Do YouTube? Video Approval Makes a Difference.

Today’s Contributors: Josephine Skaer and Diane Wells, Technology Design Coaches

When I used to teach an epic unit (a unit literally about epics–because let’s face it: every unit that we teach is always epic in the best sense of the word), I loved starting off with a quick YouTube video on kennings as part of the engagement and intro to Beowulf. As I turned off my classroom lights and projected the video from my computer, students loved watching the funny YouTube intro to our new unit–a video where a chef would start cooking and where subtitles would appear as the chef put “pan lotion” (oil) into a skillet and then as he added some “vampire kryptonite” (garlic) along with “Italian water” (tomato sauce) and other ingredients into the mix. After getting a gist of that kennings are two-word riddles, we then did some word play of our own by playing a Kahoot where students would guess real and made-up kennings. 

As we progressed through the Kahoot, there was always one word in our Kahoot that really got students’ attention. Students always stifled looks of incredulity. Some gave me looks of bewilderment, their faces blushing beet red. Some erupted in bouts of laughter. The words flickered on the Kahoot screen: “boob tube.” Yes, “boob tube.” Of course, being ninth graders, my students’ minds sometimes wandered to the worst/funniest possible places. 

“What’s a ‘boob tube’?” they would ask bashfully, their giggles filling the room.

“Boob tube? Is it, like, a bra?” I heard someone say.

“Or maybe a corset?” others would guess aloud. 

Thoroughly impressed with their astute inferencing skills and playful guesses, I stifled my own giggles. I gave them a hint, breaking down the first part of the word with them, telling them “boob” was an old-timey phrase to refer to an idiot.

“Oooh,” they would say, their lightbulbs coming on. “So a boob tube is like…an idiot box? Like…TV?! Is a boob tube TV? So, is that where YouTube comes from? A set of videos or television for you–for me?!”

After class, students loved telling me they were excited to rewatch the funny kennings chef YouTube video at home! But that same night, I got numerous emails from students saying they couldn’t access the YouTube video on their district-issued Chromebooks.

Little to my knowledge, when students were at home, they couldn’t access ANY YouTube videos I had posted on BLEND because, alas, I was being–you guessed it–a boob. Even when I asked them during class the next day to pull up the video I had shared on BLEND, the video would not play on their devices. Again, their inability to see my video was because I was inadvertently–yes–being a boob. 

Why was I being a boob, you may ask? I was being a boob because I had forgotten to email my Technology Design Coach to get those videos approved for student viewing.

Moral of my story: Students cannot access YouTube videos (on a district device, on the AISD network, or on authenticated YouTube) unless these videos are approved and unless students have authenticated their AISD credentials through YouTube! Any links to YouTube videos that you share with students should be approved by your Technology Design Coach or included in a ServiceNow ticket. 

The approval process applies only to YouTube. Remember to exercise best practice when vetting videos that you ask to be approved. When your Technology Design Coaches approve YouTube video links, they are making the videos visible for all students (PK-12) throughout Austin ISD.

Feel free to use me as a cautionary tale! 

Educators, curriculum writers, and staff who shares YouTube links with students need to ensure that the video is approved by sending those links to their Technology Design Coach or sending in a ServiceNow ticket. Why? Because this ensures video visibility when students are accessing content through a district device, the AISD network, their district YouTube sign-on, or any combination of the above. 

You can also create your own channel to get that approved! If you have your own YouTube channel, any content that you create is automatically approved, too. However, if you add other users’ videos to a playlist, you will still need to get a Technology Design Coach to approve the video links because only content that is uploaded by you to your channel is automatically approved. 

Use best practices with students to ensure online safety: The safest way for students to view videos on YouTube is for them to authenticate their AISD credentials on YouTube by clicking on the “Sign In” icon in the top right-hand corner of their YouTube screen. 

By authenticating their Austin ISD student credentials on YouTube, students will only be able to view and search videos that exist in YouTube’s restricted mode or have been approved for Austin ISD student viewing. When students are authenticated with their AISD credentials in YouTube, they will not see comments or, in most cases, recommended videos.

Don’t be a boob like me! Remember to get any YouTube video links and channels approved so students can see the awesome content that you want to share!

Here is an infographic and flowchart to help you better understand how AISD filters, devices, and networks impact video visibility for students.

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