VVY: Internet Video Showdown

The explosion of internet video is probably the best thing to happen on the Internet since the last explosion of something equally radical (Chocolate Rain anyone?). There are so many good video sites out there, and any serious company/website worth its weight in binary has video to show. Heck, even The Home Depot gets this.

So, with so much video content out there, what’s a teacher to do?  How does one navigate through the sea of available videos or use a video service that is right for school?  Here are my three favorite (and semi-obvious) sites and why.

Feel free to listen to YYZ while reading VVY, it makes this post that much more Rush-tastic.

Vimeo

If you’ve never used or properly explored Vimeo and you love video/film, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.  Vimeo is the most beautiful video site out there.  The quality of the videos found on Vimeo is so high, its almost intimidating.  I think of Vimeo as the hottest girl at school:  you really, really want to go out with her, but you’re too intimidated to ask her out, so you play minesweeper on Windows 95 by yourself at home.  (Author’s note: I believe I married the most beautiful woman on the planet, and yet I still don’t use Vimeo.  Hmmm.  Enigma.)  At it’s worst, Vimeo offers gorgeous HD videos you won’t be able to use in class.  At it’s best, it’s an indie film making channel.  While there may be some great videos out there to use in a day to day class, the types of video Vimeo offers are a little more niche.  I could easily see this used as a platform for a AV or film class or after school group, or if there was an in-depth project that didn’t need a lot of sharing.

Viddler

Viddler is the middle child placed squarely between Vimeo and YouTube.  It doesn’t have the quality film making of Vimeo nor does it have the widespread appeal and ease of use as YouTube.  That being said, it’s still useful and definitely handles uploading video content extremely well.  One thing I really like about Viddler viewers can make video comments at specific points during a video, and it’s really easy to do.  I experimented with this idea last year when I made a video about the Constitution as an intro to that unit.  For a few extra credit points, I had students comment on the video to see what happened.  Comments came slowly at first, but after they saw how much fun their peers were having, they wanted their face on the video.

(To see the video with student comments and interaction, click here)

Although there are some videos on Viddler that could be used in the classroom, I would use Viddler more for controlling the end result and for student interaction.  Unlike YouTube, it’s nice that you don’t have to deal with annoying links or adds from videos totally unrelated to the video you’re showing or videos that may be inappropriate.

YouTube

There’s not a lot that can be said about the behemoth that hasn’t been said or explored already.  There are a million obvious pros:

  1. Students (usually) know how to use it.
  2. It’s pretty easy to upload to.
  3. There is tons of content.
  4. Videos can easily be shared.

Personally, the biggest advantage of using YouTube over one of these other services is how easy it works with existing student Google accounts.  Student’s can make their own YouTube account and have it share a log in with their Google account, which makes it really convenient to post YouTube videos to other sources like a Google Doc, Site, Presentation, etc.  Requiring a student to use YouTube is a lot easier than teaching them to navigate through Vimeo or Viddler.

All video services have their pros and cons.  You really can’t go wrong with any of these three services, though in a pinch, I’d probably take YouTube just for it’s easy of service and content with Viddler a close second for it’s on video interaction ability.

What do you use?  Is there a great service out there I’m missing?  Let me know, drop a line.

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Screenr: Breakfast of Champions

Screenr is to screencasting as Eggo Waffles are to breakfast.  Easy to use, and something you’ll want to share with everyone.  O.k., maybe you don’t want someone toe leggo your Eggo, but you’ll definitely want someone to leggo your Screenr. There’s not a lot to like about this free, java ran, web based screencaster.

  • Sign in with your Twitter account?  Check.
  • Easy to use with a Mac or PC?  Check, check.
  • Plays on the web (or even on an iPhone/iTouch)? Check, check, check.
  • Free?  Booya.

There are tons of applications for the use of screenr in the classroom.  I used it most recently to embed into my Moodle site a screenr I made about how to peer edit using Google Docs.   So easy.

About the only thing Eggos have over Screenr is are syrup hording craters.  Once Screenr figures that out, game over.