Friday, June 20, 2008

Developing student identity: values and employability skills through the use of video blogs

Andrew Oliver, Myles Dyer, Sally Graham (University of Hertfordshire)
This was really Myle's session. He's a Psychology student who has been using YouTube prolifically, outside of his studies. As the title suggests, he was making connections between the skills you can develop as a video blogger and employability. The odd thing was that as this was an educational conference he felt obliged to connect the potential of YouTube to formal education. Actually, I think he proved that this is not necessary. He described how getting out there onto YouTube has really helped him to develop his creativity and confidence - and of course he did this for himself.
Here are a few notes I made (my laptop went down so this may be slightly more considered than other posts from the conf).
He said that he felt vlogging was "the purest form of creativity" - this is extreme but very useful. Putting yourself in the limelight does really force you into an interesting situation of considering your own image, identity and context. No student with any sense is going to abuse this platform as it will quickly backfire on them if they do.
"You only realise how much you've developed when you look back" - yes this is connected to PDP. Do we talk about looking back enough? You learn as much in looking back as in recording what you are doing.
This practice "encourages creativity and active self-exploration" he says again. "Education is so black and white." Well, no it's not really, though it can be, and it can certainly be perceived in that way I'm sure. Getting your hands dirty with video certainly shifts those perceptions.
"Academic autonomy and self-direction" - Myles was very articulate and I loved the words he chose! Yes - what can we do to harness YouTube. Strangely I've had a google doc on the go for the last few months trying to answer this question. Maybe I should invite him in.
Interestingly he saw it as an opportunity to close the perceived generation gaps. This is really forward thinking I believe. He refers to the notoroius Peter (http://www.youtube.com/geriatric1927) and how he met him to do a YouTube posting together.
He said that his videos are getting 350,000 views. That's not a bad stage to learn to speak from. He posted a video called 'How to make your 1st vlog' and this generated a lot of connections for him. He describes all those people who followed this video as people "starting their own legacies."
In terms of its educational connection he described himself as being comfortable in this medium and he said that students should be able to use the medium in which they are most comfortable. There's a lot to be said for this, however it doesn't pay to operate in your comfort zone too much. Learning requires personal challenge and I think in this digital age we should all have the opportunity and expectation to explore several media.
You can see more of Myles on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtvKLtMnH4U and here is general: http://www.youtube.com/Blade376

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