making sure you’re using YouTube’s search facility to your advantage. Using a tool like Google Trends, can help you understand what people are searching for on YouTube to be able to tap into these searches and position the your channel as a hub for such content, planning around relevant events and trends to enhance the discoverability of the channel. You can learn search tips here.


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How to Use Snapchat to Tell the Story of Your School

The power of a story should not come as a surprise to anyone. Throughout human history, the joy of telling and sharing stories has remained constant. Sharing the stories of what we do in education is not something new either. We often hear, “If you do not tell your story then someone else will.” As a result, we’ve seen lots of workshops, articles, and conversations about the importance of telling our story and the importance of tweeting, blogging, and branding. What we often fail to talk about, though, is to whom are we telling our story and whether it is reaching them.
In the book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” Gary Vaynerchuk explains that a great story is one that sells and markets a brand. It creates an emotional tie to a product and makes consumers do what you ask them to do. In education, we need to be cognizant that we are also marketers and need to be in the business of selling. Our product – creating future problem solvers.
I know just how powerful these stories can be. I got the position of Director of Innovative Learning for the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC as a direct result of powerful storytelling. I shared this story during the Apple Distinguished Educators Institute in Miami last year, and you can view it here.
I often ask these questions of myself when I think about sharing a story:

  • Am I telling my story to the people in my Twitterverse? People who already know and believe in my message?
  • Am I telling my story to the parents in my classroom?
  • Am I telling the story to the community within which I live?
  • Am I telling my story in the hopes that the mainstream media will come along and pick up my idea and share it?

Vaynerchuk continues to explain that when creating your story, “Content is king, but context is God.”
While many other social media platforms allow you to share content, Snapchat is one of the few that lets you share content and context in just a few seconds, which is why I think it is the ultimate marketing tool to tell your story. With Snapchat, your story and message aren’t cut up into bits and pieces across a person’s newsfeed; it’s a continuous stream where you see the development of an idea, activity, or thought from start to finish. Moreover, I believe this platform can create a more meaningful dialogue about the changes around us and how education must transform to give students the skills they need to succeed. If you are new to Snapchat, take a few moments to read this excellent post from A.J. Juliani, The Complete Guide to Snapchat for Teachers and Parents.
I first joined Snapchat because my sisters and younger cousins were using it. Initially, I saw it as just another video platform, similar to Dubsmash, Vine, etc. But then, during an update, Snapchat introduced the game changer – Stories. I started off watching the stories put together by CNN, Food Network, and National Geographic. What I found even more fascinating were the live stories that Snapchat was aggregating from around the world. Each day, I would wake up excited to discover what the live story of the day would be. I found myself captivated by these stories, curated by different people to tell the story of who they were, the country they were from, or the event that was being shared. Above all, I found myself learning about all of these different things, which challenged my existing understanding. Snapchat struck me as an important tool with the power to help people develop empathy for situations or places that were unfamiliar because often, you can’t understand something or someone until you see or hear from them.
I began creating my own stories and sharing my small world. These were not edited, filtered moments, but rather they were live and authentic 10s snaps that allowed people to see the story of my day. I immediately found myself having conversations about the work I do, the role of technology in education with people who I had never had discussions with before. My cousins were asking me questions about how they could use some of the ideas I was sharing in their learning. I had friends sharing concerns about technology and asking for advice about schools. I had teachers who weren’t following me on Twitter (where I primarily share this work) asking about how they could begin doing it within their classrooms as well.
Not every new app that comes along has to be used in our classrooms to “engage” students. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the appeal of Snapchat is that students view it as an “adult-free” zone. As Tom Daccord, so eloquently says, “We are teachers, not amusement park directors.”
There’s a small but growing number of teachers sharing their use of Snapchat, and as more and more of us get on, I think it’s crucial to ask: What story do I want to tell and who is my audience? Here are two examples of teachers using Snapchat beyond their lessons.

A Day in the Class of…

One of the most effective, yet logistically challenging forms of professional development, is to be able to visit the classroom of another teacher. Hearing about a lesson is one thing, but seeing it in action and being a part of it is another. Snapchat allows teachers to share the story of their day. One of my favorite teachers that I get to visit every day is Ann Kozma. Ann is a TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) in Fullerton, CA, and watching Ann’s snap story has provided me with more insight about what learning looks like at her school than any Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook post ever could have. Take a look at this Snapchat story that Ann shared, and you’ll see what I mean for yourself. As a result, you can imagine how many people get ideas for what is possible.

