YouTube and the Classroom
Peter Drucker, author of Managing the Future observed: "We live in a very turbulent time, not because there is so much change, but because it moves in so many different directions." (Drucker, 1993) Effective college and university instructors have to be ableto recognize and run with opportunity to learn, and to constantly refresh the knowledge base." The complexity of rapidly changing teaching technology makes it a critical objectives for practitioners to learn about the latest tools to enhance presentations in the classroom. YouTube has proven in the last two year to be an emerging technology withstrong potential for enhancing classroom discussions, lectures and presentations.
The following paper discusses the history of YouTube, the impact of YouTube ontoday's public speaking audience, and the use of YouTube to enhance public speaking curriculum. As part of the research 77 undergraduate students taking the introductoryspeech course at Daytona Beach College (DeLand, Florida campus) were surveyed about the use of YouTube technology in the classroom.
YouTube, the latest gift/threat, is a free video-sharing Web site that has rapidly become a wildly popular way to upload, share, view and comment onvideo clips. With more than 100 million viewings a day and more than 65,000 videos uploaded daily, the Web portal provides teachers with a growing amount if visual information share with a classroom full of young multimedia enthusiasts. (Dyck, 2007) Based in San Mateo, YouTube is a small privately-funded company. The company was founded by Chad Hurley and Steven Chen. The company raised over $11 million of funding from Sequoia
Capital, the firm who also provided initial venture capital for Google, The founders initially had a contest inviting the posting of videos. The contest got the attention of the masses and Google, Inc. In October 2006, Google acquired the company for 1.65 billion in Google stock.
Since spring of 2006, YouTube has come to hold the leading position in online video with 29% of the U.S. multimedia entertainment market.YouTube videos account for 60% of all videos watched online . . . The site specializes in short, typically two minute, homemade, comic videos created by users. YouTube serves as a quick entertainment break or viewers with broadband computer connections at work or home. (Reuters, 2006)
In June (2006), 2.5 billion videos were watched on YouTube. More than 65,000 videos are now uploaded daily to YouTube. YouTube boasts nearly 20 million unique users per month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. (Reuters, 2006) Robert Hinderliter, Kansas State University developed an interesting video history of YouTube.com. The segment can be found on the YouTube.com website.
Impact of YouTube in the classroom
"The growing adoption of broadband combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing. The majority of adult internet users in the United States (57%) report watching or downloading some type of online video content and 19% do so on a typical day. (Madden, 2007). Daytona Beach College students surveyed indicated that a majority of the students watch videos on a weekly basis. College instructors can capitalize on the surge in viewing online videos byincorporating their use in the classroom.
Communication research on using visuals as an enhancement to presentations is supported by early researchers including Aristotle. "Although ancient orators weren't aware of our currently research on picture memory, they did know the importance of vividness. They knew that audiences were more likely to pay attention to and be persuaded by visual images painted by the speaker. In his Rhetoric (Book III, Chapters 10-11) Aristotle describes the importance of words and graphic metaphors that should "set the scene before our eyes." He defines graphic as "making your hearers see things." (Hamilton, 2006)
"Today's audiences expect presentations to be visually augmented, whether they are communicated in the guise of a lecture, a business report, or a public speech. What's more, today's audience expects the speaker to visually augment such presentations with a level of sophistication unheard of even 10 years ago." (Bryden, 2008)
The use of visuals increases persuasive impact. For example, a University of Minnesota study found that using visuals increases persuasiveness by 43 percent (Simons, 1998). Today's audiences are accustomed to multimedia events that bombard the senses. They often assume that any formal presentation must be accompanied by some visual element. . . Presenters who used visual aids were also perceived as being more professional, better prepared, and more interesting than those who didn't use visual aids. One of the easiest ways you can help ensure the success of a speech is to prepare interesting and powerful visual aids. Unfortunately, many speakers either don't use visual aids or use ones that are overcrowded , outdated or difficult to understand. (Ober, 2006)
"The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is usually true. A look at right brain/left brain theory explains why visuals speed listener comprehension. While the left hemisphere of the brain specializes in analytical processing, the right hemisphere specializes in simultaneous processing of information and pays little attention to details. Speakers who use no visual aids or only charts loaded with statistics are asking the listeners' left brains to do all the work. After a while, even a good left-brain thinker suffers from information overload, begins to make mistakes in reasoning, and loses interest. In computer terminology, "the system shuts down." The right brain, however can quickly grasp complex ideas presented in graphic form." (Hamilton, 2006)
"Most people process and retain information best when they receive it in more than one format. Research findings indicate that we remember only about 20 percent of what we hear, but more than 50 percent of what we see and hear. Further we remember about 70 percent of what we see, hear, and actually do. Messages that are reinforced visually and otherwise are often more believable than those that are simply verbalized. As the saying bryce hall goes, "Seeing is believing." (O'Hair, 2007) The majority of students surveyed at Daytona Beach College indicated a preference for audio/visual supplements to oral presentations.