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Keep an eye on WatchKnow (YouTube meets Wikipedia?)

Keep an eye on this project led by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger who describes the portal as “YouTube meets Wikipedia." 

Launched in October after a year-long development period, WatchKnow is a wiki-style portal that gathers and organizes educational videos for students ages 3 to 18.  An age filter slider allows you to easily focus your search. 

The non-profit site currently features more than 12,000 videos across 2,000 categories on subjects such as language arts, literature, math, science and history.   Registered users may comment on and rate the videos.  No registration is necessary to add titles.  A bookmarklet makes adding titles simple and convenient.

All video is hosted on other websites like Discovery and YouTube.

The site explains its purpose:

"Think of it as YouTube meets Wikipedia, filtering out everything but quality educational videos," says Dr. Sanger. " links together content from traditional sites, and also allows users of the site to improve the organization of the video categories, which makes finding the video you need much easier."

WatchKnow is funded by the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi (CFNM), which has set the goal of offering more than 50,000 videos on the site by the end of 2010. 

According to the press release:

The Internet is full of useful information, but it’s disorganized and often unreliable. Despite its problems, the potential of the Internet for education is especially huge. Imagine tapping into that potential.

Imagine collecting all the best free educational videos made for children, and making them findable and watchable on one website. Then imagine creating many, many more such videos.

Just think: millions of great short videos, and other watchable media, explaining every topic taught in schools, in every major language on Earth.

Finally, imagine them all deeply and usefully categorized according to subject, education level, and placed in the order in which topics are typically taught.

WatchKnow—as in, "You watch, you know"—has started building this resource.

WatchKnow is both a resource for users and also a non-profit, online community that encourages everyone to collect, create, and share free, innovative, educational videos.

WatchKnow is now officially launched, after being developed for over a year. Whether you’re a student, a parent, a teacher, or just someone who cares about the education of children, you can now use our service and get involved to make it even better. Please sign up! (But did you know that you can add new videos to our system without signing up? They’ll have to be approved first.)

There is no better online cause than the future of our children. And just imagine how fantastic it would be if there were a resource online we could go to, or send our kids to, that would explain every topic they study in school instantly and reliably. Many of the resources needed for such a site already exist online; they just need to be organized.

During the development process, teachers and librarians played a major role in building and editing the collection and I wonder if teacher-librarians may find this a lovely home for our own book trailers, author interviews, student projects,  instructional videos and more.  And BTW, can we have/add an information fluency category?

So where does WatchKnow fit in with the other video learning portals like TeacherTube  and SchoolTube

I am not sure.

WatchKnow is a baby portal right now. At this point, many of the categories I browsed had little content. (It seems to be collecting most actively in science and history.)

I suppose it will all depend on how quickly and how strong the community behind it grows.

We’re just going to have to watch and see.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Larry Sanger says:

    Hi Joyce, Larry Sanger here. I’ll tell you where it fits in: we are a directory. We have a collaboratively-built directory that is completely innovative. We’re going to make it easy to find everything. The others don’t really do that.

  2. joycevalenza says:

    Thanks, Larry. I hope you will call on our community to help you grow. We are all over making things easier to find! Best of luck with this exciting venture.

  3. Sigh. Even the video embedded on this page is blocked by our great IT Director. All to keep us safer.

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