Can YouTube be used as an appropriate teaching tool?
Summary: Take away bread-wearing dancing cats and parody pop songs, and you leave a valuable teaching tool. How can YouTube be restricted for appropriate classroom use?
Can YouTube be a valuable teaching tool for educators?
Some view it as a cluttered platform, full of time-wasting cat videos, parody pop songs and whimsical cartoons. However, if you have the time to clear away the dross, there are a number of videos uploaded by users that have been developed for educational use. Some of these include:
- Media clips: Are you talking about a documentary or the woman who is being charged with racist remarks after being filmed on public transport? Why not show them the clip?
- Tutorials: These can be invaluable when teaching a class how to complete a particular task, such as an action in Excel or a grammar point in English.
- Opinion pieces: A class debate — this has to be vetoed as appropriate before class, but it can enrich a lesson to view different perspectives off the textbook page.
- Event media: Are you talking about the Chinese New Year? Find and view a clip uploaded by a spectator.
YouTube videos should never be viewed as lessons in themselves, but as free, complimentary material that can be utilized to support the point of a class.
Due to this potential, the video streaming service created YouTube for Schools, a platform that allows educational institutions to access and use videos that are cleared of comments, inappropriate links, and use the YouTube EDU library — which contains only educational material.
Customized lists can be created within the library by teachers, and it is possible to search for ready-made lists organised by subject and standards.
By supporting schools in this way, it is likely that as more educational establishments become aware of these schemes, it may be that the usual blocks put in place may eventually be lifted. If your school acquires an account, then administrators and teachers can log in, but students cannot. Searches performed on the platform block the main site.
In a time where school budgets are being slashed and investments tightened, it is up to those within the education system to take advantage of any free resources that can enrich a lesson and supplement textbook learning. It may also resolve the need for teachers to bring their own hack tricks into class — such as using a circumventor, loading a personal laptop, or ripping the video from YouTube in advance.