It all started with a job interview eight years ago. I have a background in educational technology, and I was introducing some tech tools to a group of professors during my on-site campus visit. The question came up of whether I could offer workshops on technology to faculty, students, and staff. Of course, I said yes. Then another professor asked what would happen if someone couldn’t attend the workshop. I pondered on it for a moment, then replied, “YouTube.” My channel Tech Fifteen was born shortly thereafter.
Tech Fifteen is a YouTube channel that offers short – five minutes or less – instructional videos on how to use different types of technology tools in teaching and learning. Originally, I wanted to name the channel Tech Five, for the five-minute videos, but that name was already taken. So, I went with Tech Fifteen instead. There were many lessons learned about branding, naming, and more during my channel’s creation. I decided that it was better to focus each video on a specific tech tool (e.g., Wakelet or Flipgrid) than to record a full-length workshop. That way viewers could shop for the technology they wanted, watch whatever they pleased, and leave.
Initially, the idea for the channel was to share technology to school librarians. Now it is shared by school librarians with their peer educators. Teachers also share videos with their students. Based on YouTube statistics, the channel is also used by those in business and media to learn how to quickly use certain sites and apps that have been reviewed. In other words, this instructional channel has been found by a reasonably wide audience. At last count the channel had close to 100,000 views. I always say it’s not videos of cats playing pianos, but it’s not too shabby for an ed tech channel! When looking at impact, my Tech Fifteen channel has way more traction than any article I have ever written.
My channel has evolved over the years. When I first started, I wanted to get quick educational technology ideas into the hands of librarians and their peer educators. Then I started working on accessibility and technology. Over the past four years I’ve worked to make every video on Tech Fifteen closed captioned, with Creative Commons licensing for downloading and sharing and saved in a format for viewing on any device. The latest work includes other languages. Presently, I am working to caption every video in Spanish.
This academic year, I was awarded an ITI Fellowship to further develop Tech Fifteen. I have appreciated the feedback on the channel from my peers in the Impact Through Innovation Incubator. The channel now has a partner with the School of Education and UNC Greensboro. Tech Fifteen has had a complete makeover, complete with a new introduction and branding. An accompanying website with lesson plans and instructional resources is being considered for the future. I am commonly approached on the topic of technology integration in teaching, and having a site of lesson ideas could be beneficial to librarians and peer educators. Their amazing work every day, but particularly during this pandemic, motivates me to take this project to the next level.
If you are looking for instructional videos that are easy to share on Canvas or via email, take a look at Tech Fifteen! It can be found at www.youtube.com/techfifteen. I always welcome requests for new videos and typically, I release new content twice a month.