The 2011-2012 school year has introduced a variety of changes embracing technology in school. These changes include allowing cell phone and iPod use between class changes, but the most controversial has been the unlocking of YouTube on the school’s network.
Feelings about the unblocking have been mixed. Many teachers feel that students will be too easily distracted by the temptations of funny cat videos and other viral entertainment. However, many teachers also feel that it will help students relate to the lessons more easily.
Craig Ross, Spanish teacher, said the unblocking is nice. “In Spanish V, I use current videos. I was having to convert them at home. I can pull stuff up more easily and access it daily.”
Robert Phillips, English teacher, believes access to YouTube is one of the greatest things that has happened to teaching in a while.
“It has to be handled with caution for teachers and students alike,” said Phillips. “Technology is changing the way we live our lives, and we have to embrace it. We can’t be afraid to use it simply because of the drawbacks, which are outweighed by the benefits.”
Teachers seem largely happy with that change. Teachers of computer classes are nervous with students being able to use YouTube. Holly Laird, CTE teacher, said, “YouTube is too much of a temptation.”
“Students are easily distracted and viruses may go on the hard drives,” said Laird. “There are benefits as a teacher, with access to more educational videos, opens up very many teaching options. It has not been too bad so far, but regulation has to do with classroom management.”
Cliff Sherman, media center chair, said, “I think that since YouTube is such a universal resource in U.S. culture, we need to use it in our schools as well and teach our students to use it responsibly. YouTube should still be used according to our school’s policies. It is a valuable resource for teaching, as some teachers will embrace it and use it effectively. In an email from Evelyn Mullen, the Wake county instructional technology coordinator, the reason for unblocking was that every year there are countless requests to unblock YouTube from teachers, YouTube was finally deemed a productive resource.”