When I started to upload short video lessons for German learners on YouTube four years ago two things were different from today. Number one: I had actually no idea what I was doing and if I take a look at my first videos I have to admit that they are pretty awful. But on the other hand, I was not alone. Almost every vlog looked somewhat ‘bad’ back then. We had crappy webcams, bad lightning and in most cases no scripts. A huge difference to the production quality of personal vlogs today which often look like they have been produced by at least semi-pros. Now as everything in life, creating engaging video lessons takes time and practice so I kept on trying, found my style and at the moment I (and obviously my learners) are happy with the result.
The second major difference is noise. Back in 2008 there were of course tons of videos uploaded every day, still the discovery of my content seemed to be easier. Today more than 72 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute . As I upload about one or two 3 – 5 minute long videos per week you can do the math what impact I make. I think drop in the ocean is even exaggerated.
Hence for educators who want to start building a viable YouTube audience there are two main barriers today. One: YouTube viewers expect a minimum of production quality, e.g. good sound, good video quality, overlays maybe even interactive annotations etc. Two: The deluge of content added every day plus the overhauled mechanisms that let people find your content make it much harder to get that initial boost of viewers you need to start off and grow your audience.
So what to do? One answer lies in the 72 hours. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who uploads German lessons on a regular basis and there is also a big chance that someone else is doing a better job than I do. In fact the whole Internet is a treasure trove of amazing educational content yet most of it is hidden and hard to find. Enter MentorMob.
I covered this Chicago-based startup from quite early on, and I have to say that it is still one of my favorites. What MentorMob does is provide an easy to use platform that helps educators (or anyone interested) to curate content on the Internet. You can watch my interview with the two co-founders Kris Chinosorn and Vince Leung below to get an idea of the benefits and motivation behind the service.
As MentorMob explains, most searches for answers start on Google, what else. But the results we get aren’t necessarily sorted by their quality but by popularity. Hence, you might end up with more dead ends than helpful links. MentorMob aims to take all good links and put them into a learning playlist. This playlist can consist of YouTube videos, Wikipedia articles, websites, blogs, forums, pictures and so on. Playlists can be edited by one person or by the MentorMob community which makes it somewhat a Wikipedia-like experience.
The learning playlists can then be shared via a link and they are also embeddable into websites or blogs. If you go through a playlist it is basically like reading an interactive textbook. On the left you have the list of videos / articles, on top the navigation button and a progress bar.
If you want to give the playlist above a spin, here is the link.
All main features are available for free but if you are thinking of adding some extra bells and whistles like privacy and analytics you can choose one of the MentorMob Pro plans starting at $10 USD per month.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, flickingerbrad