My Own Tidal Wave

big_waveNow I know what Meatloaf felt like.

I am, of course, referring to the singer and not the dish (I dislike one of the two…).  I was referring to in his song, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, when he sings the about feeling overwhelmed and a tidal wave of emotion overcomes him.  My tidal wave is different.  But the analogy is the same.  And I can thank George Couros (@gcouros) for that swell of thought and inspiration.

This week, the University of Lethbridge Education Undergrad Society organized anti-bullying week (#bethechangeuleth), and of the many presenter and speakers organized, George was one of them. I have had the opportunity to hear him speak once before for our school district PD day.  As always, George’s presentation was engaging, inspiring, alarming, inquisitive and refreshing.  And during several points during the presentation, I felt myself asking myself “why don’t I do that? or “what would the impact be on learning in my class if I..?”.  So many questions, so many thoughts.

And the waters began to rise.

But what struck me most during the presentation was not so much the content of the presentation – although it was really good, don’t get me wrong! -nor what was it the draw of the speaker.  I was actually more enamoured with YouTube.  I know!  YouTube.  I was watching the presentation videos with the smile of a child on Christmas morning.

I had been swallowed by the seas of sharing.

At that moment, I had a moment of clarity and excitement.  Here was a site that most of us, I am sure, take for granted each day and visit the site probably as often as we do Google.  But as I watched, what suddenly dawned on me was the power of this website.  The sheer amount of sharing and collaboration that was born through and on this site that the entire world has access to and contributes to daily.  The stats from YouTube are staggering:

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network

(Statistics retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html on October 19, 2013)

Dare I say, but this is the most powerful site alive and active on the Internet today.  How am I utilizing this site with my students in my classroom?  in what ways are students sharing and learning in my classroom through this incredible portal?  How can I promote and establish connections through the website, as well as outside of the website, to develop global collaboration?  In what way am I personalizing my own experience of YouTube?

The joy of sharing by so many people and being able to see the kindness, creativity, awesomeness, fear, concern, amazement, collaboration, love, passion, hatred and support of so many people in so many countries with so much to share gave me goosebumps.  Honestly!  YouTube really is an amazing creation when you think about it.