New Google Lessons: Understanding YouTube and Digital Citizenship

Visit the Google lessons site.

Check out the Google interactive lessons, videos, and slides, all focused on digital citizenship, privacy, and YouTube best practices. Useful for teachers as well as parents, these discrete units are easy to use and share, especially when students need an organizational framework before beginning to look for school project resources. Each lesson is readily downloadable as a Google Doc and even for other presentation media such as PowerPoint.

Many of the Google videos include tips that can help students use YouTube more effectively while honoring copyright principles and evaluating content carefully. Google developed these digital resources for secondary students, but in many schools the videos will also be valuable for middle schoolers. Even fifth grade teachers may find that some of the videos can help them in the context of curriculum units.

A conundrum exists, of course…         

Children are supposed to be 13 years old to use YouTube, yet in real life many elementary age students access it regularly. Sometimes during a curriculum activity at my school, a child will reference a pertinent and useful YouTube video. Over the past several years I’ve asked fifth graders how many of them use YouTube, and most of them say that they look for videos on the site fairly often; however, few of them appear to have personal accounts. Controlling what students do in the privacy of their homes is not easy.

In a classroom, however, one way to balance the confusing age-related situation with the wealth of resources on YouTube — and still use relevant parts of the Google interactive lessons — is to set up a Google TeacherTube account. With this account a teacher has access to personally saved curriculum-related videos and can easily add student recommended links. Any time TeacherTube resources are used in the classroom, we will have far fewer concerns about the inappropriate content and worrisome age restrictions

And with elementary students, just about every time we use a pertinent and age-appropriate video, we create opportunities to reference some parts of the Google lessons.

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