Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Youtube lament

I am again lamenting the fact that Youtube is blocked in my school. OK so I am whining. I know there are ways around it but if we want teachers to use technology in their classrooms why are we making it harder for them to do so? I found this wonderful video that I want to use with my 2nd grade students who are having a hard time figuring out what a pulley does. I found this video on another website but the link goes to Youtube so if I tried to open it I would get a nice blank spot on the monitor. I know it will get their attention because it is from NASA but now I am going to have to spend an hour of my Sunday downloading it another way to use it in the library tomorrow. Before Youtube was blocked I could have embedded it here or on my library wiki and used it in the lesson, easy as pie. But now I have to jump through hoops to be able to use it. I have been told that I may use such Youtube videos in my lessons and that I can get the content any way I know how, did anyone offer to show me how? No, so it is a good thing I am a PowerLibrarian. But then I start thinking, Youtube is providing content that is made to stream over their network, am I violating copyright by downloading or ripping their content? I know it is fair use because I am going to show it in the classroom but there is a deeper issue here. Blocking Youtube is a form of censorship that feel violates my First Amendment Rights to Free Speech. And don't tell me to use TeacherTube. Been there and this video is not there! There should be understanding technology people in school districts that unblock content on teacher computers, or on a case by case basis, but I feel like I am chasing the wind. Anyway, if you are in a place where you can view this video, enjoy. If you are not, join me in my lament as I spend my Sunday morning downloading this 3 plus minute video.


Chan Bliss said...

Unfortunately till the powers that be realize that the only ones that are being blocked access are the teachers. Willing and creative students have no problem poking holes in the walls put up to prevent access to what some consider inappropriate content.

Cathy Jo Nelson said...

MOst filters are set to allow a specific url. Did you ask "the powers that be" to unblock the said URL for this specific video? Yes I agree even that is a pain in the but. But far too many educators in general just "accept" the filter and never question it, leading those same "powers that be" to continue this censorship. When more and more educators stop laying down and acquiescing to this ridiculous censorship, then and only then will it be changed.

My district uses Lightspeed for our filtering, and we as teachers have a portal to enter our login name and password to bypass the filter. YouTube is one of those sites that allow us the bypass portal. Not all sites allow it though under Lightspeed's filter.

I have many times this year though with success requested sites I am using be unblocked. The key for my success is to send an entire lesson plan with goals, objectives, activities, and my assessments to the person in charge. I send it as an attachment in an email. Now mind you the person in charge of the filter is not an educator, but I have never been questioned when I do this, and it is opened up relatively quickly.

How many educators are willing to do this? Most just accept that YT is blocked, which is sad. If more will take a stand, perhaps things will change. I will continue using what works for me (which is sending lesson plans with a request.)

I am moving to a new district theis fall, so time will tell if this works there. Thanks for sharing your concern. I hope others will read it and ask similar questions. Just don't lay down and take it.

Congerjan said...

Thanks for the great idea Cathy. If I send full lesson plans, I don't think they can deny the unblocking but since I see each class once a week, it would have to stay unblocked for the entire week. I will have to see how that goes but it is worth trying.