schooltube

June 9, 2006

I got hooked on the mentos-diet coke experiments on youtube a little while ago. Where people, often kids, slide packs of mentos into a liter-bottle of diet coke and then scatter as brown, foamy liquid shoots into the air. Watching fifteen-foot-long plumes of diet coke and hearing the requisite laughs and exclamations of wonder just never gets old for me, apparently.

Apart from the humor, though, in those video clips, I came to appreciate over time the ways in which kids would experiment. Not content just to do the same thing over and over again (like I had been with my baking soda and vinegar volcano in sixth grade), these kids actually change the variables. Does this work with regular coke, they wonder? How about diet pepsi? Does the temperature of the diet coke matter? The kids in the videos hypothesize, test their hypothesis, then record the results. In point of fact, they’re demonstrating the kind of scientific methodology I’d tried to get my first and second graders to employ those many years ago when I taught early childhood. But without prodding from any teacher.

Now, I’m no advocate of technology for technology’s sake. I’d much rather see kindergarteners building with blocks and interacting with other carbon-based life forms than eyeballing pixels. And I believe that teachers need to have solid, defensible reasons for why they would use technology to support their teaching and their students’ learning. But I’ve started this blog because I do think that changes in media, through technology, are changing what it means to be literate. And if what it means to be literate is changing — maybe has already changed — then I want to pay attention to the places where it’s possible to examine the examples, and potential implications, of those changes. Like youtube.

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One Response to “schooltube”

  1. Mr WordPress Says:

    Hi, this is a comment.
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