Oh the OUTRAGE… youtube and Facebook!

TVNZ has today reported that Rangitoto College is going to allow its students access to youtube and Facebook! Controversy!!! YOUTUBE how could they allow that and Facebook …. OUTRAGE

http://tvnz.co.nz/technology-news/college-keeps-youtube-facebook-in-digital-strategy-4457086

I mean, really, what planet are they living on?

My students make very good use of Youtube, they access how to videos, revision clips and posted lessons. Youtube has recently started a teaching channel called http://www.youtube.com/teachers Why when you have ultra-fast broadband would you block a premium resource like this?

I know that some people will say that the students will be distracted and off task. But the likelihood is that they would have been distracted and off task with or without access to youtube or Facebook. Off task behavior is a classroom management issue. Part of the strategy of rolling out a 1 to 1 program should be classroom management, providing the teachers with the techniques and strategies to manage student use of technology. The solution isn’t to block it. Do you take pens of students because they might write a note or doodle a picture?

But what about FACEBOOK I hear them cry… What about it? Do you think they can’t get access to Facebook at school already? When every 2nd mobile device connects to Facebook? When you iPhone at 2 clicks can set up a personal hotspot which by-passes filtering? Yes, students could use Facebook inappropriately, just like any other technology be it a pencil or a iPad. Yes, you can use Facebook for bullying or it can be distracting. But as I previously mentioned distraction is a classroom management issue. And bullying?

Well, bringing Facebook out into the open will actually prevent bullying. Consider this.

  • Most people are NOT cyberbullies
  • Most people use Facebook in an acceptable manner
  • Students are able to access Facebook from most mobile devices
  • Since these devices do not connect through school networks they are essentially untraceable
  • Cyberbullying can therefore happen whether the school blocks Facebook or not
By opening up Facebook the school has a mechanism of tracking. There is a clear trail which (depending on the registration of the machines onto the network) will lead directly back to the user. You now have a clear mechanism for checking and therefore identifying the bullies.
Underlying all of this must be a Solid DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP program. A program that reinforces individual responsibility, is supportive and protective and clearly explains why the policies and guidelines are in place.
The real outrage here is the sensationalizing of what is an educationally sound decision. If this is Controversy, then I am sad, we have a long way to go.

4 thoughts on “Oh the OUTRAGE… youtube and Facebook!

  1. This is not an argument – I am just genuinely interested about whether or not ANY schools (in any country) have been successfully sued because students accessed inappropriate material or did inappropriate things using social networking tools or other web based tools. I imagin legal liability will be the clincher for many schools/systems . . .

    Spot on about distraction tools and logging of internet usage :)

  2. Pingback: Learning@Lightspeed - The Lightspeed Systems Blog

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