20/20: Stupid in America
Not a cheerful title, perhaps, but an important one -- your choice for best video is a sobering and illuminating investigation of today's public school system. Still, by far the most common response was a resounding "Huh?" Not only were many people stumped by the prompt, but several even regarded it with distaste: "YouTube is NOT for education," proclaimed one respondent, while another chimed, "Hate YouTube -- do not send kids there."
We beg to differ. Roughly half of our survey takers declined with a question mark or bewildered comments such as "There are YouTube videos re: education?" Yet those videos that emerged as winners, including the second-place Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment, are nonetheless apt representations of the various kinds of uncultured pearls the YouTube oyster has to offer.
You Get What You Look For
Indeed, we can't help but ask, "Why equate YouTube with the boob tube?" Avoiding the videosharing site because of its useless junk is no less limiting than avoiding the entire Internet for the same reason. Sure, hand a video camera and a broadband connection to a few hyperactive preteens, and you're not likely to get a product that's appropriate for the classroom.
But type "Carl Sagan" into YouTube's search engine and get a film that details the four billion years of life's evolution on Earth. Plug in "World War I," and find rare footage of Archduke Ferdinand's funeral procession. The gems are out there.
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2007 Readers' Survey Index