Beyond the School Walls

While visiting the classroom of Mike Saracini, a teacher at Freedom Middle School in Berwyn, IL, I learned that he doesn’t use Snapchat to have students share stories with him, but he encourages them to tell the story of their learning and share it with their peers. He wants other students to see the learning experiences his students are having and be inspired. While there, his students were creating newscasts on the pros and cons of the dropping of the atomic bomb. About an hour after this conversation, here is a message he sent me,

“I wanted to fill you in as a follow-up to our discussion today about Snapchat while you were at Freedom Middle School (I met you during lunch). So, I told you that I want students to share their learning (activities related to our learning wherever it maybe). Well, it happened! A student snapped out from home the work she was doing to prepare for our assessment on, “If America was correct dropping the atomic bomb on Japan?” She had a pro and con list, and a subtitle that said: ‘Still debating this atomic bomb issue.’ Others snapped her back discussing it. What more could I possibly ask for?”

While using Snapchat in lessons may engage students, the above example empowers students to use the platforms they have to create dialogue and share what’s happening in their schools with their peers.
When students are able to join you as storytellers and share what they are able to do with those who may not have the same opportunities, they act as advocates and empower others to seek out those opportunities as well. As educators, we don’t have to use all the tools that come out in our lessons, but we can definitely use them to empower ourselves and our students to share the stories of ourselves and our learning to help others understand us and what we do and why we do it a little bit better.

How will you tell the story of your learning?

Come find out this summer! From Digital Portfolios to Creating Digitally Curious Classrooms, we have over 18 different topics in 7 cities across the country. Get started at ettsummer.org.

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Periscope to autoplay within Twitter

One of the significant issues with Periscope, the visibility of its livestreams, may now be close to being solved as Twitter users will now be able to watch Periscope live streams straight from their feeds.

For teachers, as we’ve said before, it’s one of the simplest and useful ways to have a live broadcast all your own, allowing you to teach from home during a snowday, or for students to present their work while on a field trip. Pupils can even do live broadcasts that are watched by other classrooms around the world. It’s all free, to boot.

And now, it’s findable. Starting today, video cards will auto-play within Twitter’s iOS app for iPhone and iPad. If you tap on the card will allow users to see the stream full screen, including the comments and hearts from others — although hearting or commenting on the stream will still have to be done within the Periscope app. Which is clumsy, but probably solvable

In a Medium post, Periscope describe the new feature as adding “a whole new dimension to Twitter”.

Reassuringly, they also add that Android versions will be launched ‘as soon as they are ready’.

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The top 15 YouTube history channels for your classroom

There’s a preposterous amount of video uploaded to YouTube – around 300 hours worth of viewing are uploaded to the platform every minute. That’s a whole lot of content – and almost impossible to navigate. YouTube is so much more than cat videos and home-video selfie uploads. You’ll never find your way around the vast sea of content on offer, so we’re here to help. Here’s a quick starter guide to the best channels and videos to either use as raw material for flipped lessons; for homework or revision – or just something to put on the screen when you’ve lost the will to teach. From quick clips to biopics and full-on lessons, YouTube can bring your history lessons to life. 
Do you have any favorite videos you use in your history classroom? We’d love to hear what they are! Share your favorites with the Daily Genius community by leaving a comment below, visiting the Daily Genius Facebook page, or dropping us a note on Twitter.

The top 15 YouTube History Lessons

Learn History: This YouTube channel provides loads of videos on historical events related to crime and punishment and the American west.
Animated Bayeux Tapestry: Students learning about European history can watch this video which takes the Bayeux Tapestry and brings it to life.
Surviving the Holocaust: Teach students about the impact of the Holocaust by showing them how it impacted this individual.
Oliver Cromwell: Here you’ll find photos and text that tell about the life of Oliver Cromwell.
Horrible Histories History from the viewpoint of the people, rather than the Great and the Good. Done in a comic way in a series of themed sketches. From the BBC.
HipHughesHistory: Keith Hughes sees himself as a simplifier. On his channel, he  posts upbeat explainers, mostly on US History and Politics but span across World History and general interest
Elizabeth I: Let students learn about the history of England by watching this video presentation on Elizabeth I.
Gettysburg Reenactment: Bring the American Civil War to life by showing students this reenactment of a battle.
G. P. Grey Not even clear who CGP Grey is, but this is a very nice set of explainers of complex things. Often starts with history, but branches out.
The Assassination of JFK: This famous video is a huge part of American history, and you can let students watch it via YouTube.
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Classes studying modern history can learn about the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall through this news report.
Crash Course – US history: A playlist, aggregating the history of the USA in 47 episodes.
Crash Course – World history: Another playlist, curated by the same gentleman (John Green) who put together the playlist on US history that we mentioned above. This time: same idea, with a wider brief. The clue is in the title – the only question is why it takes 47 episodes to do the US, while the whole of the rest of the world can be done in 42.
How to Make a Mummy: Created by teachers, this animated video shows how the ancient Egyptians created their mummies.
A Brief History of Mankind: This video sums up the history of mankind in just a few minutes, making it a good intro to history classes.

