With YouTube, though, users can watch movies, TV programs, documentaries, sports events, home movies made in the far-flung regions of the world at any time they wish. In addition, users can join and converse with communities of people who are interested in the same category material as the filmmaker. One of the most attractive draws for YouTube is the price involved. YouTube is absolutely free to anyone with access to the Internet. This also means that a person in any part of the world could obtain an education online. In this regard, Akagi (2008) emphasizes that, "YouTube videos may never replace the types of educational videos and teaching resources supplied online by established entities like PBS Teachers www.pbs.org / teachers, the Health Teacher site www. heathteacher.com, and other free and subscriber educational online organizations. However, carefully selected YouTube videos offer a new media source to utilize as a pedagogical tool in health education that connects with students through technology" (58). In fact, in March 2007, YouTube launched TeacherTube, to provide an online community specifically for sharing instructional and educational videos. This site is comparable to YouTube in "look-and-feel" and TeacherTube is also a free site that is promoted as being a safe Internet forum for educators, students, and schools alike (Bromley 2008). According to this analyst, "It appears to be used primarily to post video lessons in academic content areas such as mathematics, science, and history" (Bromley 2008:2). Likewise, another educator, Tarr (2007), points out that, "For teachers, the site is an absolute godsend: search for video on any topic you choose and you are usually presented with an array of high quality clips from documentaries, feature films and music videos. Other sites have followed suit- www.teachers.tv, www.vidipedia.org, www.teachertube.net and www.vidipedia.com being particularly worthy examples - but YouTube remains the first port of call for teachers and students seeking multimedia content" (28).
Beyond the strictly educational and instructional aspects of YouTube and its offshoot, TeacherTube, the ability of users to share videos with others who share their interests and concerns is indicative of the degree to which their social activities and interpersonal interactions with others in real-world settings may impact the social use of YouTube (Haridakis and Hanson 2009). In this regard, Wollheim (2007) notes that, "In such a wide-open 'wiki' situation, film studios and other accomplished media professionals compete for attention with the approximately 70,000 new video clips uploaded to the site daily by even school-aged youngsters from around the globe. Video-sharing draws in participants lured by the promise of a media commons in which all votes carry equal weight and value" (Wollheim 2007:22).
The extensive hyperlinked features of the videos presented are also a draw because people can quickly find related videos that they might not have considered. According to Wollheim (2007) "YouTube looks and feels like a casino or arcade, a highly distractive and infinitely hyperlinked environment without clearly marked entrances and exits. The screens-within-screens-within-screens format favors grazing rather than watching, as succeeding waves of images and captions incessantly vie for scaled down attention spans" (22). Indeed, even with the most serious presentations, the discussions that emerge between viewers is likely to be less formal. In this regard, Wollheim concludes that, "YouTube definitely moves video away from the standard top-down production model to a conversational one but perhaps more like the conversations one has at tailgate parties outside crowded football stadiums." (Wollheim 2007:22)
A representative sampling of some of the commentary posted on YouTube concerning various educational videos supports this observation. For instance, in response to the video, "Learn English Vocabulary" available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZWvzRaEqfw & feature=pyv&ad=3538157700&kw=learning%20english&gclid=CNC11_rElp8CFR4Eagod-gqfmQ, the following commentary from English as second language learners (limited to 500 characters by YouTube) was provided:
1. Thank you. It's really crazy but it's really helpful. Good Idea.
2. Thanks AJ! Your lessons have helped me to speak a lot faster! I got 7.5? In my IELTS speaking exam!: DI was not even thinking about grammar rules or anything! I just went on and on until the examiner told me to stop talking lol!
3. I think your technique are very useful for me and? my friends. I will share this video with them. Thank you very much!
4. I was given this lesson a couple of years ago when I was at university. This way of teaching vocabulary is really effective. At the beginning it can seem to? be stupid and the students will make fun of you, but in the end, the kids will get the message across and they'll realize it's effective.
5. I think you should doing more of these videos. They help me much. You're the best: ) Sorry for my terrible English but I'm try learn I hope that I can improve