To YouTube or not to YouTube?
Thursday, November 03rd, 2011 | Author:

On our school blog we currently have a lot of images and pictures but we are starting to think of a better way of sharing videos. The way that I see it is that there are a number of tools available to us and they all have merits but recently my thinking has changed.

Previously we had used Viddler as YouTube and Vimeo were blocked in Hampshire schools. I know loads of people use Vimeo and it is a very similar service to Viddler but the videos tend to take longer to upload and convert compared to Viddler. When setting up Viddler accounts, we based it on the free model and created one account per teacher. This gave us 1GB of space but limited bandwidth, ideal for a school sharing some short, simple videos. The biggest problem with Viddler is uploading multiple videos in one go. If often uploads a couple then loses the rest and you have to start again. This is very frustrating, especially when my digital leaders (the children) are the ones doing the uploading.

But as I said, my thinking is changing. We now have the ability to use YouTube (and Vimeo) in school. So I am starting to think about using YouTube to upload videos and share them with an audience. These would all be on one school channel and the channel would be public to all. But I could also unlist the videos so that I still get the ’embed’ code, but the videos aren’t searchable. Obviously I will be following all other school policies and procedures.

There are many red lights that flash up straight away but are they valid?   Here are some of my initial thoughts and comments from people on Twitter:

The YouTube comments can be offensive!

True, but you can set the videos to have comments disabled or better yet, to be moderated before they go live. This works in the same way as our blog. Yes, it would be a little bit more work, but I think comments on YouTube could be a good thing.

What about child protection?

Well we either have permission to put a child on the internet or we don’t. Putting them on a (safe) YouTube page is no different from our school website or blog.

Why not use a service designed for schools such as SchoolsTube?

I could, but why not use the largest and most popular video service available? Why limit our great work to a small audience? Wouldn’t it be great if one of our videos got over 100 views? or 1,000? We’re about to create Clash of the Titans-style animations and sharing them with the world could be amazing.

Could the children start making their own channels? 

We manage our YouTube accounts through Google Apps, so maybe in the future, they could have their own accounts and add their own videos. Obviously they’d need to follow school rules, but why not?

What about the people that can’t access YouTube?

True, some schools would be missing out on viewing our videos because they are on YouTube, but then I would imagine a lot of these schools have most video-based sites blocked anyway! Plus, our main audience is our parents who would be accessing the videos from home where YouTube is enabled.

So what are your thoughts? I am in a primary school with children aged 4-11. Does the age of the children matter?