Well, it’s almost review season. Final exams, EOCs, and more are approaching! We like to help with that.
In 2017, we made a biology GIF review for class discussion. We still think it’s pretty awesome; you can check it out here.
In 2018, we made a video designed for students with some study tips.
But this year, 2019, we’ve really extended ourselves because we will be releasing a MEGA REVIEW VIDEO on Sunday, April 14th! Yes, it’s called Stroll Through the Playlist. While it’s way longer than our regular videos---as our regular videos are never over 10 minutes---it is a great way to refresh your memory of major concepts and vocabulary. It can also be a great indicator of whether you may want to re-watch the full content video for a topic or do some more in-depth studying.
One thing that is especially exciting is that we’re going to try using the YouTube Premiere feature! This means that if you join the video link at the exact time that the video premieres (4/14/2019- Sunday- at 7:30 pm CT), you’ll watch it live with us, and you can participate in the live chat typing window if you’d like.
This graphic has some info about YouTube Premiere:
A few additional things to know:
Keep in mind this is our first time to try out the new YouTube Premiere feature. We love trying new things, and we’re sure there may be some unexpected hiccups along the way. But, of course, that’s how we all grow. :)
Hope to see you on April 14th at 7:30 pm central on our Amoeba Sisters YouTube Channel!
[Additional text added March 2019]
We have a lot of gratitude for YouTube. As edu creators, it allows us to publish our video content and reach others. It allows us to build a community. And it allows others to contribute subtitles in different languages.
There are some challenges we face as edu YouTubers though. EDITING. Sometimes, after we publish a video, we receive helpful feedback that a clarification- or even an error- needs to be addressed. We are really grateful for this kind of feedback, because it helps us grow as educators. We make mistakes, but we have worked hard to cultivate our growth mindset so that we can learn from those mistakes and get even better!
And we want to model that for high school kids too, because we think that is an important life skill. Which, is why, fixing our mistakes is very important.
The only problem is that YouTube has limited ability to edit videos, and in 2016, they removed the ability to make new annotations (much to the dismay of many edu YouTubers). Also, on 1/15/2019, all existing annotations will be permanently deleted. The "cards" feature which was designed to replace the "annotations" feature unfortunately doesn't have the ability to make clarifications or address issues. So how do we handle this?
Most of the time, we are addressing a clarification or smaller scale mistake. It might be a typo. It may relate to the way we used a vocabulary word. It could be a single incorrect statement in the audio or the way we pronounced a vocabulary word. It may be related to an exception---science has a lot of exceptions! We consider something a clarification or smaller scale mistake if it does not affect the full video, but may affect a statement or component of the video that should be addressed.
So how do we handle those clarifications or mistakes? You will find it as a pinned comment! That means, it will show as the very first comment underneath the YouTube video. That allows it be front and center, and it is a popular method that many edu creators use to address those clarifications or mistakes. We remake videos every once in a while as our art and scripts improve. When we remake a video, we check the pinned comment of the old video to make sure to address those clarifications or mistakes from the past. And, don't worry, unless there is a major issue with an old video---we do not delete old videos. We want people to know how we have improved with lots and lot of practice!
[Added March 2019: YouTube now allows small clip-outs of video portions even on videos with high view counts. We have used this feature on a few older videos, and it's explained on the pinned comment for the video]
If you are an educator, we highly recommend checking out the "pinned" comment on our videos! Please also share this with students, because we want students to see that we do make mistakes. We want students to see how we handle mistakes, and we want students to feel empowered to keep going when they make mistakes too.
Unfortunately, if it's a major error that affects the main concept of the video, we remove the video and re-publish the video. It has been extremely rare, and it's definitely frustrating to do as a creator, because the link to the video is destroyed when you remove a video. We take a lot of effort to try to avoid this by double checking our facts before releasing a video. You can see our factual references in our expanded video details.
If there is no issue with a video (that we have been made aware of), we often pin supplemental information or links in our pinned comment.
