Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Why is YouTube still blocked?

We are entering the age of conversation and this is spreading to education.

The Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and flickr sharing phenomenon (which is exponential is growth) is definitely NOT a fad that we can ignore.

In fact we ignore these and other tools at our peril. I am not making an argument that we need to be using any of these specific tools. Not at all. However we should definitely NOT be blocking them and let teachers use their own expertise to figure out what works best in the classroom.

Thank goodness our school does not block Twitter and Flickr.
We need to figure out with students how the of social media enhances our learning.

Let’s get rid of the filtering for most, if not all, social tools. Look at how we were all scared of cell phones in our high school. We finally allowed them in school this year. What’s the big deal? We learned that it’s not a big deal at all. Ditto for these social media tools. They are just tools….after all.

What we need to pay attention to:
Power of conversation
Real time learning
Live chat

If we block all the tools how can we teach this stuff?

YouTube is still blocked. What are we waiting for?


Carolyn Foote said...

One way our school has handled the issue of YouTube is that it's been unblocked for the teachers. That way they can incorporate it into lessons or log in if a student needs to upload a video, or comment on one, etc.

While not the perfect solution, this does create more freedom.

I think the key is to be open to the conversation--and explore solutions. Are there some halfway points where the need can be met?

Can things be piloted to see what problems may or may not occur?

Good luck with the changes!

Judy Gressel said...

thanks for your reply.
Our school does not block teachers; only students are blocked but it's still frustrating trying to work with 4 classes of pop culture students doing music projects and have to deal with the blocking.

With some teacher/librarian input, our tech director wrote up a rationale to unblock it, but so far there has been no change.

I think that you cannot teach responsible use of these tools unless you can work with the tools with the students.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Marc G. said...

Hi Judy,

I agree with you about social networking and the reason I'm writing tonight is because I am on the Technology Planning Committee and tomorrow we're discussing what we should be looking towards as we think about next year.

It was already my plan to bring up that I feel New Trier needs to pioneer the "teaching of social networking tools" to our students; to embrace the fact that the world in which our students live is highly different from the one we grew up in, and it's important for us to be current if we wish to be relevant.

Blackboard is fine and dandy, but it doesn't mean the same thing to the kids as their experience in Facebook, and other social networking sites. We need to show our students that we understand the tools and recognize their value, and bring some structure and stability to their experiences in these realms.

They would probably laugh at the prospect of teachers in their Facebook land, but we need to do this as an institution.

Ms. S said...


I was thinking along some of the same lines when I read JudyG’s post. At Tech Planning, we definitely should ask for an update on allowing access to YouTube.

Regarding your ideas about social media and students, there is so much information, including suggestions about internet safety, for students of course. Our Online Connections page (geared more to parents) is here, although it is certainly in need of an update. There are other committee members (e.g., Jacqui, Jeremy) interested in this topic, too.

Another thought which seems worth exploration by the committee is to learn more about what tools we did not explore, but which are working with students—both from a teacher and a student perspective. The blogs many teachers use would be just one example. Thanks for joining this discussion.

Linda Straube (Ms. S) said...

For future reference -- Links to some other posts on this topic