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There's more to YouTube than just cat clips

1:29AM | Monday, 19 January

For many, YouTube is little more than a deluge of low-quality videos depicting the latest internet craze or conspiracy theory.   Perhaps the place for some painful-looking accident, music videos and video-bloggers of dubious talent, and of course, cats. But many underestimate the potential of YouTube as an educational tool. From how-to instructional videos to TED talks, YouTube could well be the most important educational tool of our time. Can we take YouTube seriously as an educational tool? The raw statistics are impressive. With over 100 hours of content being uploaded every minute on YouTube, and reaching people in 61 countries around the world, an astonishing six billion hours of video content is being watched every month. The figures climb higher by the day.   For hundreds of millions of people around the world, YouTube and dozens of other free video platforms are shaping up to be a new educational model. A growing number of not-for-profit providers like the Khan Academy offer anyone, anywhere, access to a vast catalogue of content on almost any topic you can think of. This is very good news for people in developing and developed countries who want an education but perhaps could not have afforded it or even gained access.   Schools and universities are integrating free video platforms like YouTube into their classrooms. Sessions are produced either by content developers or by the teacher/lecturer themselves, using a webcam and some easily learnable software, and uploaded to YouTube. The link is then embedded in the course website where the students can watch it on demand. These videos can be public or private.   Recognising the growing influence of video-on-demand in education, YouTube are aggregating their educational content into easily navigated categories and playlists to create “YouTube EDU”. In one year alone, YouTube EDU partnered with over 300 universities and other providers to offer more than 65,000 free lectures, news items and snippets of campus life. A classroom in your pocket Beyond the delivery of lecture content, free video-on-demand platforms are being adapted for a variety of educational uses: the creation of subject-specific play-lists, the “flipped” classroom (where the students do the work outside class, then meet to discuss), student-produced reflective videos, assessment and feedback and various blended learning formats. All of these possibilities allow for very flexible delivery to smart-phones and tablet computers as well as the more traditional desktop PCs and laptops.   The ease-of-access and flexibility of YouTube is allowing amateur and professional content developers to develop instructional content to a global audience on almost any conceivable topic, from knitting, to drawing, to photography, to hair and makeup, DJing and scrapbooking. Online lectures and tutorials TED (the Technology Education and Design Conference) has become a global force in education since the first conference was staged in Monterey, California, in 1990, just a short drive down Interstate 101 from Silicon Valley.   With 450,000 people a day watching more than 1900 free lectures from top-rated speakers on almost every conceivable topic, TED Talks hosted on YouTube are doing for educational videos what David Attenborough has been doing for nature documentaries since the 1970s, setting the standard for others to follow.   Speakers who are world experts in their field present ideas worth spreading on a wide range of topics to a global audience. Lecturers and teachers everywhere are free to use this high-quality content as a free teaching resource, either showing it in class or assigning it to be viewed. The only pre-requisite is that a student has sufficient digital literacy to access the video. Hacking your education As the 21st century unfolds, we are seeing a shift from the campus-based model of education that has endured for a thousand years to an open, anywhere anytime model. On-demand video is a disruptive technology that is providing a flexible new way of delivering education that will require some adaptive thinking from higher education providers if they are to survive this period of change.   It will be the agile institutions that survive and flourish, the ones that find ways to successfully leverage technology to deliver high-quality education to increasingly busy and mobile students. Free, video-on-demand platforms like YouTube and TED-Ed that have flexibility designed into them will be an integral part of the educational landscape of the future. Knowledge does not need to be delivered solely by teachers, nor do learning environments need to be teacher-centric.   There will always be a place for intellectually curious students to gather and be mentored by a knowledgeable teacher. Those who want this experience will still be able to get it at a traditional university and it will serve them well. But universities and colleges also need to cater for the growing number of students whose circumstances make it difficult or impossible to attend class in person, whether they want to or not. For them, on-line delivery with high-quality video-on-demand is a necessity. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Startups get a boost with $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform Credit

9:35AM | Monday, 15 September

Google is giving startups $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform Credit and 24/7 support to help them take advantage of resources in the cloud, and use those resources to quickly launch and scale their ideas.   Google senior vice president Urs Hölzle announced Google Cloud Platform for Startups at the company’s Google for Entrepreneurs Global Partner Summit recently.   Sydney co-working space Fishburners is one of a number of the world’s top incubators, accelerators and investors, whose startups will have access to the program. Google says it’s working with 50 such partners to roll out the service, and that number is expected to increase over time. Partners include the likes of Y Combinator, 500 Startups and Startup Grind.   It will be available to startups that are less than five years old and have less than $500,000 in annual revenue.   In a statement announcing the offer, Google director developer relations Julie Pearl says it supports the Google Cloud Platform’s philosophy.   “We want developers to focus on code; not worry about managing infrastructure,” Pearl says.   “Thousands of startups have built successful applications on Google Cloud Platform and those applications have grown to serve tens of millions of users.   “It’s been amazing to watch Snapchat send over 700 million photos and videos a day and Khan Academy teach millions of students. We look forward to helping the next generation of startups launch great products.”   Other prominent startups that have built their applications on Cloud Platform include car-sharing service Getaround, and Leanplum, a platform for optimising the mission-critical metrics of mobile apps.   Startups wanting to apply should contact their accelerator, incubator or VC about the offer. Google says if they’re not in the program, email cloudplatformstartups@google.com to get them added.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie rallies unemployed youth to launch a startup

6:24AM | Tuesday, 17 June

Entrepreneurship is the solution for young people in Australia who are struggling to find work, according to Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie.   “These days young people have an amazing opportunity to start their own business in ways not possible before,” Barrie says. “It’s a gold rush out there.”   Barrie made the comments ahead of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit (G20YEA) where he will be speaking, with an aim to tackle global issues around youth unemployment.   One quarter of Australians aged 18-24 are currently under-employed, and youth unemployment has reached 50% in many countries.   “Conventional industries are being overturned every day, and young people are in a good position to make the most of that,” Barrie says. “The costs of starting a business are not expensive any more, compared to what they have been in the past.”   Barrie says that the opportunities like those offered by sites like Freelancer also make it possible for young people to obtain employment on their terms.   “My grandfather used to say, you can’t do what you want, but you have to like what you do,” he says. “These days it’s the other way round – you can do what you want. You are only limited by your imagination.”   The opportunities of self-education are also out there for the taking, says Barrie, with online universities and sites like Khan Academy making it possible to learn anything.   “It’s an amazing time to be alive. Small businesses have the opportunity to get big quickly, and the ability to start something from nothing is very real,” says Barrie.   “If you’re young right now, there is work in front of you and you’re in the ideal situation to take risks and try something. Remember even if it fails then you are back to square one. As you get older, it gets harder to take risks.”   The 2013 EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer found small businesses deliver 69% of the overall employment growth in Australia, while across the OECD, SMEs with fewer than 250 employees account for two-thirds of employment.   In the EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer, Australia is ranked highly against other G20 countries for the pillars of education, training and entrepreneurship. However, it is ranked 15 out of 20 for coordinated support – a measure of the collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sectors.   The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit will be held at the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney on 18-22 July 2014.   To register visit:  http://g20yeasummit.com/member-registration/

10 top small business uses of YouTube videos

5:56AM | Thursday, 3 May

Using video as a marketing channel is increasingly attractive to cash-strapped start-ups, mostly due to its expanding consumer reach, plummeting cost and simplified production processes.

Google to launch facility for new ventures

2:10PM | Wednesday, 15 February

Google is to launch a $120 million overhaul of its Googleplex headquarters with the addition of an “experience centre” that will be used to create new projects and work with start-ups in secret.

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