A trove of free educational materials
Educators are giving YouTube — long dismissed as a storehouse of whimsical, time-wasting and occasionally distasteful videos — another look. As Google, YouTube’s parent company, fine-tunes a portal that lets schools limit students’ access to selected content, the video-sharing Web site is gaining popularity as a trove of free educational materials.
Schools across the country commonly block access to YouTube, shielding students from the irresistible distractions of, say, the cat in a T-shirt playing a piano, or worse. So in December, Google started YouTube for Schools, offering schools the ability to pluck only the videos they want, scrubbed of all comments and linked only to other related educational videos. The program gives schools the ability to allow access to the YouTube EDU educational library, and to specific videos within its own network — while blocking the general site.
That has enabled teachers to bring popular educational videos from YouTube into classrooms, like the famous TED talk on population growth by Hans Rosling, the Swedish data presentation expert, or a series of hugely popular short videos about each element of the periodic table that somehow turns a rote memorization exercise into gripping entertainment.
Slowly but surely, schools are taking down some of the barriers. “We’re really excited about it here,” said John Connolly, educational technology director for the Chicago Public Schools, which began allowing teachers to use YouTube for Schools last month. “We’re making content and tools available to our teachers to help them increase and enhance their teaching.”
Chicago is perhaps the largest school district to loosen its restrictions, but school technology administrators say it is just a matter of time until more barriers fall. At a time when financially ailing states are slashing public education budgets and there is mounting evidence of a widening achievement gap between rich and poor students, schools can ill afford to turn off a free source of credible, often premium, educational tools.
Robert Gulick, director of technology in the Washington Local Schools in Toledo, Ohio, said, “If we didn’t have a system for filtering it, we couldn’t partake, but we do now, and at a time of declining resources, it is a great way to find additional materials.”
Read more . . .
Bookmark this page for “YouTube Teaching Tool” and check back regularly as these articles update on a very frequent basis. The view is set to “news”. Try clicking on “video” and “2” for more articles.