As always, we thank our viewers for helping us grow as edu creators! :)
Education is changing, and the way that we reach our students may need some transformation. When we were kids, the way we did our research consisted of going to the school library to read through the alphabetized encyclopedias. Now everything is often just a "Google" away. You can learn how to change a tire or master a video game on YouTube. There are a lot of ways to consume information now; it makes sense that we're all looking for ways to transform learning for our kids to use the information to create, solve problems, and ask their own questions.
But the absolute statements in education---those generalized statements that tend to classify everything in one category ---make us wary. They are not the answer. Absolute statements tend to be used to attack all lectures, all textbooks, all worksheets, etc. These statements tend to get a lot of attention; some come with their own Twitter hashtag and maybe even a book. The trouble with these statements is that they tend to classify everything in the category it attacks as the same. "You should never use lectures." "You should never use textbooks." "You should always avoid all worksheets." Edu videos are not in these statements (yet), but they could be soon. Because just like all tools---it matters how edu videos are being used too. We find these absolute statements are just attacking a tool without asking, "How is it being used?"
Simply adding technology does not make something innovative; we all know this. But we also shouldn't innovate for the sake of innovation. We should innovate when the way something is being used no longer serves our kids as effectively. There should be a reason for transforming something besides the fact that the "something" may be an older tool or strategy.
We aren't big fans of lengthy, traditional lecture and notes. We find them time consuming, and I've found my students tune out of them after about fifteen minutes. Plus, I have a lot less time for the other things I want to do such as labs and discussions! We made our Unlectured Series with the intention of transforming traditional lecture. But you will never hear us make an absolute statement about lectures, because we know they cannot all be generalized like mine. What about storytelling? This can be such a memorable way to connect with students! Or the TED Talks we love so much? These are all ways that lecture can be used in a way that can reach students.
A paper-based or online textbook can be used in a monotonous task of having students copy vocabulary words with definitions straight from the book. Not very effective. But you know what else textbooks can be? A paper-based or online textbook could also be used as a reference tool----a peer-reviewed reference tool---that students can find useful to cite when developing their own creations such as a blog entry, story, or comic. Peer-reviewed information in science is important.
A worksheet can be used as a sheet of paper where students restate facts that involves very little learning. Such things are easily copied online or from a peer. Worksheets can be meaningless busywork. It doesn't matter if it's on paper or behind glass on a computer screen---if it's being used that same way, its potential is the same. But you know what else worksheets can be? They can be full of open ended questions. They can serve as quick exit tickets, where they can let the teacher see where his/her students may be confused. They can provide an opportunity for feedback as a formative assessment with no grade required! They can be used collaboratively: have students pair up to come up with their answers and justify with the class. P.S. On the topic of worksheets, check out these other great points on this blog post by The Nerdy Teacher!
Overall, lumping all things into a tool and calling the tool "bad" without considering how it's being used doesn't seem to make much sense to us. Any tool that is being used to help kids with the best part of science---the whole "doing" part of science including hands-on labs, discussions, creating, etc---is a win in our minds.
Ever wish you had more control over the types of ads that show up on YouTube videos, Google searches, or many websites? Your Google ad settings allow you to make some changes to how ads are personalized- or even opt out of ad personalization. https://adssettings.google.com
For those of you that love edu YouTube videos, realize that the ads you see on YouTube are based on this ad personalization. Definitely worthwhile to check this out!
As you may know, we have multiple YouTube playlists that can be very useful for students. Playlists allow videos to be organized and easily linked on a class website or LMS. We have our popular "Amoeba Sisters Biology Playlist" which features all of our up to date biology videos. We have many playlists by category (example: "Cell Structure and Function"). We even have playlists organized by reporting category, which can be especially useful for Texas teachers.
Once you create a YouTube playlist, it will ask you to title it. You can make it completely public (which would be searchable), unlisted (people need the link to see it), or private (just for you). You can continue to add videos to it (including any edu video---not just Amoeba Sisters videos) and reorder the videos in the playlist.
On many websites and platforms, playlists can even be embedded where they will look nice such as this one below! Here are instructions for how to embed a YouTube playlist (a little different than embedding an individual YouTube video).
Don't forget to encourage students to create their own study YouTube playlists for content that is challenging to them. Want some more YouTube tips? See our other post.
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