We see a number of social networking technologies finding their way into education: wikis, blogs, bookmark sharing, video sharing, portals, and educational mash-ups. This is a promising trend. I see a wide variety of educational applications to each of these. However, many of these tools are still in the first stage of use in e-learning. Wikis are probably the most used, but we have not come close to tapping the educational benefits of video sharing tools like the one used by Youtube. Take a look at the following screen capture where I labeled some of the features surrounding a typical Youtube video.
Now consider how this type of a technology can be applied in an e-learning course. Threaded discussions could have embedded videos as discussion prompts. Students could post speeches and video comments for peer feedback. In fact, threaded discussions could be a mix of text, audio, and video, depending upon the preference of the students, the educational goals, or some other important educational factor. Having such a video sharing resource would also allow instructors to easily provide brief video explanations and tutorials during the course of a semester, independent of any technical or instructional design support. I have been working on this idea for the past year and I hope to pilot something in a few e-learning courses next semester.