Sunday, 6 January 2013

'Vlogging': Digitizing the Personal to Educate the Public

Some may look at the title of this post and wonder what vlogging is. This post will explore the meaning and use of vlogging, and how this could be applied in an educational setting.



Firstly vlogging, quite like blogging is the activity of keeping a log of information via the medium of video. It has been used, essentially, as a video diary. This medium has become very popular on social media sites, such as YouTube.

Although its main occurrence appears to be in the United States, us Europeans are now getting in on the action.  An example which stood out when I was investigating occurrences of vlogging, was of the Irish couple, Jonathan and Anna Saccone-Joly, who vlog every single day, and have done so for the past two and a half years. This has included their wedding, the pregnancy and birth of their daughter Emilia, along with daily occurrences in their lives such as walking their dogs.


 Although this seems like a very intrusive idea, and some may well think that it is, it has benefits in terms of its application in an educational setting. After all, it has been very beneficial to the Saccone-Joly's, who are now YouTube Network Partners, and make their living from these videos.

I am not suggesting that we all bring our cameras along to school or college everyday to vlog the experience, but for group projects, presentations and much more, this could prove to be a useful tool for the dissemination of knowledge. Digital Humanities is all about the application of media tools within our education, so why not live by this motto in a more literal sense. It could also prove to be an essential element of publicising the work which is being done in the Digital Humanities sector.

An interesting site to have a look at is TubeTeaching. This site is run by Dr. Chareen Snelson from the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University. Snelson runs a course called YouTube for educators, which applies the principles of vlogging to education.

Another site which advocates the use of vlogging for educational purposes is the desktop video section on about.com. This section looks at the benefits of video blogging for teachers.

The Benefits:

  • Educational activities: By letting students record and edit video you are teaching them valuable technological and artistic skills. It’s a fun and low pressure way for kids to become comfortable with electronics and computers.
  • Better communication: A vlog is a great way to let parents see what’s going on at the school and in your classroom.
  • A visual record: A vlog can be considered a video portfolio of the work that goes on in your classroom. It’s a concrete demonstration of your skills and those of your students, which can be beneficial for promoting the school or during teaching reviews.
These advantages are geared towards primary and secondary level students, but one could argue that they are also applicable in a third level environment.

I don't know if I have the confidence to pilot such a scheme single-handedly, but the use of vlogging could be rewarding for analysing the experience within a group project.


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