How to use YouTube at school, safely

Teachers can show videos from the library to an entire class during instruction, or they can allow students to watch videos individually while at school or from home by giving students their own VuSafe account. In the latter case, students would only be able to find and watch videos they have been given access to; a video tagged for students in grades six and above wouldn’t be accessible to a fourth-grader, for instance.

Any time a video from YouTube or another source is played from the VuSafe library, it is stripped of all advertisements, comments, and outside links, so educators don’t have to worry about students seeing something they shouldn’t.

M86 competitor Lightspeed Systems already offers a similar service, but only for schools using Lightspeed’s web filter. As does VuSafe, Lightspeed’s Educational Video Library allows teachers to approve and share videos from YouTube at school—without the peripheral content such as comments and links.

A key difference is that VuSafe can be used even without M86’s filtering software. But there’s a catch: Schools that aren’t using M86’s web filter would have to unblock YouTube in order for the videos in the VuSafe library to display at school.

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In that case, although content from the VuSafe library would be safe for viewing, students searching the web on their own from a school computer might have access to the entire YouTube archive.

For schools using M86 filtering software, that’s not a problem, as the software would allow content from the VuSafe video library to be shown while blocking the rest of YouTube.

For other schools, if their current filtering software is sophisticated enough, IT officials could grant access to YouTube through the teachers’ computers and block access to YouTube from other machines.

VuSafe is still in beta-testing mode, but schools can sign up for access any time. M86 plans a full launch of the service in April.

Dennis Pierce

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