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The Perks of YouTube in the classroom

This week’s blog post is a conversation that Hayley and I created between a parent who is concerned about the use of YouTube in her child’s classroom and the teacher.  We have included some links and videos to back up our thoughts on the benefits of YouTube.

Teacher: You must be Regan’s Mom. I heard you have some concerns about the class?

Parent: Yes, I have some concerns about the use of Youtube and the lack of security that it offers, what if my child is exposed to inappropriate topics?

Teacher: Well, let me start out by saying that digital citizenship is a new component of the curriculum that all students must take part in. As for the use of Youtube I feel that the benefits in the classroom outweigh the risks. Just take a look at the article “Technology in the Classroom: 5 Undeniable Reasons to Embrace it”

Parent: What benefits could possibly be more important than the safety of my child’s personal identity?

Teacher: First, personal identity in real life is not separate from online identity. Giving students early exposure to YouTube in a classroom setting allows them to learn how to use the resource safely and responsibly. Teaching my students how to be responsible digital citizens is my aim with using YouTube. Creating a positive digital footprint is more important than ever, and using a resource like Youtube makes for lasting memories and a great learning opportunity.

Parent: There are people are there that could watch my child’s video and it will make it easier for them to kidnap, blackmail, and the video will be online for the rest of their life! Also, how can you ensure that your students are on task when using a “resource” that has millions of videos that don’t relate to what they are learning.  

Teacher: Yes the internet is not forgiving in that what happens on the internet can not be reversed, but teaching your daughter that crucial lesson in the classroom and not from unfortunate experience is the reason why digital citizenship is so important. As far as kidnapping and blackmail goes, I’m teaching your daughter that if she wouldn’t feel comfortable having an image or text on a billboard, then it certainly doesn’t belong on the internet. YouTube is a resource full of distractions I’ll give you that, but with my close monitoring I hope to instill positive behaviours that prevent wandering cursors.

Parent: Well, Regan is also telling me that you are expecting her to research and teach herself about planes, isn’t it YOUR job to teach her about these topics or definitely not the internet, how reliable can the videos on youtube really be?

Teacher: Yes, this project is true. I’ve found that when students are given a choice about their education, such as Regan’s choice to research planes, they become much more enthusiastic and excited to learn about the assigned topic. The students can tailor their learning themselves and the individualized topics mean more to them. If I was the only source of information I would not have the time or resources to peak each of their interests. One of the components of digital citizenship is to teach students which sources are reliable and which are not. The internet may seem like it’s only filled with fake news, but in reality there are some amazing sources and great information if you know your way around. 

Parent: Wow, I didn’t know that.  This is all really good information.  But don’t you think this also limits relationship building between classmates?

Teacher: Actually, I believe it expands the potential for relationships to be made. Your daughter has the potential to become friends with someone halfway around the world, or just connect with classmates on a deeper level via the internet. She can create relationships that never would have been possible if it weren’t for YouTube, the students can work together to share videos and to teach each other their research projects via their youtube videos.  

Parent: Thank you Miss Hodson for taking the time to meet with me, I really appreciate the information that you provided to myself.  

Teacher: Your welcome. If you’re still not convinced may I suggest checking out this video on the positive effects of YouTube in the classroom. 

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