Is TeacherTube a Bad Idea?

I'm experimenting with posting directly from diigo — I've annotated and highlighted from the original post from my friend Shmuly Tennenhaus.

My friend Smuly is a youtube expert — he's been on many nightly news programs and in newspapers (see the New York Times article on him.) I'm still turning over the thoughts from his blog post that he shared.. he has made a few good points that I had to go back to teacherTube to see.

We have to use teachertube on horizon because it is the only video sharing service that is unblocked in all of our schools. We are cross posting to youtube for those schools that allow youtube access.

SchoolFinder Blog » YouTube Versus TeacherTube Annotated

My notes:

  • He has been cited multiple times for his videos and has been on more news tv shows than i can count. He does know video! – post by coolcatteacher
  • Many schools do block it for bandwidth reasons. – post by coolcatteacher

Some highlights from the article:

“Video-sharing can be very useful in the classroom. And many schools do block access to sites like YouTube…

This is more than just semantics. If the name of the site makes ME cringe, how will it ever appeal to a teenager who shops at Abercrombie and has Timbaland streaming from her iPod?…

For example, maybe YouTube can make an education domain that does not have access to the rest of the site. Google would like to be a player in the education space. As would Yahoo. And Microsoft….

3) TeacherTube is ad-supported. (Yup; I am not sponsoring the site!) The ads unfortunately are anti-education!

a) University of Phoenix Online is all over the place. Yes; they are into education etc. Here are the FACTS: UOP overall graduation rate is 16%. The national average is 55%. And University of Phoenix Online? Their graduation rate is 4%! Ouch.

b) Check out the screen shot of TeacherTube. That’s an ad for a get rich scheme site. Check them out. The landing page has a guy without his shirt on. The guy does have nice pecs. Still, I doubt schools would be excited with the association.”
This leaves me wondering, we've got to give some method of making money to these businesses. If educators aren't paying for a service then the business either has to: 1) sell it to us or 2) sell it to advertisers, or option 3) Sell upgraded services to educators.

There are costs involved.

The rule about free stuff: there is no such thing as free stuff!

I'm thankful for companies such as wikispaces who give us great service for free. I also like that schools can purchase upgraded services from them.

I think that companies that serve educators need to take a long hard look at what they do. My honest opinion: Google Adsense and education just don't mix. Period.

Contextual advertising will often give innappropriate options for students to BUY term papers, or “date sexy women in Qatar” (the ad that almost killed flat classroom when at the time Ning was google adsense loaded.)

We just need to think about it educators. It is free but is it the right thing?

We should consider what we're doing. I don't have answers and I'm not saying run away from TeacherTube which I've supported from the beginning. I am saying that I think it is time to evolve and think about some of this.

(Oh and this blogging from Diigo thing is cool.)

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Kate Olson March 28, 2008 - 2:18 am

Vicki –

Thanks for bringing up a topic that I was thinking about yesterday. There was an issue with a teacher’s blog and after scouring it to find any POSSIBLE inappropriate content to reassure her that she was ok, we came upon inappropriate “adult” ads on the clustrmap (after clicking on it, not directly on the blog). This really bothered me and I plan to contact clustrmaps to find out if there’s a way to have an ad-free map for education purposes. You’re correct about there being no such thing as free, there’s usually a catch somewhere. Thanks for bringing up the TeacherTube issue, I’ll have to look into this more.

sd March 28, 2008 - 1:36 am

I was quoted by Vicki! OMG. Hot flashes.

Scott Weidig March 28, 2008 - 3:13 am


We do need to think about many things that you reference directly and indirectly in your post. While many districts/schools do block youtube for bandwidth reasons, others block it because of the more questionable content and students watching video on educational time…

I feel the real conversation should be pointed toward why are we in a block first and ignore later environment… I know of a number of districts that are beginning to review their web exclusion (blocking) policies and I applaud them. Hopefully, my district will be one of those in the future. Nothing is learned in a sheltered environment… Like everything else we discuss educating students on the right use of valuable tools like youtube is essential to their education and life…

Like you I liked when teachertube was first launched… a resource directed at education. However, you bring up great points about the ad placement. Unfortunately, I am not sure how realistic fee for service for educators goes over. I know in my area(even though we live in a very affluent area) educators just don’t want to pay for anything they can somehow get for free.

