YouTube for Schools
YouTube its self needs no introduction, the video sharing site owned by google is one of the biggest single websites in the world today. It’s one of those sites that can be incredibly useful within school, but could also be huge distraction for students.
Traditionally YouTube has been blocked for most pupils within school. Initially this was a decision taken out of our hands by the local authority service provider, however it was a decision we continued to follow for a while once we brought filtering and monitoring in house. However education moves at a very fast pace, almost as fast as the web its self and these decisions must be reviewed frequently.
For some time google has been moving all its services to https to ensure all traffic between google and the user is encrypted. This prevents anyone in between inspecting the traffic. A move I generally support but it does create some challenges for those tasked with safeguarding users within their organisations. Google use different solutions to help schools for different services, and unfortunately they change the way they are implemented sometimes, and usually without any warning.
YouTube for schools is the current method for ensuring suitable content within a school, and through improvements in technology and an increase in the requests for student access I have been able to implement YouTube for Schools for our Key Stage 3 and 4 students.
How it works
A representative of the school can visit https://youtube.com/schools and apply for a YfS code. It is suggested that you create or use a generic school gmail account, or generic google apps for education account. Using a generic account ensures your school can continue to use your school code even if the member of staff leaves and their individual account is deleted. Don’t worry, once setup is complete, you wont need to log in and out of different accounts all the time.
You then need to adjust your filter to ensure it rewrites every request made to YouTube for those users who will be accessing YfS. Googles help pages are – well, helpful I guess.
It seems odd, but ultimately you need to unblock Youtube for your students, and let Youtube do the filtering for you.
There are thousands on pre-approved educational videos and you can approve your own. It is worth mentioning however that the videos go all the way up to A-Levels and beyond – there currently isn’t a way of limiting access within YfS. If you find videos around subjects your younger students aren’t ready to learn yet, you might need to consider if YfS is a suitable solution for them.
Our maths department had pointed students in the direction of HegartyMaths.Com a revision site with lots of useful videos, only to find that they were blocked in school. I was able to add the HegartyMaths videos to playlists within my account, it is this function that enables the videos for all students.
You can add further users as video approving teachers but those teachers must have already logged into YouTube, and must have set up a YouTube Username. It is their YouTube username which you add to your
Things to Note
- You need to prevent students using YfS from being able to log into YouTube. If they log in they can get full unfiltered YouTube. (You can block accounts.youtube.com to achieve this)
- Teachers need access to full unfiltered YouTube to be able to find the videos they wish to approve.
- Teachers need access to Google+ to be able to create a channel/username before they can be allowed to approve videos.
Update – Bad News
It appears that Google are having some issues with the sign up process for YouTube for Schools. Schools have been waiting a matter of weeks, rather than minutes to receive their code. I hope this is sorted very soon, and not Google looking to remove this useful service.