Course:LIBR559A/Smith, D. K. (2014)

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Smith, D. K. (2014). itube, youtube, wetube: Social media videos in chemistry education and outreach. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(10), 1594.


The author’s goal with writing this article is to describe three possible approaches of how social media videos can be used in education and outreach efforts in the field of Chemistry. Creating YouTube videos as alternatives to other kinds of assignments can be beneficial to students' learning not just the material they are being taught, but also secondary skills like public speaking, creativity, and a sense of empowerment. Evidence cited is surveys of students who either wrote articles or made videos. Students who made videos, on average, ranked the activity as more useful, more skill-improving, more enjoyable, and more effective at leading to long-term recall than their colleagues who wrote articles.

The author breaks the three approaches down into the following:

  • iTube: Educators putting content onto YouTube as a pedagogical tool for their students
  • YouTube: Students making videos, either for an assignment or to help grasp a concept they are studying but independently from class
  • WeTube: the community element that makes social media video social (versus the traditional model of users only as consumers)

In doing so, he inadvertently discusses the idea of prosumerism.

A pitfall of the article is that the article does not discuss the fact that the participation in the progression of iTube -> YouTube -> WeTube requires having access to the technology to do so; the model fails students and teachers who do not have the technical capability or equipment required to participate.

Libraries can help address the above-mentioned shortcomings by providing access to technology and learning resources to teachers and students who don't otherwise have experience in digital media creation. Since libraries and libraries in schools and universities have recently started a trend in serving as keepers not just of knowledge but also technology, librarians can put teachers and students into contact with such technological requirements, as well as potentially the training needed to use them well.

Page Author: Peter Musser