Why youtube should be unblocked in all Irish schools
Okay, so youtube has its fair share of rubbish from cats being thrown into bins to talking goats but with 48 hours of video being uploaded every minute there is bound to be some good stuff on there for teachers and students.
As a teacher, I use youtube almost everyday and I have found it very engaging for my students and a great tool for sparking conversation. Let’s take today as a typical day; I began with a class on Glaciation for a leaving cert Geography class where I showed a 5 minute BBC clip filmed underneath a glacier. Then in a junior Science class, I was able to show a video of a bell ringing in a jar as the air was sucked out using a vacuum pump, a piece of equipment our school does not own. Finally, in an afternoon Biology class, I showed an animated clip showing the various parts of the eye, a far better way of teaching the topic than my less than perfect diagrams!
So what are the risks? Sure, students can access inappropriate content on youtube but most schools have a policy of supervising students in computer rooms. From my experience, since our school opened up access to youtube six months ago, we have had no problems.
So, you are convinced! Now here’s how to unblock youtube in an Irish school. Schools web filtering systems are overseen by PDST who have divided access levels into 6 categories. You can find more information on these categories and how to change your school's categoty here. Many schools in Ireland will be on level 3 but an increasing number are moving to level 4 which is the exact same with youtube accessible. Facebook and other social media sites will remain blocked at level 4.
In order to change your school’s filter level to level 4 you need to download a form from this page. The form must be signed by a school’s principal and posted or faxed to the NCTE service desk.
In the meantime, if youtube is still blocked or you do not have high speed broadband in your classroom you can save youtube clips to your laptop and play them offline by pasting the clip’s URL (address) into a site such as www.keepvid.com
And to save time searching through youtube for appropriate videos why not check first on www.studyclix.ie to find great videos, picked by Irish teachers, to help you learn or teach that topic.