Starting this year CUSD is allowing students YouTube access for the purpose of school work if, according to CUSD education tech Colin Matheson, students fill out an agreement that requires students to have a private password and username, one sponsoring teacher and parental approval.
YouTube was banned because, as Matheson says, it could be distracting to class, contain inappropriate content and slow down the speed of MySchool.
“Now we have the ability to just add certain students to the override category,” Matheson explains. “Also we want to see if it becomes a distraction, takes too much bandwidth or becomes an issue with inappropriate content at school. Basically shifting the attitude to a ‘Let’s trust high school students to use YouTube for educational purposes until proven otherwise.’”
With students allowed access to YouTube, possible issues arise.
“My worry is there is so much that could be a distraction,” librarian Elena Loomis notes, “so the temptation to watch something that isn’t for school might be a major problem.”
Students agree with Loomis’ worries, but see less of a problem with it.
“It’s inevitable students are going to use it to show their friends the latest cat videos or something,” senior Matt Manniello says, “but I can see it happening not in class necessarily, but after school.”
Along with students watching videos, the issue of using YouTube to listen to music rises.
“A lot of kids would listen to music,” junior Sidney Watts admits, “which I don’t see the harm in since most kids listen to their iPods.”
Watts’ sentiment that students already have access to YouTube on other devices is shared with other students.
“Let’s be realistic here,” junior Erika DePalatis says, “some students will use it for non-scholastic purposes, but is that necessarily a bad thing? After all, most of CHS students have smartphones anyway and can watch whatever they want on their phones.”
Despite these possible problems, science teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin says teachers are in favor of students having YouTube access.
“I’m under the philosophy that students are going to access the content that they want on the web anyway,” Maas-Baldwin says, “so it’s better to have discussions about responsible use of Internet resources rather than just restrict everything.”
Students and administration both agree that having YouTube access is a positive.
DePalatis believes it’ll be easier for teachers when they want to show students videos since they won’t have to override the system for each student, and allowing students to use YouTube can help them in class, junior Ashley Alto says, especially with projects and programs like Khan Academy.
Video Production used YouTube prior to it being available to the school, Matheson says. Now world language classes can use it for listening practice and other classes can use it for demonstrative videos.