Internet serves as new teaching tool


Leonard Ortiz wants his students to feel history rather than just hear about it.

To help the assistant professor of history illustrate the power of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, he pulls up a video clip from To show his class how charismatic and crazy Adolf Hitler was, he locates a video file on the site.

The best part about it, Ortiz said, is that it’s completely free.

“I like to use it because it helps us to pull history’s ghosts out of the past,” he said. “It adds another dimension.”

YouTube, a self-proclaimed “premier destination” for original videos, allows its users to search and find clips from movies, television shows, songs and even documentaries.

It’s like a virtual hub of all things entertaining and, of course, educational.

Since its creation in 2005, millions of people have uploaded videos to the site – from their computers, video cameras and even cell phones.

Only recently, however, have individuals in the teaching profession started to see the value of such a tool.

“It breaks up the monotony of lectures,” Ortiz said. “A lot of students are visual.”

Assistant Professor of Psychology Wendi Born uses YouTube to wake her classes up in the morning.

Often she’ll play a song that relates to the content of the course. Sometimes, she even makes the class exercise to the music.

“I mostly use it for a mood arousal,” Born said. “If I get the music playing, it impacts them in a positive way.”

Ortiz also uses music at the beginning of some of his classes – not for exercising, though.

Typically, Ortiz will select music from the time period his course is focusing on that day.

“I think they ask their parents (about the music),” he said.

Junior Holly Steffen is in one of Ortiz’s history classes. While she enjoys his teaching style, her favorite part of class is the YouTube portion.

“I really like it,” she said. “I think it’s really interesting.”

Through YouTube, Ortiz is able to locate videos about historical events – like the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Recently, Ortiz showed a clip of a “Flintstones” commercial from 1961.

“(Students) can really get an idea of what people were like then,” Ortiz said.

Beyond teaching, Ortiz said many of his students have started using YouTube in their presentations, adding a new dimension to their speeches.

"It really enhances the presentations," he said. "I can't imagine not having it or teaching without it."<br/>