Read This: YouTube hits 2 bn daily downloads

"We are a stage and we give everyone in the world an opportunity to participate and that is being a video platform for creating a solution for people to not only upload and distribute their videos on a global basis but to find and share videos."

via news.bbc.co.uk

This article, which describes YouTube's role in the developing media ecology, carries real implications for learners, doesn't it?

After all, people are increasingly creating their own content and consuming content created by others. The filter for publishing—which was always the cost involved in owning the tools of publication—have been completely removed. Today, no one needs to ask for permission to have a voice.

And while I love that freedom—heck, 10 years ago, I would never have had 1,200 people listening to my thoughts about teaching and learning—it also means that the quality controls that once provided a measure of assurance that the content we were consuming were semi-reliable are now completely gone.

That means we're going to stumble across an increasingly large quantity of biased and inaccurate information in our online travels. Because anyone can have a voice, anyone can push their own positions and pass them off as fact. The "nonfiction" content that we're consuming is far more persuasive and slanted today than it has ever been.

Now, as long as we're preparing students for this new reality—as long as we're teaching them how to identify reliable sources and how to spot the bias in the content that they're consuming—we'll be fine in this new media world.

I'm just worried that those lessons are not being delivered in most American classrooms. Our kids see the Internet as an efficient way to gather facts instead of as a trap for opinions.

Does any of this make sense to you?

3 thoughts on “Read This: YouTube hits 2 bn daily downloads

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  2. Bill Ferriter

    Chris wrote:
    Personally, I don’t really see the Internet as the end of (or even a dilution of) good old “reliable” information.
    I definitely think that you and I are pretty close in our positions, Chris….and I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that the only reliable information online was that which is created by the major news networks!
    The common ground in our positions is that our kids need to be taught to question everything that they consume, no matter where they consume it from. There’s far more opinion available now than ever before—both from “legitimate” publishers and us amateur types.
    The difference in our positions, though, is that I don’t think everyone online takes the same wholesome conversation “give-and-take” attitude towards their posts.
    I’m a firm believer that there are more people fighting ideological wars online than ever before. Their goal isn’t to engage in dialogue, but instead to spread intentional misinformation—and their efforts are working simply because the average American is too lazy to sniff out the truth.
    If we can get that message across—that intentional misinformation is more common than you may think, which requires an entirely different approach to consuming content—then our democracy will thrive.
    If not, we’re screwed!
    Does this make sense,
    Bill

  3. Chris Fritz

    Bill, I agree with your main point – that students need to learn to think critically about the information they consume. I disagree however, wiith the idea that some sources are inherently “reliable” and that we have to teach students to recognize them. I think any source has to be scrutinized. Every person (and especially every group) has their own motivations, biases, and experiences that color everything they say.
    Personally, I don’t really see the Internet as the end of (or even a dilution of) good old “reliable” information. The mainstream TV news stations pump out more crap than anyone – yet that’s still the primary source of knowledge about the world for many (if not most) people. If anything, the Internet is helping people stand up and say, “This is ridiculous! Let’s turn off the TV and think for ourselves. Let me know if you think I’m wrong, provide alternate points of view, question my data, offer something better, and in that way, we’ll continue the conversation and reach a greater understanding.” It’s the democratization of knowledge.

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