I have been fighting filtering battles ever since I first entered a computer lab as a technology teacher almost 4 years ago.
Today I got my vindication.
I am lucky that my new school does not block YouTube. My 6th graders are doing research projects that will culminate in them creating a Google Site about their topic. Today they began to (yes, it's old school) sketch out on paper a basic design for their site. As they thought about their homepage, many of them asked if they could use video. "Of course," I replied.
I quickly harkened back to last week when my friend Ann and I were embedding video into a Google Site for a presentation we did together this weekend.
"Go to YouTube," I said. See if you can find a video there. YouTube videos are easily embeddable into Google Sites with the click of a button.
As many of them searched the 'dreaded' YouTube for relevant videos, I had not ONE student searching for inappropriate content or looking up videos that were not 'kid-friendly.'
The task was authentic, and they had a purpose for searching the site.
Blocking these kinds of resources denies our students access to material that is relevant, interesting and informative.
One student, who is researching drums, bookmarked a video of Justin Beiber playing the drums in her Diigo library with a note: "Even famous people play the drums." Another student found a video of a lightning storm for his site about lighting and electricity.
If we design authentic and meaningful experiences and use good classroom management and common sense when using these tools, we can rest assured that little harm will be done.