Teachers who have been frustrated over blocked access to YouTube educational videos in school can take heart. YouTube is rolling out a pilot a program with schools that will redirect all YouTube links to educational content on YouTube.com/education. In addition, comments will be disabled and related videos will only be educational, both of which are a source of anxiety around exposing kids to inappropriate content.
Each school and district has a different kind of filtering system, but this workaround allows schools that block YouTube at the domain level to access it through YouTube.com/education, according to Angela Lin, head of YouTube Edu. Schools interested in participating in the pilot program can sign up at YouTube.com/t/education.
YouTube plans to add hundreds of thousands of more educational videos onto the /edu site (which was launched two years ago), including videos from the Museum of Modern Art, BBC Earth, the Smithsonian, Big Think, and many more. Until now, most of the content on /edu has revolved around higher education, with lectures from MIT, UCLA, U.C. Berkeley and other universities (with the very notable exception of the Khan Academy videos, which are aimed at K-12). Newly added content will be focused more on K-12 curriculum, as well as post-college content — what’s referred to as “lifelong learning.”
“We recognize there is demand for educational video, and we’re trying to provide access to it, as well as catalyze content creation,” Lin said.”Ultimately we need to give educators and administrators the tools and resources they need and have them decide what’s best for their students.”
Solving the access issue, adding more educational content, and launching the YouTube Teachers site a few weeks ago are all part of the world’s largest video site’s foray into the education space.
A “handful of school” across the country have signed up for the pilot program, Lin said. “As with anything at Google, this is iterative. We want to get the product right, the experience right. Any change can be onerous at schools that are already tight for time and resources,” she said. “We’re trying to enable more content creators and users to think about us as an educational platform.”