Thursday, February 08, 2007

Glory, Glory Hallelujah, Teacher Hit Me with a Rulah

Since my kids are students in the privileged Santa Monica-Malibu school district, I feel that I have to say something about today's article in The Los Angeles Times, "Extracurricular Videos Roil Campus," because the story focuses on cell phone videos posted on YouTube that originated in our local high schools. Apparently, the response of our district is to ban access to YouTube in the schools, even though it can be a legitimate teaching tool, since it provides video essays, historical film clips, and even congressional testimony in a reliably playable form. Furthermore, officials are also considering bans on other portable media devices, in order to prevent harassment of teachers, even though ubiquitous devices for data collection are becoming an integral part of the practices of the broader culture.

As a teacher myself, who once taught high schoolers in the years before graduate school, I have some sympathy for the instructors who are targeted. Speaking as an administrator, I know that even college students can make incredibly inappropriate comments on formal evaluations about physical attractiveness, sexual identity, and even personal grooming, my favorite being in my own case "Does she own an iron?" And certainly when I commemorate my own elementary, middle, or high school teachers online, I do it with what I consider appropriate respect.

Of course, some YouTube teachers get what they deserve, if they consent to be filmed, particularly if they provide inferior distance education which can potentially be substituted for live teaching. Unfortunately the classic "stoned professor" video from the University of Florida has been pulled for copyright reasons.

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Blogger Julia Lupton said...

I saw the article too and thought immediately of your blog and your school district. It is another instance of the digital fear that you have been tracking in your various projects concerning kids and media. Certainly kids need to learn manners -- at home, school, and in between. But killing their media sources is no answer! It seems like such an American solution. Although we take pride in our free speech tradition, we are also very quick to demonize the delivery systems.

5:13 AM  

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