Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is YouTube Educational?

That was one of the more provocative questions to come up at the HoCo school board's Dec. 10 meeting.

During a discussion on proposed changes to the system's regulations governing the acceptable use of technology, student board member Josh T. Manley asked the administration (about 4 hours 18 minutes into the broadcast) to reconsider its blanket policy of blocking sites such as YouTube.

YouTube, he argued, has educational benefits. He said an advanced placement science teacher once was interested in showing off a video on ground water runoff, but presumably could not. A Spanish teacher wanted to show a video of what other kids did for their class project. Again, it was no permitido.

Manley wondered about a more fluid approach. Perhaps other policies governing student conduct could be used if students access videos that they should not in schools. But some board members seemed wary of easing the restrictions, given all the, ahem, non-educational content that can also be found on the Web.

The board's role in loco parentis means "We have responsibility to protect people from themselves," said school board vice chairman Ellen Flynn Giles. 

At a later point in the discussion, board member Sandra H. French said she worried about all the hate speech that can be accessed on the Internet. The system, she said, needed to do what is necessary to keep such content out of the schools.

Administration officials, meanwhile, said they are looking into ways to continue blocking certain sites while allowing classes to access some specific content, where appropriate.

For now, Manley suggested, some classes are just ignoring the school policy.

For educational reasons, of course.


A Concerned HC Educator said...

The School Board's thinking on this is backwards.

At home, students use YouTube and many other sites that are lumped into the "not appropriate for school" category because some of the content is questionable. However, much of the content is not only appropriate but beneficial for educators and students.

Educators can use YouTube to teach how to use these sites in an appropriate and ethical manner. We are not preparing our students for what lies beyond the school walls by blocking the ever expanding digital content that is available on the web.

Richard said...

YouTube is just like the early days of television. Tv was heralded as a new way to educate. Well, we see where that has gotten us. Sure there are channels and shows that do educate but with American Idol about to start up again, who will be left to watch the channels that do educate?

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