Read this: YouTube hits 2 bn daily downloads

“We are a stage and we give everyone in the world an opportunity to participate and that is being a video platform for creating a solution for people to not only upload and distribute their videos on a global basis but to find and share videos.”

via news.bbc.co.uk

This article, which describes YouTube’s role in the developing media ecology, carries real implications for learners, doesn’t it?

After all, people are increasingly creating their own content and consuming content created by others. The filter for publishing—which was always the cost involved in owning the tools of publication—has been completely removed. Today, no one needs to ask for permission to have a voice.

And while I love that freedom—heck, 10 years ago, I would never have had 1,200 people listening to my thoughts about teaching and learning—it also means that the quality controls that once provided a measure of assurance that the content we were consuming were semi-reliable are now completely gone.

That means we’re going to stumble across an increasingly large quantity of biased and inaccurate information in our online travels. Because anyone can have a voice, anyone can push their own positions and pass them off as fact. The “nonfiction” content that we’re consuming is far more persuasive and slanted today than it has ever been.

Now, as long as we’re preparing students for this new reality—as long as we’re teaching them how to identify reliable sources and how to spot the bias in the content that they’re consuming—we’ll be fine in this new media world.

I’m just worried that those lessons are not being delivered in most American classrooms. Our kids see the Internet as an efficient way to gather facts instead of as a trap for opinions.

Does any of this make sense to you?