Network Filtering: Hmmm.........
Philadelphia is one of those districts that blocks YouTube. I struggle with the filtering system we have here in Philly.
On one hand, I am very supportive of it since many teachers have terrible classroom management or don't seem to think twice when they let their students have 'free time' on the computer. However, these 'rotten apples' ruin if for the whole bunch of us apples who have GOOD classroom management and, as a good parent would, monitor what our students are doing on the computer. Legally, SDP cannot afford to NOT block YouTube. Legally, they have to filter certain material (adult content, violence, social networking.....) to receive E-Rate money to support its large infrastructure.
On the other hand, I am frustrated that teachers do not monitor what their students are doing on school computers. After all, there is a 4 page Acceptable Use Policy that I make all of my 4-6th grade students sign in order to use the computers at all. I also think that teachers should consider themselves the responsible adult at school. Would they want their child's teacher letting their child go anywhere on the internet unsupervised? We get requests from people to block internet radio sites because their students keep listening to them. Easy solution: you abuse your internet privelege, you lose it. Blocking things do not teach students lessons. When they go home, they are exposed to EVERYTHING!!! We are skating around teaching our children to be responsible Digital Citizens by pretending that these kinds of things don't exist.
Would I Use It?
So would I use YouTube? It's hard to say. I think it'd be useful for instructional videos that either I create or find, but it would require heavy monitoring to make sure that students are not straying from the assigned material. I would probably use TeacherTube for these kinds of things, though the educational videos on TeacherTube are not of high quality like those on YouTube. I would probably give it a try and see how it goes and 'play it by ear.'
I do agree with the article "Is Education Ready for YouTube?" that our students go home to a digital world and watch movies and videos constantly, so using this format to reach them in an educational way cannot be thrown aside. Proper use of this tool must be explicitly taught in structured lessons and activities, and Acceptable Use Policies must be well known and signed by all users (adult and student!)
Aside from Digital Citizenship, how will schools/districts/teachers handle putting student-created works up on the web? For a student's image to be publicly displayed a parent needs to sign a waiver. How will parents feel about their child's image being displayed on a global network? How will students react to their personal projects, which are, by law copyright protected, being displayed publicly with the possibility for wider dispersal, exposure and theft?
Digital Citizenship Resources
Cyber Smart Curriculum - Grade-appropriate lessons on being safe and responsible in the digital world.
Ms. Hertz's Internet Saftey bookmarks - kid-friendly sites about being safe on the internet
WebWiseKids.org - information for parents on keeping kids safe on the internet
Creative Commons License
Philly Teacher by Mary Beth Hertz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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