“An Anthropological Introduction To YouTube” Thoughts

Wesch’s video titled “An Anthropological Introduction To YouTube” is a good, but very outdated video. I should clarify that I only watched the first fifteen minutes of his video, but from what was shown, a lot of the good will surrounding YouTube is forever gone.

YouTube was a great website for many reasons, and continues to be good, but it has lost the good will that supported for years. After YouTube was bought by Google, a lot of things changed and now it runs on an agenda rather than on the community. The trending section often does not reflect what is actually trending on YouTube, especially if the video is not advertiser friendly. For that reason alone, I recognize that YouTube is a company, and not a tool for humanity. Censorship and false-copyright-flagging has become a serious issue, to the point I no longer trust the website myself.

In regards to the questions asked by Professor Hildebrandt, I have mixed feelings. The questions are as follows:

  1. Reflect on our changed world and the new culture of participation as described in lecture and by Wesch.
  2. What does this mean for your future classroom?
  3. What does it mean for schools in general?
  4. How might we rethink the idea of schooling and education in our networked, participatory, and digital world?

My answers are as follows:

1. Our world has certainly changed, where at least in North America, it is actually more strange to NOT be on social media than it is to be on it. I am among those affected as I personally hate social media. I didn’t realize this class had a Twitter component, and I am a vehemently against it. Social media is bad for people who suffer from depression or anxiety or any other self-esteem issue. I am not saying that I am one of those people, but I can tell you that I gain no joy from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. The only social media I will participate in willingly is Reddit, and mainly because it is anonymous. I hate having the fear of missing out when using more mainstream (not that Reddit isn’t mainstream) social media platforms. YouTube propagates this fear, that if you are not looking at this website every day, then you may not know what people are talking about tomorrow. I hate it. I hate that I will end up on YouTube without even thinking about it and then waste an hour. However, YouTube IS a great addition to the world, I just don’t like how it has become a corporate feeding ground. I suppose anything successful is doomed to that destiny. I think the culture of participation that it has created is hilarious, but I’ve never been a part of it so I have troubles commenting on it.

2. I hope this lecture means nothing for the future of our classrooms. I do know that many classes use Google Classroom now though, so I guess it has already changed us. However, I do not think this has anything to do with the culture of participation, I just think some teachers appreciate being paperless and being able to access theirs or their student’s work at any time.

3. For schools in general, it means a lot of the beauty and problems that come with the online component. On one hand, it is awesome when a whole school is participating in a viral phenomenon. Everyone gets involved and everyone has fun. On the flip side, cyber-bullying is a serious issue that will not go away as long as the culture of participation exists. Everything good has an equal dark side. I suppose that is only fair, as having all the worlds knowledge at our finger tips basically makes us God’s in comparison to people even 100 years ago.

Now that is an idea I would like to expand upon. THAT is the real change within our classrooms. Where our ancestors (like my parents) would have to go search a library for any fact they did not know, we can find out in less than 30 seconds by Googling it on our smartphones. Imagine going back in time and telling people that a little glass machine can tell me any fact I want to know in seconds. Anything goes. Any fact, no matter how small. They wouldn’t believe you. And if they did, they would think you came from thousands of years in the future. I struggle to comprehend how it will ultimately affect classrooms when people my age are the oldest generation of teachers in schools. We effectively grew up with the internet always being there. How will that change schools in 40-50 years? How about 100 years? That is the stuff I love thinking about.

4. I wouldn’t want my classroom to be participating with the rest of the world. Sure, another classroom of similarly aged students I can get behind, but I wouldn’t want the students sharing about themselves willy-nilly in the classroom. Teenagers have enough to worry about without adding potential online embarrassment to the mix. Perhaps that is a cynical view, but I believe the negatives outweigh the positives in this regard. If students on their own, on their own time, want to participate in a social media like classroom, then by all means let them. But for my classroom, I don’t want to be associated with it at all.

Ending thoughts:

Let me end this by saying that I love technology and I love the internet. I love what the internet has done to the world (the only world I’ve ever known) and I love what the internet can do for individuals. Some of my best memories are playing online games with complete strangers. I remember when I used to play “Habbo Hotel” with a dedicated group of people I met on the internet. I would talk to them and play with them every day of the week for months.

However, I think that social media and the culture of participation, belong at home. Nowhere near the classroom. School? Sure. Classroom? Nope.

Thanks for reading.

