Sneaking up on YouTube

This post is in reference to a flipped classroom YouTube channel I proposed a couple months ago.

I’m excited, I’m intimidated, I’m having trouble breathing over here, folks. Can flipping and extending the skills-based learning “from class time to online” engage children and benefit their classroom inquiry? The massive amount of learning I had to do to get to this point is desperate to find out.

I’m always after my students to focus on the planning first, but it’s not easy to be thorough when the fun stuff comes after. I realized in my previous post where I made a video discussing games-based learning that there is a lot more to creating quality content than sitting in front of a camera and hitting record. First step, research. I decided to start by investigating some of the YouTube channels that I like, that are successful, and that are popular with kids. I also threw in some questionable “how to” videos for good measure.

A few of my observations:

  • Content is more important than quality. Giving your audience what they want, when they want, is more important than any fancy effects, camera work, or presentation skills.
    (This is what I am most struggling with in the beginning)
  • Keep it short, focused. According to this article, the average length of a “most-watched” YouTube video is under 5 minutes, with a maximum under 10 minutes.
  • Intro logos, music, etc. should be less than 5 seconds. Get to the point.
  • Popular children’s YouTube channels stay focused on fun, the learning can happen in the background. Include silly or unpredictable moments.
    Unlike teaching a class, audience attention isn’t mandatory. Viewer engagement is priority number one.
  • Presenters should be relaxed and natural, speaking directly to the camera in a non-formal conversational tone unless engaged with an activity.
    It’s not a formal interview, slideshow presentation, or a news desk (unless that’s what you’re going for).
  • Creative credit and copyright is a big deal on YouTube, and bots will flag your content for infringement regardless of citations, even if your use of content falls under “fair use principles“.
    • “In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.” (Rich Stim, Stanford Library, Copyright and Fair Use, 2010)

I realized then that my personal YouTube account where I’ve posted the odd travel video or online course content wasn’t going to be appropriate for my intended audience. I didn’t think my teacher-y photos would hook in kids, or properly represent the content I had been planning. I literally went back to “the drawing board” and tried to sketch out my ideas.

20170125_134019IMG_0899  Screenshot (9)

Whiteboard rough draft to virtual whiteboard tracing. That got a little bit rough, so I grabbed the parts I liked and upgraded to Photoshop. I surveyed some students and teachers regarding names and, although I’m a long way from perfect, I think I’ve settled on a “brand” identification for the content that balances the education and entertainment aspects.

What do you think of this concept?

Youtube Header snip

Mister Matt Makes, a YouTube channel for making things, exploring apps and gadgets, playing games and practicing technology based skills that support learning in school.

I’d love to hear your feedback as I prepare for the next step: my first video.



Follow @matthewdolmont

One Reply to “Sneaking up on YouTube”

  1. Hey Mr. Matt (of Mr. Matt Makes),

    This all sounds extraordinary!

    I love the idea of you making a YouTube channel with your own content and also think it was fantastic in your post how you analysed kids’ videos. Seems like you have some good data to work with and to help you get started on your own channel!

    Thanks for walking through how to make a banner as well! Did you start on the whiteboard, then Explain Everything? and switched to Photoshop? I too have found that the hand and a pen are the best way to get started on creative projects.

    Best of luck in your endeavours and can’t wait to see the first video!


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