As an example, years ago my district paid for dialup internet service for all faculty members to encourage the use of the internet. We just discontinued it this year because it became cost prohibitive for the limited number of users still accessing the internet that way. Additionally, we really were doing a dis-service to them by maintaining a slow dialup connection antiquated service when broadband access is so cheap ($14-$24/mo in our area). The killer is we still had over 60 users out of a faculty of 1000 where the average salary is $60k/yr using this dial up service because it was FREE for them.

Is this a failing of our profession? Look at the topic of open source in education…

Companies who provide services need to make money or they will not be around for long. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft while their ideas may be in the right place, struggle to conceptualize education as anything but a capital loss unless they can sell ad revenue… eventually money runs out. Adam Frey and the buys aw wikispaces have done amazing things for educators, wetpaint and ning are following in their example, but should it be their role or responsibility to do this? I just don’t know.

I know I am rambling a bit whole family has been ill this week… I apologize. Last thought.

There may be an alternative for both youtube and teachertube for video, but you lost the global concept. allows you to run a youtube like site on your server… maybe this would work for flat classroom projects…


Emma March 28, 2008 - 4:25 pm

For example, maybe YouTube can make an education domain that does not have access to the rest of the site.
I wonder if that would be codeable. Google Video have a list of genres which includes “educational”. One of the reasons I always preferred Google video to YouTube before the merge was that you could limit it to the educational genre – and also Google video let you have longer videos.
I’ve just had a look at the home page (it kept moving me away from .com – guess it can tell where I am!)
I was no longer able to find the link to “genres”, but I found a link – it’s – (or .com / .ca etc) – and then you can search within a particular genre.
Wonder if that could be coded for schools so that it would only search those videos. Would that make the school internet providers happy.

Jason Smith March 28, 2008 - 2:56 pm

Hi Vicki,

Jason Smith from TeacherTube here. Let me begin by saying thanks to you Vicki and your readers for help getting TeacherTube out. You were one of the first to discover us and share us with the world.

You are absolutely right about google adsense and educational sites. We spend as much time filtering ads as we do filtering uploaded content to TeacherTube.

You have mentioned 3 critical questions:

1) sell it to us or 2) sell it to advertisers, or option 3) Sell upgraded services to educators.

We are completely redesigning and developing a new TeacherTube technology and site that will allow teachers to connect all types of media, video, audio, photos, etextbooks, etc. down to the learning standard level.

Also, schools can license this technology to place on their servers to have complete control over content and bandwidth. This is our TeacherTube Onsite model.

We are piloting this in the fall with a handful of schools. Some of our pilot schools are looking at partnering with local businesses to help offset the Onsite Licensing cost and in some cases even generate revenue to the school district. That is the school districts decision.However, I would love to have feedback from you and your readers regarding what features would they like to have on Onsite.

TeacherTube is still young and we know we have a long way to go to meet the needs of educators everywhere. But, we are willing to learn from those who use technology to engage students in the learning process.

Jason Smith
TeacherTube, LLC

Vicki A. Davis March 29, 2008 - 1:05 pm

@kate – It is a tough call — we cannot control the advertisers — once we adsense it, they use THEIR sense to determine what is right for our site, not OURS. You point out a great point.

@scott — Your comments made me go looking for an older post of mine and I realized that I had never posted it over here — so today’s post is dedicated to you!

@Jason – You’ve always been very responsive and in tune to the needs of educators — if you’ll look at the Horizon Project you’ll see that every student is required to upload their videos to teachertube to turn in their assignment!
Thank you for the vision!

Bill Bass April 9, 2008 - 5:37 pm

As I help teachers incorporate technology into their classes, I often have this same conversation. I’m not a fan of sites that include ads and that teachers use to have students post content on. I know that everything has a cost and that sites that cater to educators are not immune to that, but I encourage teachers to use sites such as Wikispaces and edublogs to avoid that very thing. Thanks for the bringing TeacherTube issue up.


Coach Burk April 10, 2008 - 9:47 pm

Try a new service called Next Vista

An online library of free videos for learners everywhere – find resources to help you learn just about anything, meet people who make a difference in their communities, and even discover new parts of the world. And Next Vista for Learning wants to post your educational videos online, too. Everyone has an insight to share and yours may be just what some student or teacher somewhere needs!

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