The Virus is Spreading

Television commercials, radio advertisements, mass mailings, door-to-door knocking, staged stump speeches before a media crew . . . that’s so 20th century campaigning.

Fast-forward to the post-modern (YouTube) viral video era. Careers are made and destroyed on YouTube (e.g. Michael Richards, Britney Spears, some teachers, etc.), political candidates reach a new generation of voters, clergy minister to tech-savvy congregations, and every one of our students is a potential director of his/her own story.

So, just who is fueling this viral video pandemic?  The answer may surprise you.  I read an article in the Morning Call about Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and his Lenten YouTube ministry campaign. 

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia hopes to add salvation to the seemingly
endless list of things Internet surfers can find on YouTube.

Just clicks away from videos of scantily clad women and stupid pet
tricks, the archdiocese has started posting weekly Lenten messages from
Cardinal Justin Rigali on the popular video-sharing site. His first
video got nearly 13,000 views as of Thursday afternoon.

The archdiocese got the idea after having success streaming video on
its Web site. Officials believe the archdiocese is one of the first
Catholic church groups to use the forum in such a way, spokeswoman
Donna Farrell said.


I surfed over to YouTube and did a double-take; the Catholic Church is on YouTube and the First Sunday of Lent video was viewed 14,772 times?

This is no passing fad; consider the implications of the following (by the way, this is by no means a reflection of my personal political views just as the previous clip was not an attempt on my part to project my religious views)

The excitement generated by John Edwards’ YouTube declaration was ground-breaking.  Other candidates rushed to enlist scores of vloggers to support their viral video campaigns.  Just as Howard Dean’s foray into the blogosphere changed online political campaigning forever, so, too, will John Edwards’ vlog. 

YouTube has created a dedicated a channel to campaign 2008: You Choose ’08 Face the Candidates on YouTube.  As of March 3, 2007 9:00 PM EST:

  • Hillary Clinton joined YouTube and began posting campaign material 7 months ago, has 11 videos online, and 12,577 views.
  • Barack Obama joined YouTube and began posting campaign material 5 months ago, has 21 videos online, and 59,042 views.
  • John Edwards joined YouTube and began posting campaign material 11 months ago, has 22 videos, and 20,387 views.
  • Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Dennis Kucinich all joined 1 week ago.  McCain has posted the most videos, but Giuliani has the most views.

Talk about the democratizing nature of Web 2.0 . . . I would wager that we are seeing the democratic process evolve at broadband speed.

Okay, that was a roundabout way to get into the real point of this posting.

With the raging popularity of viral video in the past year, it is not surprising that enterprising programmers are rushing to develop open-source video editors.

I have been using digital storytelling in my classroom for over five years.  The biggest obstacle was always that there were a limited number of computers that had a video editor installed.  Actually, in a school of over 1,000 students, we had only THREE computers that ran Pinnacle Systems Studio DV.  I know you may be wondering why, in a Windows district, did we purchase a video editor instead of using Windows Movie Maker for free?  Well, my district decided to remove the program that was already installed on our 2000 and XP machines.  Go figure . . .

The hardware issue severely limited the number of classes that had access to the three computers (which, by the way, were housed in separate locations).  Thus, few teachers were inclined to take the time to learn how to implement digital storytelling in their courses.

There are now a host of open-source video editors that do pretty much most of what one gets with iMovie, Movie Maker, and other similar programs.  The two that I have used with my students are Eyespot and Jumpcut.

TechCrunch released a comprehensive review of various open-source video editing applications including Eyespot and Jumpcut.  Thanks to Steve Dembo for posting the link to this article on his Discovery Educator Network Digital Passports blog.  Steve prefers Jumpcut, but I am partial to Eyespot because of all their media partners that offer their music, video, and images for mashups and other personal editing.

So, if you were thinking about trying out some digital storytelling in your class, the time is right.

I’d love to hear how other teachers are using digital storytelling in their classes.



Related posts

One Comment;

  1. Jennifer Dorman said:

    Sorry, everyone. I just realized that many of you probably can’t access the embedded YouTube videos from school.

Comments are closed.