Google's Dream Teachers are getting big hits on YouTube, but most students and many teachers can't see them
Musician and producer Jazzy B, a Jami's Dream teacher and now a mentor at his local London school, paid tribute to teachers and the importance of ICT for learning and teaching when he presented Google's winning Dream Teachers with their awards (£3,000 each and £7,000 for each of their schools for their winning YouTube videos).
But Google's UK boss Matt Brittin revealed a major company concern: that despite widespread acceptance of the importance of video for learning and teaching, "YouTube is blocked for 87 per cent of students and 52 per cent of teachers".
Jazzy B, who made the presentations (full list of winners and all videos here at "Seven teachers get Jamie prizes for 'dream answers'"), revealed that he has enrolled as a mentor at a local school as a result of his experience as a teacher on Channel 4's Jamie's Dream School programme. "I know that teaching, having had a little spurt myself, is obviously a very, very difficult task," he said. "And I know from my personal experiences. being involved in Dream School, what a challenge it is, so I take my hat off to all the teachers here today and I do personally believe you are the heroes out there.
"With the aid of technology I was able to deal with my classroom quite appropriately. Coming through the education system as I did, it was mainly chalk and blackboard. We didn't have all the computers and the niceness and niceties that happened during Dream School. I want to applaud all the teachers here today because I do honestly believe that you are the heroes. and, believe it or not, teaching is something that I tried to do many years ago – couple of weeks at Loughborough University, before deciding that it was all rather too intense for myself."
He said he was 'honoured" to be giving out the awards. although he was used to "a bit more rock and roll". He added that his social studies teacher had given him "most of the tools to go ahead in my professional life", and he asked: "Without you where would people like myself be?"
Jazzy B was convinced of the important role of ICT for learning: "It's pretty incredible that nowadays we have technology to aid us and I know that in my particular classroom lessons it made life really easy for me. It was a way of trying to get some of the children engaged in the specific lessons, and when I had difficulty with particular students I'd often 'banish' them off to their computers and then they would be working on Google sites and YouTube etc." He was particularly impressed by the teachers' videos and the different tactics they employed to engage learners.
Coming from a technology-rich background, did he feel that ICT was essential for schools? "Absolutely – in any of the more progressive lessons it is equally important because of the times in which we are living. We're talking about engaging the kids. I'm from a chalk and blackboard age as it were, and now we are living in an age full of technologies. My children do a lot of their homework online, and just the fact that you can type in some information and get an answer is, I find, encouraging. A lot of students just don't have that kind of thing. So for me, I think IT is a major factor and it's something that should be taken on a little bit more seriously, particularly in schools where I believe it can also help to make things far more efficient."
Google research shows teachers appreciate the power of video for learning
The growing importance of video for learning and teaching was now by and large accepted, said Google UK "headmaster" Matt Brittin. "What we've found from research is that 87 per cent of teachers say that video helps them reinforce or expand their lessons, 76 per cent say that using video helps them address a much more varied set of learning styles, 75 per cent say that it increases student motivation. So the use of video in the classroom is seen as something powerful. We've got a problem because YouTube is blocked for 87 per cent of students and 52 per cent of teachers."
The Dream teachers video had attracted a lot of attention he said. "Hundreds of teachers entered and hundreds of videos were uploaded... The YouTube channel has been accessed more than 400,000 times so far, and this is just the beginning, and the videos more than 100,000 times. There was a huge audience for all the entrants and the winning entries in particular."
"And also we are going to ask the winners to help us at YouTube to unlock the power of video in teaching. We want to find ways of making appropriate YouTube content more available in schools to help you do that . And we want to work with our winners to make materials work better in classroom."
Award-winner David Rogers (pictured above with Jazzy B and Google UK boss Matt Brittin), who is head of geography at Priory School Specialist Sports College in Portsmouth, had an awards double whammy. He has also won the Teacher Blog of the Year Award at the Education Blog Awards 2011 (see "Top school bloggers 'of astonishing quality'")