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How to Create TED-Ed Lessons For Your Classroom

By now, most of you have probably heard of TED talks. Whether you’re in need of inspiration, information on a specific topic, or just some brain food, TED Talks can be a great resource. TED talk cover just about every topic imaginable, many dealing directly with education issues.

TED-EdTED’s newest initiative is TED-Ed – a collection two types of educational videos that can easily be used in your classroom. The first type of videos are TED-Ed originals: videos made by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators especially for TED-Ed. Each lesson aims to explore a particular lesson idea suggested by the TED community. The second types of videos are created by visitors to the TED-Ed website, meaning you can make your own custom videos for your class. Select any video you choose (a TED talk, or something else), and add questions, discussion topics, and supplementary materials to the video. They even offer lesson ‘series’, or collections of lessons on related topics, like language, how humans think, nature, the human body, and even the science behind superheroes!

Each video offers three sections in addition to the video: think, dig deeper, and discuss, along with the option to customize the lesson for your own classroom.

How to Create TED-Ed Lessons For Your Classroom

There are a couple of different ways to make lessons with TED-Ed. The first is to customize an existing lesson. To do this, simply click on the big red  ‘customize this lesson’ button on a particular lesson. You’ll be prompted to log in to TED.com or register if you don’t yet have an account. Once that’s taken care of, you’ll be presented with the first of your customization options.


Here, you can choose whether or not your lesson will be listed on the TED-Ed website, if you want to allow other users to further customize your lesson, the title of the lesson, and the description.

From there, you can edit the ‘Think’, ‘Dig Deeper‘, and ‘Discuss’ sections. Just click on each one to do so. You can use the existing materials and questions and supplement them as needed, or delete them and add in your own entirely. You can include up to 15 questions for ‘Think‘, 7500 characters for ‘Dig Deeper’, and add new discussion topics and answers with a max of 750 characters each for ‘Discuss’. To wrap things up, there’s a section called ‘And Finally…’ which gives you a place to offer some final thoughts, assignments, or reading materials for your students.

Finally, preview and publish your lesson! You’ll always be able to find your lesson on your activity page when you’re signed in to TED, but you’ll also be given a link to your lesson when you publish it, which you can share with your students.


On your activity page, you can see how many students have taken your lesson, and review their work and discussions. Just click on ‘review student work’ at the bottom of the lesson box to do so.


You’ll be able to view the students that have taken your lesson, how many correct and incorrect answers they had, how many attempts it took them to get the answers correct, their responses to open answer questions, and responses to discussions.

Making TED-Ed Lessons with Custom Videos

If you want to use a non-TED-Ed video to create a lesson, all you need is a video on YouTube, or a TED Talk. First, select your video, then head over to the TED-Ed homepage, and click on “Create a Lesson”.



You’ll be prompted to input the link of the YouTube video or a search term to find your desired video. You’ll be presented with a list of options, in video-grid format. Select the video you want, and click ‘Launch Lesson Editor’.


You’ll be presented with the same options as if you were using a pre-made TED-Ed lesson, just without any questions or discussion topics – that’s all up to you! Fill in your ‘Think’, ‘Dig Deeper‘, and ‘Discuss’ sections, and you’re ready to publish – easy as pie! You’ll have all the same options for sharing your video and tracking student progress as you do with the preexisting TED-Ed lessons.

Do you use TED Talks or TED-Ed lessons in your classroom? If so, let us know how, or better yet – share your lessons with the Daily Genius community! You can do so by leaving a comment below, visiting theDaily Genius Facebook Page, or mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter – we want to hear what you think!

