This year I created a YouTube account. For the entire first week of school, to the amusement of all my students, I used all the wrong terminology. I created this channel for a couple reasons, the first, and most important is that it is an excellent teaching tool. Art lessons are taught in class, I demonstrate each step/process in front of them, live. Materials are handed out and students are expected to use the knowledge they just gained to create. Ideally, this would happen, and each student would remember everything I said, be confident in their own abilities, and get to work. Yet, something happens between the in class demonstration and when they get new materials in their hand. This something is amazing, it’s pure excitement. Combine new tools /materials, excitement with a fear of making a mistake, and questions inevitably result. Most students want to make sure they are doing each step correctly and this is where the idea of a video was born! Instead of repeating the demonstration for everyone, I simply play a video and students can follow along while they have materials in their hand. This frees me up to help the students who may need more than just a reminder! The video gets students to work more confidently and independently.
You may still be wondering why I post the videos on YouTube. The simple answer is they are accessible, not only to me, but also to my students, the administration and even parents. I usually try to post my demonstration videos before the lesson, and what happens? Students watch them, before class. They come in with prior knowledge and are empowered and confident. One student told me they wish I made more videos because then they could make more art at home- BONUS!
Aside from the classroom demonstration videos I also post Guided Drawing videos. When I asked students what they watched on YouTube they told me they watched other people play video games. What? You’re just watching, not playing? Really? That’s fun? I aged in that moment, I still don’t understand but I am trying. I made the Guided Drawing videos to reinforce the things I teach in class. One of the most important being, everything can be broken down into simple steps, everything. Long math problems, complex paragraphs and even amazing drawings can all be broken down into simple parts. Another thing Guided Drawings teach is that lines form shapes and shapes form images. Look at anything around you and you can break it down into simple shapes….then draw it. The world is full of possibilities, not limitations and I hope they discover that through art!
Oh and another reasons for YouTube, critiques! I love critiques and I challenge students to look at the world around the (art, media, movies) and question it critically. Nothing sparks students to view something more critically then asking them what I can improve upon in a video I created. They are open, have thoughtful, humorous, sometimes harsh but always honest insight. I, along with the help of my students, are becoming more YouTube savvy. I now know what subscribers are, try not to breathe to heavy and don’t make weird noises to mimic walking (I did not even know I did that). We’re all learning and improving, that’s what it is all about.