  • Garrett J. Bates



Twitter Chat Experience

This week we were tasked with participating in a Twitter chat! I have never attempted to participate in one before this class, as I did not know they existed! I was, and in some regards still am, confused about how they worked. On February 4th I put a question into the #engchat (which is an English teachers chat), which was “How do you get students invested in books?” I didn’t expect an answer because it seemed as though no one was participating, but instead I got a really good answer:

“Read to them. High interest, higher than their level books. Relate the characters to their lives. Put them in the story, “What would you do?” Leave them hanging in critical situations, change the story and add suspense. Let them love a story without doing the work themselves.”

I think his suggestions are really strong, as relating stories to peoples real lives is absolutely critical when teaching a novel. His idea of “What would you do?” being the most important of them all. When we can engage students and get them to relate stories to their own lives, a sort of bond is created with the novel without them having to force themselves into liking the book. I subscribe to the belief that people generally want to talk about themselves, so when a novel study can be a gateway to that, it will turn out really well!

Twitter chat is extremely interesting and can be a great avenue for teachers to connect to other teachers! Thanks for reading my blog once again.

  • Garrett J. Bates

Feedly Is Neat!

Today I signed up with a website called “Feedly”. Feedly is an RSS reader that I will use to follow multiple education websites, such as “Education Week” and “NYT Education”. This is useful because it allows me to keep track of different opinions and articles on the education topic. It is a one-stop shop for all my daily educational news. It is quite neat!

The process of me choosing my blogs/websites is quite simple, I just typed in “education” in the search bar and chose blogs/websites that I had heard about before. Doing it in this fashion is nice because when you choose a blog/website, Feedly suggests some other blogs/websites to follow as well. Therefore I chose the ones I had heard about and followed some of the ones it suggested.

The blog I like the best is the one I mentioned earlier: “Education Week”. They post about 90 articles per week and cover a wide range of topics. They talk about current education news, such as recent developments or tragedies, as well as suggesting showing new studies in relation to education. I find this helpful because I am never in the same mood to read about one topic. Anytime I sit down on my computer, I am always interested in reading different topics! For example:

feedly news feed picture

You can see on just the posts from today for “Education Week”, they cover a wide range of topics. From talking about child abuse hotline posters, to American senators backing new laws in relation to recent tragedies, they talk about a lot! Not only does this help me keep up to date on the news, but also informs me of things I would never of learned otherwise!

I’m still pretty new to Feedly so I imagine I will find more blogs/websites to help me in my development, but I’m finding it pretty awesome so far!

  • Garrett J. Bates

Educational Tech Blog Post #1

Hello, my name is Garrett James Bates and this is my first blog post for EDTC 300! I am from Nova Scotia and moved to Regina for my university career. I am in my fourth year with an English major with a Social Studies minor.

I have thought long and hard about the place for technology in the classroom. On one hand, it is very fitting and only enhances much of the learning process. On the other hand, it is the most easily exploitable aspect of the classroom. Whenever students are on computers, the irresistible urge to play games or to goof around becomes almost too hard to resist. I know this because of my experiences in internship, but also because I was high school student only 4 years ago! If I, a person who wants to become a teacher, can hardly resist the urge to exploit computers, then I can hardly expect a student to be any different.

However, that is not to say that computers are the only technology available. In fact, I think computers (specifically computer labs) are the only technology that I am at odds with. I use plenty of slideshows, videos, and other such materials to enhance my lessons. One thing not often mentioned when it comes to things like videos, or Kahoot, or anything of the sort, is that it breaks up the pace of the class. There is nothing like sitting through a thirty minute lecture, only to be greeted with a Kahoot at the end. Students will often forgive your lengthy lecture to get the opportunity to prove themselves in a Kahoot! Many studies also promote Kahoot as a great way to increase student motivation, such as this one: Case study on the gamification approach.


Photo Credit: Luigi Mengato Flickr via Compfight cc

On a different note, we were asked to give our opinion on blogging as an activity. I think it is for some people and not for others. I tend to lean into the position of it being a chore. However, I always enjoy the opportunity to rant and give opinions, therefore it isn’t all bad. Honestly, I’d rather be writing creatively than about myself. One of my favorite hobbies is to compose story ideas and create these elaborate worlds with many factions vying for control over something. Perhaps one day I’ll be asked to write a blog on that! As is, blogging is just alright my book.

Thank you for reading.

  • Garrett J. Bates