Last week Sarah Allen inquired about a James Farmer video (knowing we have a rich collection of media of this Civil Rights leader) for her Culture, Context, and Composition class. The particular video she requested was Farmer’s debate with Malcolm X, and I had not come across it in my sojourns to the archives, so I recommended she ask Carolyn Parsons (the campus archivist) if she might know of anything and left it at that.
Yesterday, I met with Sarah for a different matter all together. She’s currently a Teaching and Learning Technology Fellow (for more on this read Gardner’s post here) and we scheduled a meeting to pimp out her WordPress blog (something I enjoy tremendously). We installed the OneClick Installer plugin on her personal WordPress blog so that she can harness the unbelievable power of this amazing publishing platform with one click (Fanboy to the bone 🙂 ). We used it to install Spam Karma, Subscribe to Comments, and then I recommended Viper’s Video Quicktags for easily including videos on her blog.
After that we tested the plugins, and when we came to Viper’s Quicktags we went over to YouTube and I recommended she search for a video related to something she was teaching. She searched for “James Farmer and Malcolm X” and lo and behold what shows up? That’s right, three videos featuring the debate between these two historical figures. How could I have been so stupid? Why didn’t I recommend YouTube to Sarah a week earlier when she was searching for this resource? I spend most of my days there, it is the most amazing resource for everything (including teaching and learning) and I guess it’s a lesson even I have to learn again and again.
What was particularly cool this time around though, was that I think Sarah might have learned this lesson right along with me. For while she couldn’t show the debate in class yesterday because our discovery came two hours too late, it is now neatly embedded in her class blog for everyone to watch and comment on. Moreover, she seems to be experimenting with YouTube on her own blog with some other fascinating intellectual content.
It has been said before, and I’ll say it again here: YouTube is the most powerful example of how these small pieces can be so easily and effectively joined for a teaching and learning context. And what publishing platform loves YouTube more than WordPress?