Laura Gibbs

Power of Playlists: Fall 2018 edition

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Aug 1, 2018

I've written about YouTube playlists before (my previous playlist stuff): I am a fan! YouTube playlists are helpful to teachers because they let you organize your stuff, and they are even more helpful for students because they put the videos you are sharing with the students IN CONTEXT. I always want students to have more to watch if they are curious and want to learn more, and with YouTube playlists there can always be more to watch!


So, getting ready for Fall, I spent all day yesterday doing a massive clean-up of my class videos. Because... they were a mess. I had some in YouTube playlists (where they belong!), but also some I had blogged about, some bookmarked at Diigo, and some floating around in temporary playlists. So, I made that my big task yesterday, and I've got that all organized. My class-related videos are in six playlists:


Myth-Folklore Playlist

Indian Epics Playlist

Indian Music Playlist

Growth Mindset Playlist

HEART Playlist

Writing Playlist


And I've got those playlists embedded in my class blogs (see the sidebars):


Myth-Folklore Untextbook

Indian Epics Reading

Indian Epics Images

Growth Mindset: Feedback!

Learning by H.E.A.R.T.

Writing Laboratory

(Robert Carroll, that Writing Lab blog is the one I wanted to share with you to pass on to your wife!)

And in my main class announcements blog I've got a randomizer that displays one of those embedded playlists at random (the randomizer script runs off this table):

Class Announcements

... and that's what I use for my Canvas Course Homepages:


screenshot of video widget embedded in blog inside Canvas


These videos are really important for me because they help me connect with students who are not big fans of reading; if I can use the videos to help grab their attention and make them curious about a topic, that can lead to a whole chain-of-learning that then unfolds.


Now that the videos are in the playlists, I can reuse them systematically all semester long. Here are some different ways I will be reusing them:


* refresh playlists daily. I take literally one minute each day to pop a new video up to the top of each playlist; that keeps the embedded playlists "fresh" wherever they appear. Every day every blog will have a new featured video, plus the link to the playlist. I don't have to update the blogs where the playlists are embedded; I just update the playlist!


* videos daily announcements. I feature 3 videos every day in the class announcements (one Myth video, one India video, and one "meta" video about growth, learning, etc.), and I use a spreadsheet to keep track of which videos I have used so far by putting a date in a column, and then sorting on that column to see which videos I have/haven't used so far (since that is over 300 videos total, I need a spreadsheet to help me out!). Plus I updated my spreadsheet so that every time I share a video I will be doing it with the playlist address; you can compare the difference:

video by itself:

video in playlist: 

(that way the students can go backwards/forwards in the playlist if they want; the playlist navigation is always there when YouTube displays the video if you include the playlist information in the URL)


* video challenges. lots of the videos are available as "challenges," which are blog post prompts (I'll write more about that in a separate post here later)


Plus now that I have everything cleaned up nicely (for the first time in a long time... it was definitely a mess!), it will be easy to keep adding more videos too. Of course I am promising myself that I will keep things all organized now that I have comprehensive playlists and procedures in place for adding new videos; we'll see if I can manage to really stay organized once school starts... or not. Fingers crossed! I don't want to have to spend another day next summer cleaning everything up, ha ha.


And here is that Shakira video for your listening/viewing pleasure... part of the Growth Mindset Playlist. :-)