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 the ability to recognize and run with the opportunity to learn, and to constantly refresh the knowledge base. ”The complexity of rapidly changing teaching technology makes it a critical objective for practitioners to learn about the latest tools to enhance presentations in the classroom YouTube has proven itself in the last two years to be a emerging technology with strong 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 the public speaking curriculum. As part of the research, 77 undergraduate students taking a introductory talk course at Daytona Beach College (DeLand, Florida) were surveyed about using YouTube technology in the classroom


YouTube, the latest gift / threat, is a free video-sharing website that has become a wildly popular way to upload, share, view and comment on video clips. With over 100 million views a day and over 65,000 videos uploaded daily, the Web portal provides teachers with a growing amount of visual information to 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 in funding from Sequoia

Capital, the firm who also provided the 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 viewer 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 of Kansas State University Developed an Interesting Video History of The segment can be found on the website.

Impact of YouTube in the Classroom

“Growing adoption of broadband combined with dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped 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 the majority of students watch videos on a weekly basis. 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 current research on picture memory, they knew the importance of vividness. They knew that audiences were more likely to pay attention to and be persuaded by visual images. 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, business report, or public speech. even 10 years ago. ” (Bryden, 2008)

The use of visuals increases the 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 perceptive of 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 your 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 the right brain / left brain theory explains why visuals speed listener comprehension. While the left hemisphere 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 goes, “Seeing is believing.” (O’Hair, 2007) of students surveyed at Daytona Beach College indicated a preference for audio / visual supplements to oral presentations.

YouTube videos can speed comprehension and add interest. Effectively integrating a YouTube video can assist in understanding and understanding the topics under discussion. YouTube videos can also improve audience memory. Communication research findings indicate that visual images improve listener recall. YouTube videos can reduce your presentation time. An effective use of a YouTube video can help audience members to understand complex issues and ideas. Utilizing YouTube can also add to a speaker’s credibility. Professional looking visuals can enhance any verbal presentation.

Curriculum Enhancement

YouTube allows users to post videos on the site for anyone to view. Most of the material on the side is entertaining or just odd, but some important videos havefound their way onto this site. YouTube is a great source for finding video material for use in speech or as background material. . . Just as with Wikipedia and other sources where the content is not screened for accuracy, the videos you find on YouTube are only valid as the original source (Bryden, 2008)

All too often beginning speakers fail to consider the details of using video in a speech. Simply because they have access to a means of showing video, beginning speakers should consider the following issues:

* Cueing the video segment before beginning the presentation
* Checking room lighting, visual distance, and acoustics
* Evaluating the time it takes to introduce, show, and integrate the video segment with the remaining content of the presentation

The value of YouTube technology for public speaking courses falls into three categories: lecture presentations, integrated use in student speeches, and sample speech evaluation.

YouTube has value for enhancing lecture discussions on various public speaking topics and issues. 74% of students surveyed indicated that they prefer to watch a video during a presentation. Public speaking instructors struggle to find timely examples and illustrations. I recently utilized a speech found on YouTube that was delivered to Columbia University students by Lee Bollinger, president of the university. President Bollinger gave a speech introducing the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on September 24, 2007. I utilized this YouTube speech as a case study to analyze speech ethics. President Bollinger was involved in a number of ethical issues in the selection of a controversial speaker for the university and his use of vitriolic language in his presentation introducing the Iranian president. My classes enjoyed a lively discussion of speech ethics following his presentation.

YouTube has value for integration in student speeches. Daytona Beach College students were asked: “What is the greatest value of using an internet video during a speech?

* It gives the audience a better visual and can help them relate to the topic.
* It makes the audience more interested.
* Some audiences need visuals to understand the topic.
* It helps you connect to the audience.
* puts some “umph” into the speech ..
* its good for proving arguments.
* can say something better than you can.

Students are required in basic public speaking classes to utilize visuals to enhance the quality of information shared and to capture the attention of their audience. A brief YouTube segment can enhance the quality of a presentation. For example, I recentlylistened to a speech on global warming.

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