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5 effective activities to run after watching videos in the classroom

At one point, using videos in the classroom meant dragging out a TV and VCR on a cart, and parking your students in front of it for the duration of class. It was a ‘free day’ of sorts for the students. While they would generally be required to answer some questions or write something about what they watched, the post-video assignments were often things that could be completed even while zoning out or goofing off throughout the film.
Obviously, there’s a better way. From YouTube to tablets, the simple act of getting a video in front of your students has changed drastically over the past decade or so.  Suzy Brooks recommends watching each video clip three times, with different focus each time, which is a great place to start.
Beyond that, using short pieces of films – rather than spending the entire class period viewing – leaves room for different activities involving what you’ve viewed. There are so many different ways to get your students engaged in the material.
We’ve selected six of our favorites below. Do you have a favorite post-video watching activity you use in class? Share with the community – we love hearing from you! Leave a message in the comments below, or pop on over to the Daily Genius Facebook page or hit us up on Twitter!

Activities To Run After Watching Videos in the Classroom

Timed Journal

After the video clip has been played, set a timer for a short period (2-4 minutes, max) and have students write down any thoughts that come to mind about what they’ve seen.


Pose a question to the class pertaining to the video that could have several possible responses. Separate students into small groups (4-6 students). Within each group, have the students make a list of possible responses on the paper – at first without discussion. Each student folds over the paper when they’ve finished writing on it and passes it to the next person in their group. When all students in the group have written a response, unfold the paper and the smaller groups can discuss the responses. If there is time, each group can share their best response along with some thoughts to the whole class.


Pose a question regarding the film to the whole class. Each student has 5 minutes to write their response on a sheet of paper. At the end of the 5 minutes, students pair off to discuss their response with one partner. As an option, each pair can present their response(s) to the entire class.

Concept Mapping

As a class, brainstorm key words/concepts from the video and choose ONE to reside at the center of the concept map. Separate the class into groups and have each group build out one portion of the map by expanding on key words related to the center word/concept and branching out from there. Groups will present their branches to the class and discussion can be elaborated as necessary. If you’re new to concept mapping, Kathy Schrock has a great guide here.

Video Follow-Up

Have students find a follow-up video to what was just viewed as a class. Ask students to find a video that fits a certain criteria in relation to the original video (a video that supports this concept, refutes it, expands upon it, etc etc). This is a great opportunity to help students learn about solid online research skills and checking credibility and such.
Featured image via Flickr cc

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The Teacher's Guide To Using YouTube In The Classroom

Forget the cat videos, YouTube has matured into one of the biggest resources for educational content ever. While it may not be as organized as Khan Academy, it’s likely got what you need if you do a little digging. You can find videos that make the subject of your lesson more applicable to students’ everyday lives. You can teach students video production and editing skills through projects and upload the videos to your classes YouTube channel.
There’s tons of reasons YouTube should be a part of most classrooms:

Spark Lively Discussions

Engage students by showing a video relevant to their lives. Video clips can bring in different perspectives or force students to consider a new viewpoint, helping to spark a discussion. Through video you can keep class exciting and new. Students will be eager to talk about chemical reactions after seeing this video:

Organize Your Video Content For Easier Access

  • Playlists are YouTube’s way of allowing you to organize videos on the site: a playlist is a series of videos you put together – they don’t have to be videos you uploaded, and you get to choose the order.
  • When one video ends, the playlist plays the next video without offering ‘related videos’, thus creating a curated environment for your students.
  • Therefore, by creating playlists of videos you can select which YouTube videos you want your students to view.
    • Playlists live on your channel, are discoverable in search results (if you want them to be), and can be embedded on your blog or class site.
    • Create a playlist of videos for each school unit so students can review them when looking to learn more about a topic or need to review for an upcoming assessment.
  • Great playlists include videos that…
    • Hook your students into a lesson.
    • Provide real-world context for lessons.
    • Help provide cultural relevance for your students.
    • Provide remediation for concepts yet mastered.
    • Provide alternative viewpoints.
    • Provide visual context (chemical reactions, primary source videos).
    • Review previously taught content.

Archive Your Work

Capture and save projects and discussions so you can refer back to them year after year. This will also help you save time as you can assign old videos to your new students.

