I learned about this site from Wesley Fryer, who learned about it from Richard Byrne, who actually learned about it from ReadWriteWeb. I know there are a lot of YouTube apprehensive educators who are concerned with some of the content of videos that appear on YouTube, so I thought I’d share. Personally, I would rather be around when students stumble upon the kinds of things we don’t want them stumbling upon, because, let’s face it; they’re going to stumble upon it at some point in time. Being in a safe environment when this happens opens up the conversation on what to do when these kinds of things happen. However, I also understand that some lessons are time sensitive and teachers may not have the luxury to sidestep a lesson. Thus, this post.
What is WatchKnow?
Taken from the About section on the WatchKnow website:
“Imagine hundreds of thousands of great short videos, and other media, explaining every topic taught to school kids. Imagine them rated and sorted into a giant Directory, making them simple to find. WatchKnow–as in, ‘You watch, you know’–is a non-profit online community devoted to this goal.”
The site is the creation of Larry Sanger, the co-founder of WikiPedia and it gathers videos mainly from YouTube, but also from sites like National Geographic and organizes them into searchable categories and age ranges. WatchKnow is people-dependent and at launch, most of the videos on the site were added by teachers. There is a leader board which lists the most robust posters and, at the time of this writing, a 4th grade teacher named Teresa Hopson is in the lead with 3,048 submissions.
One thing I really like is that the related videos that you normally get after watching a YouTube video have been removed (at least all the ones that I previewed were) because often, the “related videos” have nothing to do with what you just watched and sometimes the content is questionable.
Apparently, YouTube is blocked in many schools in the states. If this is the case at your school, WatchKnow will also not work. Fortunately for you, Richard Byrne has posted 30+ Alternatives to YouTube.