YouTube and the Age of Learning

There is nonstop change taking place in the world of learning today, and this change is taking place on many fronts and in many ways.

Home schooling is catching on as an alternative to the Enlightenment ideal of public education, substituting customized one-on-one attention and instruction for the mass approach of the former. As the computer revolution and the Internet have undone the industrial age and its corollary – mass advertising via media of television, radio, newspaper and film – it has now enabled the same revolution of individuation in the classroom – or rather by turning your average living room into same.

Online learning is another big-and-getting-bigger all the-time development. The Technology Age, with its micro-management of time, leaves us woith less and less time to get in our car, drive to campus, sit in one or more classrooms in the course of a day and then make the long, drive home. The solution is the internet.

Then, vis a vis the demand for new and more modern pedagogic venues and milieu, there was – and is – YouTube. Its potential as an educational platform is almost unlimited. YouTube has become a global classroom; offering millions of tutorials in all subjects. This Google-owned website is not necessarily a threat to the traditional, human-directed classroom. By giving the actual human teacher a digital library that contains thousands and thousands of sources of of instructional material, it expands that teacher’s instructional repertoire to a degree that was unimaginable in the age of brick-and-mortar (libraries) only! No longer are we limited to the severe restrictions imposed on the material-based. infinitely more cumbersome channel of print. Millions of copies of an online journal can be transmitted via cable or airwave that will end up on millions of television screens with much less muscle power and much greater control – not to mention “muscle power” – than would be required for the delivery of those millions of editions in printed form.

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The uses and applications of television are widespread. It can be used as a priceless source of instruction or as a broadcasting channel for the most salubrious and mindless content. Until the invention and spread of the internet, numbers ruled. The high cost of operating a television network in the pre-internet days ensured that competition was kept to a minimum. “Numbers” demanded sufficient ROI for programming content, and the choice of same was as often based on quantity as on quality. The fiscal break-even point in the days of analog broadcasting often seemed to demand that television programming be pitched to the lowest common denominator, since advertisers paid for the number of viewers, not the quality of whatever it was that they were watching.

No more. The number of tutorials on subjects as diverse as  how to stretch canvas for artist, on the one hand, and the care and feeding of your Iguana – on the other – are viewed as a matter of course now all over the world. It may be that 90% of all time spent online now (2016)is spent viewing videos, not text.

The Age of Learning is here.
YouTube is no small part of it!



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