  • Record critical parts of your lesson so you can review how you taught that lesson in previous years.
  • When absent students ask what they missed, send them a link to the video and they’ll never fall behind.
  • You can even customize who sees your videos by adjusting the privacy settings. Use this great video to learn how to privately share videos with other YouTube users:


Encourage Students To Dig Deeper

  • Give students the option to dig deeper into a subject by creating a playlist of videos related to that concept.
  • By creating playlists of relevant videos you allow students to pursue their interests without wasting their time searching for information (or finding potentially objectionable content).
  • Create a playlist of primary source video content for a history topic you’re teaching.
  • Watch this video to learn how to make a playlist in YouTube


Help Both Struggling And Advanced Students

Videos (or playlists) can help supplement in class teaching for struggling students. Students can review them at home so you’re not forced to teach exclusively to the middle 50%. YouTube user piazzaalexis uses videos like this to address misunderstandings and allow his students to review difficult concepts.


Review For Upcoming Exams

Turn test review and flashcards into easy-to-watch videos so students can hear your explanations as they study.  Create a “test review” video students can use to study the night before the big test:

Create A YouTube Center In Your Classroom

Divide your class into groups and have them rotate through different stations. At the YouTube station, introduce students to new information, allowing you to help students practice their newfound skills. When working in stations or centers, have students use your YouTube channel to complete an assignment, freeing you up to work with small groups of students.
Use this video to learn more about creating classroom centers. The teachers uses literacy centers as an example:

Add Quizzes To Videos

Create a Google Form that students complete after watching a video. You can use this quiz to get instant feedback on what they’re learning. To learn how to create quizzes using Google Forms click here. Embed your quiz on a class blog or site so students can watch a video and complete the quiz at the same time:


Create Interactive Video ‘Quests’

Use YouTube annotations to create “Choose your own adventure” style video quests.

You can also create a video guide. This example guides students to different videos about chemical reactions.

This video explains how to add annotations to your videos:

Students Can Become The Teacher

If your students watch a video of the basic concepts at home you can focus in class on applying those concepts, working collaboratively with their classmates rather than simply listening to you lecture.
YouTube user Rmusallam asks his students to prepare for class by watching the introduction to new material at home. That way when they arrive at school they’re ready to apply their learning. Through this method he has dramatically increased his instructional time:


What If YouTube Is Blocked?

Many teachers (still) cannot access YouTube in their classrooms. Never fear, FreeTech4Teachers is to the rescue with 47 Alternatives To Using YouTube In The Classroom. There’s plenty of other options on that terrific list. There’s also this approach from Tony DePrato on managing video without YouTube.
And finally…
How do you use YouTube in the classroom. Share your best tips in the comments below.

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Managing educational video without YouTube

In mainland China, where I work, YouTube is blocked. Some people and schools pay for VPNs to have a slow and throttled YouTube experience. I suppose if core curriculum content is coming from a third-party source that is being hosted on YouTube,  there are not many options – VPN is the only solution.
That being said, since I have been here I have found many content creators like Khan Academy have legal methods for schools to download and serve their content on private servers. It takes time to confirm that it is legal to download and re-distribute, but those developing for education usually do not mind.
The other reason people need YouTube, or think they need YouTube, to host their own videos is because they found some shortcuts in their software that resulted in subtle brainwashing. Here is an example of this clever menu design in the Quicktime image below.
Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.04.35 AM
I firmly believe when users see built-in options like this, they shutdown, stop thinking, and simply start clicking. Since the rise of services like YouTube people have lost the skills to maintain their own media. And for those out there who are sick of ads and other annoyances with services like YouTube, it is time to consider doing something that people have been able to do since the 1990’s- serve your own media.
Not only can you do it, but you can do it better and faster than you can with most of the popular services.
That voice forming in your head that would like to argue with me is saying, “Wait! What about storage, we can’t afford to store all our videos.” Really? Are you sure? How much video do you have..have you really added it up? Did you inventory your video the correct way?
Before I was in education, I was in video production. The real stuff. TV, documentaries, etc. I was putting video online when most people reading this were learning how to spell I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T.  I know a thing or two about managing a large digital library that has to be used to create original content. Think about it, videos indexed by scenes, so you can find a 10 second segment you need for a large piece to be used in a political smear campaign. It seems time consuming because it is. It is hard work, and forces organization.
Schools need to separate their content into three types:

  1. Instructional content and entertainment you own and have created.
  2. Instructional content and entertainment content you have purchased from a third-party.
  3. Student created content, public and private.

