Human beings love to play by ear. It is much easier to work on the go, loaded with intuition and good intentions. Because, the alternative would involve stopping every few steps to analyze the evidence. Does what we are doing make sense? What is its real impact? Is it possible that we are wasting time despite our efforts? And let’s face it, we love to think that what we do has great social value. We convince ourselves with real mental pirouettes to justify that the hours dedicated to our work are not in vain and that with it we are doing something important. The case of education is paradigmatic.
How can any methodology that offers comprehensible information to students be bad? Or, rather, more than “bad”, “inefficient””. We assume that everything contributes and that a grain of sand never hurts, but since resources are limited, perhaps we should control ourselves and avoid making hasty statements. There are scientific methodologies that can bring rigor to these issues, analyzing to what extent they comply with what they claim to offer. That is precisely what researchers such as the electrical engineer and doctoral student in education at the University of La Laguna, Rubén Lijó, are attempting, putting under the microscope whether, indeed, YouTube and informative videos can be a good complement for the academic world. .
There has been much and very bad talk about the use of new technologies in the classroom. Partly with reason because many times there is no one behind the wheel when it is decided to buy a shipment of tablets for a school. Jumping on the bandwagon of teaching 2.0 comes first and looking for a use for the material ends up being relegated to the background which, therefore, possibly has many deficiencies. However, this is not why we should condemn all communion between the digital and the classroom. And, more or less, that is what Rubén Lijo wanted to clarify. in their own words “The initial objective was to be able to provide the teaching community with contrasting resources so that they can improve their teaching, exploring the dual use of educational videos to, on the one hand, contribute to dissemination and, on the other, to education”.
Can these types of videos have successful use in both areas? That was the central question, clarifies Lijó. “The main problem in the classroom with the integration of audiovisual content may be the lack of time and resources on the part of the teacher to create their own videos, aligned with their teaching, but if we take into account that there is a very wide range of videos of educational content on YouTube and other social networks, on different topics of science, technology, mathematics and engineering, we can consider that if its pedagogical value is demonstrated there will be no excuses”. Thus, Rubén Lijó has developed on his YouTube channel (go with the flow) a series of 9 educational videos dedicated to the subject “Electrical Machines I” of the Higher School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrasa of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
Many initiatives would have ended here, but Rubén Lijó, his thesis directors at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Eduardo Quevedo, José Juan Castro) and Professor Ricard Horta, knew that it was important to measure the impact. Thus, they analyzed the grades obtained by the students and their motivation. The results were very positive, showing that these videos could have an interesting effect in the academic world. For this, the researchers followed 157 students during 3 courses.
But the evidence does not end here, as part of his thesis, Rubén Lijó has collected much more information about the users of his channel, which has more than 150,000 followers and accumulates around 4.5 million views. In a survey in which 912 subscribers to the channel participated, their responses indicated that there is wide educational use of the channel and a general perception that its content and format are suitable for such a purpose. “That is to say (…)”, adds Lijó“(…) would be a very broad and varied pedagogical resource, to which all teachers have access and can make use of it in the classroom to improve the teaching experience, student learning, motivation and interest in these subjects and branches of knowledge.
Because we can continue feeding the networks with educational content in an almost compulsive way, but without studies that support its impact, all this effort may be in vain. This is how Lijó sums it up: “That is the underlying motivation of this research: take those resources that are already available, make an evaluation of the characteristics that would define whether or not they are appropriate in these pedagogical contexts in terms of content, audiovisual format, presentation, etc. And, once verified, effectively integrate them into the classroom. Now that we have demonstrated the validity of this resource, the next challenge will be for teachers to have adequate digital skills so that they can properly select and integrate the audiovisual resources that are available”.
DON’T GET IT:
- Generalizing the results of a study is always conflictive, because normally we study a concrete situation, with its contingencies and peculiarities. However, studies, when well designed, are usually prepared to reduce these particularities and be as generalizable as rigorously possible. In this case, as with any other study, we can find certain limitations, but it is a firm step within the lines of research related to teaching and dissemination.
- R. Lijo, E. Quevedo, JJ Castro and R. Horta, “Assessing Users’ Perception on the Current and Potential Educational Value of an Electrical Engineering YouTube Channel,” in IEEE Access, vol. 10, p. 8948-8959, 2022, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3139305. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9664558
- Congress paper (attached): R. Lijo, E. Quevedo and JJ Castro, “Qualitative Assessment of the Educational Use of an Electrical Engineering YouTube Channel.” 2023 IEEE World Engineering Education Conference (EDUNINE), Bogotá (Colombia).
- R. Lijo, E. Quevedo, JJ Castro and R. Horta, “Impact of Electrical Engineering Didactic Videos During Emergency Remote Learning,” in IEEE Access, vol. 11, p. 19622-19634, 2023, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3248299. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/10050506