How to use YouTube at school, safely

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.

Dennis Pierce

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