Stuart Lennie, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services, is supporting the introduction of YouTube access for pupils in Falkirk Council classrooms.
YouTube is an online video streaming website that can provide useful knowledge and education content for all stages in schools and nurseries. In addition, users can create content and upload it to the site in order to store it or share knowledge or learning with others.
YouTube has been open to staff in Falkirk Council for many years and has proven to be a vital tool in terms of classroom practice and staff development. It is regularly the top visited site in education establishments and staff now integrate the content into their lesson plans and activities.
Currently, all pupils are blocked from access to the YouTube site, plus any embedded YouTube content in other websites, in Falkirk schools. This decision was taken based on two main factors:
- The limited bandwidth available to our schools and the demands upon it.
- The proportion of content deemed unsuitable by staff.
Recent developments in bandwidth improvements and safety filters put us in a position where these two factors no longer apply.
To facilitate such change, a Technologies in the Classroom group has been formed, made up of classroom practitioners from all stages of education in Falkirk Council. This group will have the mandate to call upon advice from appropriate groups of additional individuals including pupils, parents, and partners.
The immediate tasks for this group will be to:
- Create support materials for staff and pupils
- Develop methods to educate staff, pupils, and parents on the safe filtering features in Social Media sites and to ensure acceptable use in line with the Acceptable Use Policy and schools’ positive behaviour policies
- Pilot pupil access with schools
- Work to gather and analyse evidence of how YouTube is enhancing learning through previously unavailable delivery methods such as Flipped Learning models which enables pupils to bring to the classroom project work and studies undertaken outwith the school.
Here is an example of one of the support videos for teachers, hosted on YouTube:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tkMPZuNFNBs" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]
In addition, education establishments will be set up with individual YouTube channels to act as an official public repository of content for their establishment.