The next step is to make a decision as to how long you will keep media from categories 1-3. I would say every year the student content needs to be purged, except for some very excellent exemplars. Students can keep their own copies. Instructional materials owned by the school should be kept for 2-3 years, but then, it needs to be updated and even deleted.
Keeping those parameters in mind, how much storage will you need? Remember you will be serving either FLV files or some form of MP4. Not only can you create these easily on Mac and Windows, you can BATCH convert them with programs like Mpeg Streamclip. You can take the files created in programs like iMovie, and make them 60% smaller without hurting the quality.
Add-up the total amount of data you are using on YouTube, reduce the size by 30% to be conservative, and now ask yourself can you afford to host your own videos. Most hosting plans have huge amounts of storage, but might limit you on your monthly bandwidth. Most allow you to add additional bandwidth if you need it. Having 2-3 accounts on the same hosting service, is an easy way to off-set bandwidth limitations for very little money.
Five gigabytes of monthly bandwidth is about 15 hours of standard definition movies. If you figure the average instructional video is 5-10 minutes long, that means 90 instructional videos @ 10 minutes at standard definition Netflix style playback. Most of the videos you can easily compress will be significantly less than that.
If one hosting account was 100 USD a year, you would be able to serve over 900 videos based-on the limitations above, even though the number would probably be closer to 1200-1500. Add two additional accounts, for a total of 300 USD a year, and you can serve 2700 videos a year or 270 videos per month. (I am not counting the summer/holidays in the estimate).  I am using a cheap account for this math as well, there are others designed for media hosting that are cheaper for larger amounts of monthly bandwidth.
Many schools have their own internal hosting, and probably have what it takes to serve Youtube quality video without any additional cost. Schools paying for a VPN to host their own content on Youtube are losing money, because VPNs are expensive and the performance is horrible. Most schools pay for some kind of hosting anyway, so the expenses listed above are most likely already in the operational budget.
Schools that can use Youtube for free are losing valuable time and control over the user experience.  The reason schools lose time, is because uploading you own videos using FTP is significantly faster than doing uploading using the built in services in software, or the web-based uploaders.
Ask yourself, how many times have you sat and let your computer work to convert and upload a video? It can take 30 minutes or it can take hours. The failure rate for uploading without FTP is also significantly higher.  Time is a currency in education, and wasting it, should be avoided.
Even students can get videos off iPads and laptops onto a private server faster than using the student Wifi to sync 30 videos within a class period. Time wasted on uploading, is time wasted on learning.
Finally, when free services are used, control of intellectual property is lost. Rules for usage and ads can be changed with little or no notice. Exposure to content can only be assured on paper, not really guaranteed. Privately hosted content can be fully controlled, and delivered in many creative ways.
That other type of media content I mentioned, Instructional content and entertainment content you have purchased from a third-party, that can be managed in some very interesting ways as well. It is amazing what one can do with a complete understanding of protocols that make podcasting work. However, that is more of a private conversation.

Do the math, and have the conversations. Learning to really manage media is a great educational process for teachers, IT administrators, and students. In the end, the learning happens within the process, so it worth beta testing and exploring.
Read more from Tony DePrato on his blog.
Thumbnail by jsawkins via Flickr cc

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Seriously. Give these students an A+ for music talent!

This is just a very quick and entertaining post for the weekend. I came across it whilst browsing and just had to share it with the Daily Genius community. It’s just one of many incredible songs performed by the Louisville Leopard Percussionists. They’re a non-profit that is doing some tremendous things with students looking to play, learn, and explore the world of music.
I was a trumpet player back in middle school and know the value of music in education. I also know that state budgets here in the U.S. are shrinking – especially when it comes to music and the arts. So it’s great to see this non-profit offering a chance for young students to be creative and express themselves through some very impressive performances. Enjoy the video – there are others too so check out that link above for more of them.
If you’re in the Louisville area, go check out some of their performances, too. You’ll be blown away by this music talent, methinks 🙂

About The Music Video

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists is a non-profit organization offering extracurricular music opportunities to local children at little or no cost. Please help keep the program going by donating at http://bit.ly/louleopardsdonate. That’s a link to a PayPal donation page, FYI.

About The Louisville Leopard Percussionists

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists are a performing ensemble of approximately 65 student musicians, ages 7-12, living in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Each student learns and acquires proficiency on several instruments, such as marimbas, xylophone, vibraphone, drum set, timbales, congas, bongos and piano.

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