Featured Resource: TrueTube
A website designed to give young people a platform to make themselves heard, TrueTube was launched in February 2007 by CTVC, a charity that makes ethical radio and television programmes. TrueTube is an interactive debating website and according to education producer, Stuart Porter, 'the aim was to give young people something to do online that didn't replicate some of the more passive, voyeuristic sites aimed at a youth audience. It gives a platform for young people talking about the truth'.
The team at TrueTube offer a springboard for debate by making short films on a variety of topics under headings like 'Community & Society', 'Crime & Punishment', 'Religion & Ethics', 'Race & Culture' or 'Body & Health'. There are, for instance, currently a number of debates on Barack Obama's presidency, the credit crunch, whether or not the royal family is racist, and knife crime. Young people can contribute to the debates using text, audio, photographs or videos. Visitors can also tell TrueTube about whatever they feel strongly about and thus inspire new topics for discussion. The site is global, with users from 155 countries and territories and it gets over a million hits every month.
TrueTube has an 'Action' section that encourages students to learn a whole new set of skills. Videos in the 'Masterclass' section give help on making short films, advice on how to make your voice heard or how to write to your MP to get things changed or even how to use events like club nights to do good. Another section, 'Choose your cause', suggests the kinds of issues that might engage young people and 'Start a revolution' shows some of the initiatives that individuals have initiated in order to bring about change. The site also offers an online edit suite that allows students to create films to be uploaded to the site and which can be used as coursework.
The material on the site is moderated by True Tube staff to prevent exposure to content that is offensive, obscene, racist or libellous. Internet safety is, of course, a concern and there is advice provided on safe use of the site.
Teachers often embed material from the site in their homework blogs for further discussion in the classroom, or use it to inspire students to make their own films. All the material on TrueTube has been cleared for use in the classroom by streaming from the site. TrueTube provides free downloadable resource packs for teachers to help them find films relevant to the QCA curriculum. Over 3600 packs have been downloaded to date. TrueTube recently won first prize in the Secondary Digital Content category at the BETT (the world's largest educational technology show) Awards.
The website is most suitable for students between the ages of 15 and 22.