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Districts are still fearful of YouTube

Yesterday it was Facebook. Today it’s YouTube. Here’s an email exchange between two district technology coordinators…

TC1: I have recently completely blocked youtube in our network. Does everyone block youtube? As soon as I blocked it, teachers started complaining. What other websites can they go to that will serve the same purpose as youtube?
TC2: It is blocked here as well!!! I know there is some good to it BUT it is my responsibility to monitor, block, etc. I do not have time to monitor students all day long every day of every week. We have a product called LanSchool and it is awesome. You can view every student that is logged on at any given time and can take over their computer and shut it down as well BUT I cannot do that every day all day long. The teachers have the same capable to monitor as well BUT they are hired to teach. I will not take the responsibility for what they CAN GET IN TO THAT THEY DO NOT NEED TO!!!

It is very disheartening to read this stuff. The federal government is not asking us to do these sorts of things. So we could trust our teaching staff (and – gasp! – our students) but instead we resort to draconian measures that penalize everyone for the potential actions of a few. As I said three years ago, we need to view school organizations like these as ones that are desperately and inappropriately blocking the future:

I can think of no better way to highlight organizational unimportance than to block out the tools that are transforming the rest of society. Schools whose default stance is to prohibit rather than enable might as well plant a sign in front of their buildings that says, “Irrelevant to children’s futures.”

As always, I wonder

“Where is the superintendent in all of this? Why is she or he allowing this to happen?” A superintendent never would allow his or her district business manager [or special education director] to function with minimal or no supervision; yet that practice is all too common when it comes to technology. I hear countless stories from educators that their superintendent is completely hands-off, leaving all technology-related management and pedagogical decisions in the hands of subordinates.

Yet more evidence that schools and policymakers are taking a l-o-n-g time to come to grips with the new world of social media. In the meantime, our schoolchildren suffer…

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