Why was You Tube invented?

What Ed and Linda said... A collaborative post about teaching media literacy.

Media literacy is the ability to analyse, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.

This is the central idea behind our latest unit of inquiry in Year 5. It’s a new unit and some of the teachers are still feeling their way, as it’s an area in which their 11-year-old students might be slightly more comfortable than they are.

By the end of the unit we hope students (and teachers) will understand…

  • what literacy means today (more than reading and writing!)
  • that media literacy is the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.
  • that there is always a message, sometimes obvious sometimes hidden.
  • that we  are influenced in many ways which we might not even be aware of.
  • the need to critically analyse and evaluate the messages in different media forms.
  • that we need to be responsible in creating content that others can see.
  • that we can get our own message across creatively.
  • that there are consequences to the messages we create.
  • that we should always be aware of the digital footprint we are creating.
  • that being informed can empower us.

The teachers designed a great provocation to tune students in. As well as class teachers, all the specialists were involved – ICT, library, art and music. We wanted to start the students thinking by bombarding them with an array of different kinds of media. The classrooms and our adjacent Learning Resource Centre were set up with laptop computers, interactive whiteboards, iPods and iPads. Included were videos, advertisements (video and still), excerpts from TV shows, music videos, books, QR codes, artwork, websites, text messages, blogs, cartoons, newspapers, magazines and emails.

The kids had to go to a range of types of media, which were colour coded to make sure they visited a few in each category. In pairs they discussed and made notes on what they saw, and what it made them think. Lots of excited chat – ‘Why is this all here?’

Back in their classrooms students reflected on what had made an impression on them, and why.

How did the provocation make you feel?

  • Overwhelmed because of the quantity and the variety of things. (Julian and Bailey)
  • Excited about the new information. (Jared and Benji)
  • Surprised how educational all the info was. (Jamie and Ethan)
  • Complex, confused but amazed (Taya)
  • Mixed emotions because there were so many messages going around (Jade and Lexi)
  • Interested as everything was different and interesting in its own way. (Chloe)
  • Fascinated by so many facts (Joel and Izzy.)
  • Appreciative because we see and use so many different forms of communication. (Alyshia)

The Year 5 team met yesterday, a few weeks into the unit, to discuss how the learning is unfolding and what direction it might take next. We looked at some of the students’ questions to assess where their understandings and interests currently lie. We were quite taken with this one:

Why was You Tube invented? (Mia)

It will be interesting to have the students unpack that particular question further. It should provide a stimulus for some wonderful thinking and discussion. What is the purpose of You Tube? How is it used? How has it evolved? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Why is it blocked in some places?

A year ago You Tube was unblocked in our school for the first time. Our students quickly became not only consumers but creators, learning to upload their own videos and embed them in class blogs. How exciting to move from consuming to creating and now to to analysing.

Would you like to participate in their inquiry? What’s your opinion? Why was YouTube invented?

6 thoughts on “Why was You Tube invented?

  1. In answer to the YouTube question. With globalization a need developed to share information with the world, much of it positive whether it is snippets of ones life past and present, tutoring, dynamic changes happening around us. On the negative side there is a kind of voyarism and curiosity about the obscene.


  2. This is my opinion from a user persepective…

    Before youtube it was actually quite hard to share video across the internet (I know because I has a baby and wanted to send video to my parents who lived in another city). The hardware and software was all very expensive, intellectual property around this stuff was protected vigourously by lawyers and the video they produced all had differenct specs e.g. frame rate, compression, frame size; and all needed different players to view each format type – and the hassles of making something on windows that couldn’t be seen on a Mac. And the file sizes were enormous.

    It was almost impossible to find freeware programs that would do conversions because the format types were all licenced and people wanting to use that format type in their conversion software had to pay a fee.

    Youtube made swapping video quite a lot easier and then once a weight of people wanted stuff that could be put on youtube then hardware and software makers had to follow and it became even easier.


  3. I feel that YouTube was invented in order to allow people from all over the world to share information and for people to share pieces of their life. They made it easier than ever before!


  4. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am enrolled in a Macro-computing in Education class, EDM310, that focuses on the importance of being literate in our ever evolving world of online technology and being able to use it in our future class rooms. This is the second time I have been assigned to comment on the whatedsaid blog and I am simply impressed by the effort you all are giving towards your student’s educations. While I am seeking a degree in Physical Education, the dedication to education that is shown by the teachers on this blog supplies me motivation to do the same. Thank you!

    In response to the YouTube question:
    Obviously YouTube was created for a place to share media, but I think the historical aspect of YouTube is interesting. I know that the website is cluttered with ridiculousness, the video with the most views is a music video from Lady Gaga, and as Ms. Sackson stated above, there are plenty of obscenities, but if you think about it, how cool it will be to have our grandchildren not only be able to read about the events that shaped our lives, but be able to watch the events that shaped our lives. YouTube is a virtual historical library of film. I think that is neat!


  5. What a wonderful question……..I dont think that Youtube was invented in the form it is now. Sometimes when innovations are set free they are adapted and changed by the people who use them. I love the word Transmogrify which means to change by magical means.
    So – maybe Youtube just grew and grew like Topsy.


  6. I hope to not kill discussion on this post, but it’s so very rare that I can offer insight to something like this on the internet, I couldn’t help but comment. Not so long ago, I used to work for two of the guys who founded YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. I was an intern and had the opportunity to not only work in the same office as they did, but to learn about how YouTube was built. I can’t spill all of the facts, but Megan (above) is spot on.

    Before they created YouTube, there was no simple way to share video on the internet. Mobile phone video had just come into play on the tech scene, but too many different formats, players, and file types existed, meaning that sharing video from any source was more of a pain than it should be. When they built YouTube, they created a unified, simple way to exchange videos. Of course, when people started uploading copyrighted material and lawsuits started, when Google acquired them, things changed, but ultimately they had no idea it would become what it is today, not a single inkling at all. They just wanted to fill a need that hadn’t been met yet, to make sharing video on the internet easier to do.

    When it comes to the cultural force that YouTube became, well… that’s all up to the users.


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