Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to Recover from YouTube-Block

Thanks to Marian Thatcher and Larry Ferlazzo for re-posting and discussing this great blog post by Joyce Valenza. All three teacher techies offer tips & tricks for teachers and students who want to use YouTube videos at school. They offer alternatives that allow us to use YouTube videos as learning resources while we wait for our schools' policies to catch up to 21st century realities.

Even with these alternatives out there, I personally feel that the ban on YouTube should be lifted from Adult Education programs--we are working with adults after all. It's patronizing to treat adult learners the same way we treat children, as though we are their guardians who need to "protect" them from the dangers of the Internet. Clearly K12 schools have a duty to protect their young charges from inappropriate and potentially disturbing material. But teaching children and teaching adults are two totally different endeavors, and restrictive policies designed for 8-year olds should not be applied to their parents! Furthermore, as adult educators we have a responsibility to provide our learners with the skills and know-how to be effective parents and role models in the digital age. That responsibility includes helping our learners understand sites like YouTube that their children are probably using at home or with friends. Yes, there is a slew of awful garbage on YouTube, but there's also a wealth of truly valuable material. Which is why our adult learners need guided experiences with it: so they can provide those same experiences for their own kids.

And on that note, I'll share two of the truly valuable resources I've recently discovered on YouTube. Both are resources for immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship and could be of great use to ABE educators and learners. Enjoy!

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