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How to use YouTube at school, safely

By Dennis Pierce, Editor
February 6th, 2011

YouTube has a lot of good educational content—but a lot of inappropriate material, too.

As most teachers know, there’s a lot of great educational content on YouTube—and there’s a lot of inappropriate material, too, from racy images to offensive comments that might sully an otherwise perfectly good video clip.

That’s why many schools block access to YouTube on their networks, which can be frustrating for teachers who want to use YouTube at school.

Now, a new service from internet security company M86 Security aims to solve this problem.

Called VuSafe, it’s a free website that lets educators search for relevant video content from YouTube and other sources, add video clips from these sources to an online library, and then share these clips with their students—without the inappropriate ads, comments, or outside links that might accompany them.

M86 demonstrated the new service during the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando last week.

For more coverage of FETC 2011:

FETC Gadget Roundup

Kineo: Like an iPad, but made for students

FETC speaker urges educators to stand up for technology

“Our teachers are increasingly using more online videos on YouTube as tools in their classrooms, but there is apprehension because of possible inappropriate comments that might pop up as the videos are being viewed by students,” said Ralph Osmolinski, technology director for the Conemaugh Township Area School District in Pennsylvania, in a press release.

“M86 Security’s VuSafe allows teachers to preview YouTube videos, organize, and store those videos for their classes for safe viewing. It is the perfect solution for schools to safely integrate videos into the classroom for teaching purposes,” added Osmolinski, whose district has been beta-testing the new service.

Once they’ve registered on VuSafe, teachers can search for and preview video clips from YouTube and other sources through the website, and they can add clips they think are relevant for use in the classroom to their school’s VuSafe video library.

As they add relevant videos to their school’s video library, teachers tag these snippets by subject and age-appropriateness, and they can also grant access to certain groups of students, such as a particular class.

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9 Responses to “How to use YouTube at school, safely”

Dennis Pierce
February 7, 2011

Hi mel330, not sure why you think this is “useless” without M86’s filtering system. While it’s true that YouTube has to be unblocked for the service to work, there’s no reason an IT administrator couldn’t allow access to YouTube on the teachers’ computers, while blocking access to YouTube on other machines. Then, teachers could enjoy the full benefits of the service.

Dennis Pierce
February 7, 2011

Hi mel330, not sure why you think this is “useless” without M86’s filtering system. While it’s true that YouTube has to be unblocked for the service to work, there’s no reason an IT administrator couldn’t allow access to YouTube on the teachers’ computers, while blocking access to YouTube on other machines. Then, teachers could enjoy the full benefits of the service.

natetowne
February 7, 2011

I was surprised to see no mention of TeacherTube or SchoolTube in the article, mainly because I believed they were useful (and safe) alternatives to YouTube in the classroom. Are they simply too limited in terms of content for use in today’s schools, or is there another reason why they’re not suggested as potential YouTube alternatives for schools? (Other than this article focusing on how to access YouTube in school I suppose, not YouTube alternatives!) I ask only because I’m curious as to others’ thoughts on these two YouTube for school alternatives – e.g., are they helpful or are they pale shadows of YouTube itself?

natetowne
February 7, 2011

I was surprised to see no mention of TeacherTube or SchoolTube in the article, mainly because I believed they were useful (and safe) alternatives to YouTube in the classroom. Are they simply too limited in terms of content for use in today’s schools, or is there another reason why they’re not suggested as potential YouTube alternatives for schools? (Other than this article focusing on how to access YouTube in school I suppose, not YouTube alternatives!) I ask only because I’m curious as to others’ thoughts on these two YouTube for school alternatives – e.g., are they helpful or are they pale shadows of YouTube itself?

book_dummy
February 7, 2011

I’m also wondering how this service doesn’t violate the YouTube Terms of Use. “You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.” It sounds cool, but I’m not sure if it would be okay to use it.

book_dummy
February 7, 2011

I’m also wondering how this service doesn’t violate the YouTube Terms of Use. “You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.” It sounds cool, but I’m not sure if it would be okay to use it.

kjordan26
February 9, 2011

@Natetown — I agree with you. SchoolTube.com and TeacherTube.com are wonderful alternative resources that I already use because Youtube is blocked from students on our network.

That being said, there is a place for filtering software for resources such as YouTube, but there are also numerous web resources for other videos that don’t have offensive content running rampant throughout the site.

Feel free to try: http://www.discoveryeducation.com as well.

Have a great day and remember that we are educating today’s students for jobs that don’t yet exist and we can never let up in our educational endeavors!

kjordan26
February 9, 2011

@Natetown — I agree with you. SchoolTube.com and TeacherTube.com are wonderful alternative resources that I already use because Youtube is blocked from students on our network.

That being said, there is a place for filtering software for resources such as YouTube, but there are also numerous web resources for other videos that don’t have offensive content running rampant throughout the site.

Feel free to try: http://www.discoveryeducation.com as well.

Have a great day and remember that we are educating today’s students for jobs that don’t yet exist and we can never let up in our educational endeavors!

newsomem504
February 17, 2011

Our district blocks streaming audio & video content due to bandwidth restrictions. Is there any way to download appropriate content that doesn’t violate YouTube’s Terms of Use or copyright restrictions?

newsomem504
February 17, 2011

Our district blocks streaming audio & video content due to bandwidth restrictions. Is there any way to download appropriate content that doesn’t violate YouTube’s Terms of Use or copyright restrictions?