Super Teachers: Nope.

I know what a super streamer is. Take my go to game, Overwatch. A super streamer is someone who’s pulling half a million views an hour. I also know that the average YouTube subscriber number is about 240, whereas top YouTubers have over 50 million and billions of views. This helps give a context for so-called super teachers with videos that have been accessed 10 million times. What is this metric? Why is it used?

I’d argue a super teacher is a small media player. Khan Academy – the first YouTube super teacher today only pulls about 1.5k views on average, but inspired the trend to create video-content and supply it as a ‘service’ these days – the idea being that ready-made video-content can be streamed to students on a per-user subscription basis.

I am somewhat confused by this.  If all we are seeing is a lecture or spot-content, then why is this considered ‘super teaching’? I for one have spent a decade arguing that ‘content pushing’ might work for ‘remembering’ tests, but in terms of what we can do with ICT today, video lectures are hardly ‘super’ at all.

Using some educational ‘super teacher’ statistics, a content video with 225k views that’s 5 years old – is far from remarkable. A_Seagul will outrun this in 5 minutes of streaming! But then live-streaming and can-o-content are very different beasts. To me, the idea that super teachers are now media hot property with photo-ops for politicians isn’t good for anyone else.

After decades of media innovation, I am really feeling uneasy about the term ‘super teacher’ measured in YouTube views which presents us with video-lectures of essentially one-way content.

This isn’t inspiring me, nor does it reach more than the bottom rung of SAMR and other educational-media theories. It’s not interactive, it’s just stuff. Stuff filmed in HD with a decent low f-stop lens is still just stuff.

I’m clearly not a super teacher. To be honest, I don’t have the time or inclination to make content videos very often and rarely crack 1000 views after a few years. In my defence, I teach art and design, both of which have billions of video’s online, which I can <iframe> into an LMS in seconds. I’m not making content, but shamelessly embed good content from quality sources inside course which I hope do the trick for students.

There are some super-teachers out there. From those who create new schools and new ways to learn, to those who connect with kids every day in unseen and un-celebrated ways – and not measured in views or subscribers.

So I’m not going to swoon if the NSW Premier tells me I’m about to get lucky and meet a super-teacher who’s going to tell me how to ‘flip a classroom’ to get 1.5k views and ascend to the higher ranks.