January 29, 2015

5 Problems With YouTube In The Classroom

GoGuardian Team
The YouTube logo

So you’ve heard from teachers that there are benefits to be had from some educational YouTube videos in the classroom, while parents and superintendents are worried that kids can find everything on there. What’s the best way to manage the common problems that IT Admins face when implementing computers in the classroom?

Music Videos, Lyric Videos, and Instrumental Track Rap Battles

How many times have you heard vulgar lyrics or that annoying beat from ‘Gangnam Style’ blaring out of a computer in the common area or back corner of a classroom? Or had students freestyle rap battle at lunch over the beat from Forgot About Dre? Music videos or fan-made lyric videos are good at circumventing some traditional YouTube filters, which makes for a lot of annoying noise and inappropriate content that’s falsely flagged as safe because it’s classified as something innocuous. Unedited rap is most definitely not appropriate for the classroom. Neither is edited rap. Or rock. Get some peace and quiet with filters that block music unless it’s white listed for educational purposes.

Embedded Videos

Many YouTube filters have a hard time identifying embedded videos, let alone understanding their categorization and whether they’re appropriate or not. On the other hand, many online textbooks and educational websites embed helpful YouTube Videos. Some filters are overzealous and block all embedded content, others can’t tell the difference between inappropriate videos embedded in sites designed to circumvent filters and educational videos built into museum or library websites. With comprehensive, smart YouTube filtering, GoGuardian treats embedded and native YouTube videos the same way, protecting when needed without hindering accessibility.

Comment Sections

One of the darkest places on the internet is the comments section on YouTube. Even the nicest videos can contain mind-blowingly horrible comments. We’ve yet to hear of an educational benefit from the comment sections, so we are working toward blocking them completely to protect all eyes, young and old.

All-or-Nothing Filters

Too many YouTube filters have an all-or-nothing approach that can’t be fine-tuned for different Organizational Units (OUs). Not only do most schools not want to block YouTube entirely, they often don’t want the same accessibility for fifth and twelfth grade students. And thanks to the easily-edited Whitelist and Blacklist features, videos can be blocked or permitted on a case-by-case basis, offering as much or as little YouTube as school districts see fit. With GoGuardian’s fully-customizable filter settings, sex-ed never gets taught too soon.

Security-Enabled Shenanigans

Because kids are really good at getting what they want, many figure out that https://youtube.com and http://youtube.com are not created equal (at least in the eyes of many filtering softwares). Some filters can’t see through SSL certificates, others trust them when they shouldn’t. GoGuardian has no trouble handling security-enabled sites, meaning this ‘one weird trick’ doesn’t work for students trying to access YouTube on their educational devices.

No Fear YouTube-speare

With a competent YouTube filter, the web’s greatest video library is no longer IT’s worst nightmare. There’s an amazing amount of good content on YouTube, from National Geographic videos to walkthroughs of historical sites, but there’s also footage of pretty much every scarring, distracting, and downright disturbing thing ever. Don’t let the bad apples spoil this bunch. Fine-tuned filters, custom OUs, whitelists, and blacklists are a great way to manage student access and leverage the power of YouTube and Chromebooks in the classroom even further.