Opinion
Education Opinion

YouTube for Schools - A Leadership Embarrassment

By LeaderTalk Contributor — December 27, 2011 2 min read

Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag

The launch of YouTube for Schools is well documented by now and has brought with it considerable excitement. While I should be happy about this opportunity for schools, teachers (check out YouTube Teachers), and students that are in a position to at least have the hand shackles removed, there is a part of me that remains frustrated.

Google should be proud. They saw the unfortunate trend and stepped up. Teachers and students should be happier. Those that have lived in the world of heavy handed filtering now have an easier argument for relaxing it a bit.

Then there is the administration.

With Marlin-like fear (Nemo’s father), many administrators have allowed YouTube to remain blocked at best for only students at worse for everyone.

With this controlled YouTube, I fear that some administrators will see this as a victory of sorts, a badge of honor for their Filter Fight against such devilish.

Despite its value, YouTube for Schools should be an embarrassment to administrators and school leaders. It is an indictment of our ignorance and inability to lead in a chang(ed)(ing) world.

Broader Discussions

And I have to wonder, are these Marlin-like administrators at all concerned about their choice between YouTube, YouTube for Schools, or neither? Are they engaging their leadership teams, their faculty, and their students in a broader dialogue about this?

  1. From my secondary lens, is a content controlled garden what our students need?

  2. What happens to creation in this content controlled garden? From what I understand, the ability for students to create and publish their creations and content is not an option in this area.

  3. What happens to curation in this content controlled garden? Are students able to curate their own content that is relevant to their learning?

  4. Is this in the best interests of learning, exploring, and playing?

  5. Has anyone really talked with students about YouTube?

With all the 21st Century rhetoric bantered about in schools these days, I continue to wonder if our policies and practices are aligned with our stated beliefs.

Final Note: Thank you Google for listening and creating an alternative. This is by no means an indictment on the exceptional work you are doing to make some form of YouTube a reality for teachers and students within schools.

(Image: Nemo’s playground, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from mythoto’s photostream)

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