For all those folks who work in districts that block YouTube or GoogleVideo and therefore have been frustrated when they haven’t been able bring that amazing video into the classroom, here’s a post from Hackszine.com on how to download GoogleVideo and YouTube to your computer.
I’m excited about this in the short-term because it’ll allow me to show the Web 2.0 video to students… but in the long term, I’m wondering about this.
On the one hand, this is good because it allows teachers and administrators to bring the content they view appropriate into the classroom. Now, anyone in charge of filtering can say, "Just download the video and bring it in… we trust your judgment to bring content into the classroom, but now we don’t have to worry that the kids can view any of the inappropriate stuff on YouTube."
That seems like a good thing, prima facie. It’s exactly the kind of hack that a lot of policy-makers would probably love. But I’m not sure it’s a good thing because it sidesteps the larger question of how we, both as schools and as citizens, deal with the growing amount of information and content in the world. It feels like a 1995 solution to a 2007 problem. We need to teach kids how to make sense of more than just the content we present them with. We need them to make informed, intelligent decisions about what is and isn’t appropriate, what is and isn’t academic, what is and isn’t true. YouTube is a growing source of information, entertainment and culture in our society… it’s a bit of a muddled mess, and on a lot of levels, it is therefore the perfect place to ask a lot of these questions. But most of our schools can’t even entertain that question because the site is blocked.
So yes, I’ll use this hack, and I’ll encourage SLA teachers and students to use this hack when they find content that they feel belongs in our classes, but I think it’s a short-term patch to a much larger, much more interesting, much more troubling and much more thoughtful question.