A tweet I saw this morning and a news article I read last night got me thinking about YouTube and schools. With our recent SpaceLab collaboration with YouTube I have been wrestling with the challenge that faces many schools and districts: To Block YouTube or Not To Block YouTube?
In previous years, when there was some focus on getting educational content from TV programming, due to the regulation of cable companies and the availability of Public Television, it was relatively simple to manage the content such that inappropriate content did not find its way in to classrooms. However, when we look at modern media, the gateways to content are largely unregulated and not easy to manage. As a result, many schools simply block them (or attempt to block them). The most prominent example is YouTube. While there is certainly a lot of content on YouTube that has no place in a classroom, there are also incredible resources and it allows access to wonderful content there.
Obviously, the devil is in the detail, but it will be interesting to see to what extent schools currently blocking YouTube content are willing to use this feature to allow more access to the content on YouTube. If you are your schools are exploring this new feature, be sure to give us updates as you roll it out.
In an effort to help schools and districts deal with these challenges, YouTube has launched YouTube for Schools so students and teachers can “[a]ccess thousands of free high quality educational videos on YouTube in a controlled environment.” The solution involves some IT settings that give local administrators control over the content that is accessible to their schools. Some of the capabilities include limiting content to YouTube EDU, disabling comments and related searches, and allowing custom content control by the administrators beyond the education channel.