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YouTube as a Teaching Tool
posted by: Alix | March 12, 2012, 07:21 PM   

While you may think of YouTube as a storehouse for time-wasting videos and tutorials, the internet clip website is going through a definite rebranding for K-12 educators. Since December, Google, YouTube's parent company, has been developing a portal that lets schools filter content for teachers and students. YouTube EDU offers schools the ability to pluck only the videos they want, free from controversial comments–all while blocking the general site content.

The creation has opened the door for YouTube, internet clip technology and re-vamped social media policies in districts across the country. Currently, there are school systems coast to coast that block websites like YouTube, despite their clear educational value. Portals like YouTube EDU will allow schools to take advantage of free online resources. Robert Gulick, director of technology for a district in Toledo, Ohio, said, "If we didn't have a system for filtering it, we couldn't partake, but we do now, and at a time of declining resources, it is a great way to find additional materials."

In Chicago, one of the nation's largest school systems, YouTube was once blocked to ensure compliance with the federal Children's Internet Protection Law. With recent developments, those restrictions have been loosened for educators. "We're really excited about it here," said John Connolly, educational technology director for the Chicago Public Schools, "We're making content and tools available to our teachers to help them increase and enhance their teaching."

With the dawn of these filtered portals, new school policies, and the recognition that YouTube clips can be an effective tool, many districts are catching on. Last Wednesday, the Miami-Dade School Board unanimously voted to direct school officials to create online tools so that teachers and students can gain easier access to educational resources and websites like YouTube. Board Member Raquel Regalado called the decision an important next step. "The same way we have a process for accepting books into our libraries; it should be the same for websites."

The proposal requests that district employees consider several options, including the creation of their own district YouTube portal and a period in the summer when teachers could request permission to use certain clips, similar to how they can request certain textbooks.

Experts assert that technology tools like YouTube will play a pivotal role in the future of public education. At a time when financially ailing states are slashing public education budgets, schools can simply not afford to just "turn off" a free source of credible and timely educational video clips.

While the introduction of education-friendly portals like YouTube EDU, and other district-run filters are promising, it is critical for educators to understand their own districts guidelines for using these online resources. Know your school's policies and discuss the inclusion of your favorite clips with your administrators. It's possible that these conversions could lead to a collaborative online forum for your own school or district.

What do you think about YouTube as an education tool?

Comment below.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by Allen Takata, October 24, 2016

Why not make your own youtube videos that are gear directly to your student's needs??

it's a lot easier than one might think.
Elementary Teacher / ELD / Reading
written by Donna Green - Arbuckle, California, March 15, 2012

The students in our rural, geographically isolated school have huge gaps in experiences, knowledge of the world and access to enrichment. The poverty of language and socio-economics affects their ability to comprehend core subjects. I use short You Tube videos CONSTANTLY to provide my 1st-6th grade students with virtual field trips, stunning visuals, "you are there" experiences and instant access to global events that directly support the reading curriculum. I have begun to catalogue all the related You-Tube videos for each grade level and organize the clips according to the subject matter, grade level appropriateness and state standards... Students BEG for the priviledge of "earning" a You Tube video that supports their learning! Their assessments indicate that the You Tube videos increase student comprehension and retention.

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