Wednesday, July 12, 2017

YouTube Academy for Teachers Blogpost - Day Three

It came to an end - as all good things must do (bad things, as well, but we’re happy to see the back of the the bad things ….. good things are those we would like to prolong….like the YouTube Academy.)

The final day of the YT Academy began by watching and critiquing some of the movies we produced for homework over the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for all of them, but we learned from each others' successes and failures.

After watching each others' YouTube baby-steps, we were transported to hard-core YouTubing with another super-inspiring YouTuber; one who has found her own way to grow a humongous following who bask in her “little peaceful crafting galaxy” of miniatures, despite the fact that her face never appears in her YouTubes. With 480,319 subscribers and 141,831,876 views, the intelligent and talented Helena has built a tiny empire on YouTube - PipeCleanerCrafts B, one which entertains children (mostly girls, I think)  who are enchanted watching her fingers as they build miniature worlds for dolls. She spoke to us about the different, calculated decisions she took. She explained why she decided not to include visuals with her face (although not including one’s face is known to be a detractor, statistically), which languages she presents in (and which she does NOT, and why), and how she runs her channel to take advantage of it to the max; making her passion work for her. Helena illustrated the influence of high-quality, successful competitors from whom to learn; and how analyzing each other helps them each to grow. Her channel is truly an admirable labor of love, and we were lucky to have her to share her odyssey with us.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Anat Szekely continued in her ongoing task over the three-day YouTube Academy for Teachers’ adventure, to enrich us with the ins and outs of branding our channels, optimizing and promoting our movies using Search English Optimization (SEO).  She spoke all sorts of gobbledygook, and slowly but surely, ideas are starting to fall into place. Metadata, thumbnails (and the significance thereof), titles, using Trends and keywords, taking advantage of statuses, subtitles, end screens and finally: (drumroll) Analytics. This is an art in itself, one I need to play around with in order to get my head around it.  There are templates and tricks of the trade that are worth researching more deeply. For that I need time: time to experiment, time to get my hands dirty and time to digest.

The always-inspiring Liat Ben Rafael, (albeit without her adorable pooch this time) left her impression on us regarding branding (This Brand is Me).I believe it was she who shared the brilliant Oscar WIlde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”   The most important thing for success is the person YOU are, the person YOU bring to YouTube, THAT is who people can identify with. And the message that resounded throughout the YT Academy days: watch other YouTubers, learn from them, try to analyze what they bring to the network, but in the end, we each need to find our OWN voices, our OWN messages. If we can bring ourselves to our audience, being passionate about what we want to convey, we have a chance of being noticed .

What I also realized is that there is an entire YouTube Universe out there about which I know only the very smallest speck.

These are the questions that Liat recommended we all go home, sit down and answer for ourselves in our quest for finding our inner YouTuber: our own personal brand-o-meter, if you will:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What are my values?
  3. What are my passions?
  4. What are my characteristics?
  5. What are my advantages?
  6. What are the weird things about me? (What makes me different)
  7. What are my aims? Motivations?
  8. Where will I be in 5,10, 20 years?
  9. Who am I?

Anna from Google Europe hungout with us after lunch to talk about the topic of Monetization on YouTube, further helping us pinpoint ways to draw audience attention.
Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Asaf presented 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube:
  1. Shareability
  2. Conversation
  3. Interactivity
  4. Consistency
  5. Targeting
  6. Sustainability (this one is THE biggest biggie as far as I am concerned)
  7. Discoverability
  8. Accessibility
  9. Collaboration
  10. Inspiration - does this come from a place of genuine inspiration?

Image may contain: 4 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis

Finally, Bar Umansky - our dedicated unicorned GEG leader who could not participate in person, beamed in to talk about where we are and where we are headed as a community of YouTubers.  

There was so much to digest from these three days, that my head is still spinning; my heart still racing.

The three days ended with champagne and cupcakes; diplomas and tears. We were presented with certificates, and some tools of our new trade (tripod and selfie-sticks with remote controls) to give us a leg-up, and left with even more questions than we had before (which is a good thing - because without questions, we would never start looking for the answers).

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing
Photo by Liron Cohen Aviv

I embarked on this journey, planning to open a channel of “Do Nows” or “Challenges” that a teacher can turn on at any time during the lesson, when they feel that their class needs a "brain break", to have students do a short, fun activity. I even created my sample YouTube clip for it, and am very proud of myself for being brave enough to share my abject failure-of-a-first-attempt, here:

I learnt SO much from doing this! After all, Google’s 8th Principle for Innovation is: 8. FAIL WELL “Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride.” And I did!

The audio of the clip is awful, I talk as if I’m addressing 4-year-olds (which would be ok if my audience were actually 4-year-olds rather than teenagers), the horizon (line of the couch behind me) isn’t straight, the timer I managed to capture is traumatic, and most importantly - the MOST profound failure that came out of this- was that I realized that this is not something I am passionate enough about, or even experienced enough at. I SHOULD be doing more of these kinds of methodological brain breaks in my lessons, but I do not.

Producing this total failure gave me the opportunity to experiment with a few editing programs. I learned a LOT about why I need to buy a lapel mic (to hone in on what I WANT the viewer to hear rather than sounds of the fan/the air conditioning/ the snoring dog, etc.) and probably invest in some good lighting solutions. But most importantly - the very element that will tip the scales of whether or not this becomes an extended journey which I decide to take upon myself, or just a short vacation: I think I figured out my passion. But that will have to wait for my next blogpost.

I can’t close this without thanking all those a Google, but especially the trio: Yael, Anat and Bar, who made this profound learning experience possible for the 30 educators from all around Israel who were fortunate enough (and dedicated enough) to participate. Those 30 colleagues have become the best support group EVER!

Digitally yours,


If you missed the blogposts from Days 1 and 2, come visit my main blog page! And if you are interested in learning more about my YouTube channel-to-be, or Digital Pedagogy, please be sure to subscribe to this blog! :-)

Photo on camera by Liron from Google.
Photo of camera by Keren Gottlieb Eis

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