...educational heaven for the digital natives?
Beginning a new year with good news. Lots of us are already taking advantage of YouTube and its almost unlimited video-treasures in our lessons. But we are often scared when it comes to letting the students free in this environment - let's say, not all you can find in YouTube could exactly be considered from an educational point of view. And guess what kind of videos will catch our pupils' eye? Those videos of course (the latest pop icon's or cute puppy's video, if you're lucky... something more inappropriate if you're not). I've actually had partners in different Comenius projects whose schools restricted access to YouTube to avoid this problem. At the same time, however, they were preventing their teachers and students to take advantage of huge learning opportunities (not to mention the appeal of videos on young learners).
Now, YouTube is launching a brand new tool to suit the needs of the educational world:
“YouTube for Schools” is a portal offering free education materials and videos, while limiting access to other YouTube content that could be inappropriate, offensive or simply distracting.
I still know very little about this new opportunity, but it looks like it could be another interesting network setting as well. In fact, schools will be able to access only educational materials on YouTube EDU: which will both keep a safe environment for the learners and connect teachers and students through posts, comments, etc.
Now a funny question of my own: how did they label videos as "educational" or not?
I read YouTube worked with teachers, experts and organizations to select the available content. Because of course, if a video isn’t on YouTube EDU, it won’t show up in YouTube for Schools.
But who can say: 'this is educational, this is not'? I think a video can be an educational tool or just a simple entertainment depending on the aims and creativity of the teacher. Some of my most successful lessons (in terms of students' participation, involvement... and later assessment) took advantage of silly video commercials. And I'm quite sure they won't be on YouTube Edu.
I believe it's up to teachers to choose materials and tools for their lesson. And they'll manage someway to keep a safe environment for their students. That said, I think YouTube for Schools is a great opportunity. What's more, YouTube is trying to make the site an open conversation, welcoming teachers' suggestions of new playlists, comments and requests.
As usual, I've more ideas than I can deal with :) and I can picture in my mind lots of eTwinning/Comenius/EU related pathways and activities we could enrich or carry out with this new opportunity.
What do you think? Will this be another tool for a more motivating, efficient and rewarding everyday lesson?