The Top VidCon Takeaways for Teachers

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Teresa Mobley, teacher and 5-time VidCon veteran

Teresa Mobley has been teaching for 15 years in a Southern California K-6 public school district. Her professional interests include educational technology, science, and transforming learning for students who may be less likely to be reached by traditional education models. Teresa has attended VidCon for 5 years with the intent of finding more resources and connecting with more people who share the goals of educating and learning both online and offline.

  • Using narratives to showcase skills and facts:
    Education communicators know that viewers are more likely to hang on to information if there is a story behind instead of facts in isolation. This is great news for classroom teachers who look to video to enhance their curriculum. Most of us who use YouTube in our classrooms already have access to the facts, but we are always looking for ways to engage our students and help them retain information. Narratives are an excellent way to communicate declarative lessons like literature, history, and art. When we can access the stories of others we can reach more of our students and help them relate to the curriculum in ways that would not be possible from a singular perspective.
  • Digital literacy:
    We as teachers need to build our own digital literacy skills so we can help our students evaluate online sources and to evaluate sources ourselves. There are so many resources that may appear credible but just aren't. Many panelists at VidCon spoke of the rise in popularity of conspiracy-themed videos which seems particularly dangerous for people trying to educate themselves online as it tends to confirm a person's previously existing bias.
  • Understanding how adolescents consume media:
    Dr. Jessica Piotrowski shared her research on the way that adolescents consume and process social media. Piotrowski shared that “authenticity is extremely important to teens, who report that they like video to be raw, honest, and revealing. The most effective educational media prioritizes hooking them with authentic narratives with learning embedded in that content. Teens will be interested in the news and facts if they can see clearly how it connects to their lives.” KQED series
    Above the Noise is the perfect example of this. Internet culture is an ongoing experiment and I don't really know that we will understand the far-reaching impact of it for some time, but it was reassuring to know that there are teams of professionals working to do the research.
  • YouTube’s new rules and policies on video monetization:
    Many videos that can be great sources of information are demonetized, meaning the people who made the videos cannot make money directly from ads on those videos. Those video makers have to rely on other platforms like Patreon for revenue. For the viewer, this could mean fewer and fewer videos from these creators. In this way it makes it feel like the world of online video is becoming more like traditional media in that what makes money may start to push some creators towards making their videos to get more views and gain more ad revenue. This may or may not have an impact on the types of videos that are created for education.
  • We as teachers are NOT alone:
    There is a great community of people who are making great and useful videos and those people want feedback from the viewers. The WeCreateEdu group is an online space where a group of creators work together to help one another find ways to make their videos better and try to reach more people. YouTube is listening and announced that they will be investing more in the Edu world of online video.